txst          3mt

The Texas State University 3MT® Competition

The University Final 3MT® Competition took place on Thursday, April 7, 2016 


Mariano Ocampo speech

1st Place

Mariana Ocampo

Polymer Scaffolds for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tissue Regeneration

Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization

 College of Science and Engineering

Click here to watch Mariana's 3MT Presentation

second place Victoria Terranova


Runner Up

Victoria Terranova

An Approach to Preventing Drunk Driving

Criminal Justice

College of Applied Arts

Click here to watch Victoria's 3MT Presentation

People's Choice


People’s Choice

Andrew MacLaren

Automatons and Endangered Species

Aquatic Resources

College of Science and Engineering

Click here to watch Andrew's 3MT Presentation

What is 3MT®?
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ).  Doctoral students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their research and its significance.  3MT® is not an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research, but instead challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

The first 3MT® was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 students competing.  Enthusiasm for the 3MT® concept grew and it has now been adopted by numerous universities in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States.  The Graduate College is excited about providing our students the opportunity to participate in the Texas State University 3MT® Competition.

Why is it called the three minute thesis?
The research product of doctoral students in Australia is referred to as a thesis.  In the United States we call the document a dissertation.  The concept applies equally to doctoral research regardless of what the final document is called.  Imagine hearing an 80,000 word dissertation explained in less than 180 seconds…3MT® contestants must do just that by condensing their research into a brief, engaging presentation for a non-specialist audience, using a single presentation slide.

Why compete?
The 3MT® promotes presentation and communication skills, provides opportunities and feedback for students to work on explaining their research to a non-specialized audience, and in general helps students hone their “elevator pitch” discussions of their dissertations (especially useful for those students heading into job interviews!). Accept the challenge to distill your research into a three minute presentation that is understandable to individuals outside of your field and participate in the Texas State University 3MT® Competition.

The Texas State University 3MT® Competition

Graduate students currently enrolled in a Texas State University research doctoral program are eligible to compete (students in Master’s and professional graduate programs are not eligible).  It is not necessary for doctoral students to have advanced to candidacy by the time of the competition. The presentation must include findings/outcomes of research (that is, it can’t be a dissertation proposal that is presented, there must be at least preliminary findings).

Presentation Rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or “movement” of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the platform.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria
At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the three judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

1. Comprehension:

  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of research?
  • Does the presenter convey what is significant about this research?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?

2. Engagement:

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or dumb down their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the presenter convey excitement to know more about the research?

3. Communication:

  • Was the research topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter use sufficient eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
  • Did the presenter avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology that needed to be used, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long or were rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract from, their presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

How the Competition Works
Texas State runs two levels of competition for the 3MT®:
1. Program Heats
Each doctoral program will hold a Program Heat.  There is no limit to the number of doctoral students competing at this level.  The Program Heat judging panel will select the First Place Winner and Runner-up.  The audience will vote to select the People’s Choice winner.  The First Place Winner and Runner-up will advance to the University Final Competition (in the event that either the First Place Winner or Runner-up are unable to compete in the University Final Competition, the program may elect to have the People’s Choice Winner advance instead).  Program Heats will be held in February and March.

2. University Final Competition
The students who advance from each Program Heat will compete in the University Final Competition.  The University Final Competition judging panel will select the First Place Winner and Runner-up.  The audience will vote to select the People’s Choice winner.  The University Final Competition will be held during Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

Presentation Awards

Awards at each Program Heat include (new for the 2015-2016 competition):
1st Place Winner - $150
Runner-up - $100
People’s Choice - $50


Awards at the University Final Competition include:
1st Place Winner - $500
Runner-up - $350
People’s Choice - $250

Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ 3MT® competition
The First Place Winner of the Texas State University Final Competition will have the opportunity to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ 3MT®competition the following year, with travel/lodging to the conference funded by The Graduate College.

Sample Videos
Videos from previous Texas State 3MT® competitions are available:

2013-2014: http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/3mt/2014.html
2014-2015: http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/3mt/2015.html

Videos of 3MT® winners from competitions at other universities are available at http://threeminutethesis.org/.