2024 UVM Graduate College Three Minute Thesis Competition

April 17, 2024: 3:00-5:00 PM
Location: Carpenter Auditorium – Given Medical Building

To register for the competition and submit your presentation slide, please complete this form.


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an internationally recognized research communication competition that challenges Ph.D. students to present a compelling oration on their research project and its significance in just 180 seconds, in language accessible to a non-specialist audience.  UVM’s first 3MT is a celebration of the discoveries made by our Ph.D. students and will allow the broader community to learn about ongoing research at UVM. The competition assists Ph.D. students with fostering effective presentation and research communication skills: it asks Ph.D. researchers to consolidate their ideas, crystallize their research discoveries, and capture the imagination of their audience. Competitors will be judged on comprehension, content, engagement, and communication.

History: Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) was developed by The University of Queensland in 2008 and is now held in more than 900 universities in 85 countries around the world.

Eligibility: All UVM Ph.D. students who have passed their candidacy examination by the date of the competition are eligible to participate in the 3MT competition. 

Rules: Present research in non-technical language to a general audience with only one static visual slide to accompany the speech.

To register for the competition and submit your presentation slide, please complete this form.

Hosted by the Graduate College as part of UVM Research Week

Prizes: All contestants gain invaluable experience.

1st prize:  $750
2nd prize:  $500
People’s Choice Award: $250


Workshops to Help You Prepare

The Graduate College will host workshops to help students prepare for the competition. Attendance is strongly encouraged but not required for contestants.

Register here for either or both workshops.

Creating Your 3MT Presentation Pitch

March 19 | 4-6pm | Waterman 338 / Memorial Lounge

An interactive workshop on how to tailor your personal “thesis statement” and define the “so what?” of your research.  The goal is to rid your presentation of jargon and leave you with an interesting story relevant to any field. 

Creating Focus, Flow, and Audience Connection

March 27 | 5:00-6:30pm  | Innovation E102

This workshop offers tips and opportunity to practice how to feel comfortable and confident using the presentation space as you connect with your audience.  We'll look at the interplay between body language, your script, and your audience awareness, offering a supportive and productive experience. 


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. 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. cue cards, costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

Competitors are judged upon three equally important criteria: 

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?

Communication Style

  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker effectively convey their research using a well-paced, clear, and consistent communication style?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
  • Did the slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?