Three Minute Thesis

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Three Minute Thesis (3MT) celebrates the research accomplishments of our graduate students while helping students develop their presentation and communication skills. These popular competitions have become a global phenomenon by challenging graduate students to communicate the significance of their research to a general audience, all in three minutes or less.

Join us for the Campus Final on March 4, 1-2:30pm in the Old Chapel. Come and cast your vote for your favorite speaker on March 4! Winners will be announced live during a reception following the student speakers. This event will also showcase finalists from the Images of Research contest. UMass community members and those from the broader Amherst community are welcome! 

2021 Virtual Three Minute Thesis Winner Adam Netzer Zimmer with his presentation "'Prime Harvest': Cadavers and our Source of Anatomical Knowledge.

Additional videos from the 2021 virtual competition are posted to the Graduate School's YouTube channel; videos from previous, live competitions may be viewed on the main UMass YouTube channel

2022 3MT Info

Registration for the 2022 3MT is now open and will close February 3, 2022. Spots are limited, reserve your space early! Participants must be able to compete in person, on campus, for both the preliminary rounds and campus final (if selected as a finalist). 

Supporting Events

The Graduate School Office of Professional Development (OPD) offers a variety of support for 3MT participants, including workshops and practice sessions. Participating in UMass’s 3MT is a great way to build communication skills and increase confidence in your public speaking abilities--our supporting programs can help you calm your nerves and craft your message! Start your preparation by attending a 3MT Info Session to learn the competition structure and rules and get tips on how to prepare from former 3MT finalists.

All Info Sessions for the 2022 3MT will be virtual via zoom (pre-registration required):

  • Thursday, January 6, 3-4pm
  • Wednesday, January 12, 9-10am
  • Thursday, January 20, 12-1pm
  • Friday, January 28, 2:30-3:30pm

Additional supporting events from OPD include:

  • Crafting Slides for Effective Presentations
  • Communicating with Non-specialists
  • Public Speaking for the Anxious and Not-So-Anxious
  • Using Simples Words for Big Ideas

Check OPD's Events Page for specific dates/times and event registration links. Pre-registration required for all events; registration for most events will open about three weeks prior to the event date.

Practice sessions will offered in early February--details and registration information will be communicated to registered participants. 

3MT Competition Rules and Tips

Guidelines for 3MT competitions are established by the University of Queensland, which originated the 3MT competition. 

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts speaking.
  • All presentations must be made from the front of the room (for the preliminary rounds) or the stage (for the final). All event spaces will be accessible for those with mobility issues. 
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (e.g. no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any kind on the slide). 
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • All decisions of the judges are final. 

Looking for more info? The University of Queensland has compiled a series of Competitor Guides to help you prepare your slide and spoken presentation. 

Eligibility

UMass Amherst graduate students from any discipline are welcome to participate if they meet all the eligibility requirements. Participants must:

  • be enrolled full-time as a graduate student at UMass Amherst;
  • be in good academic standing; and
  • present on their independent academic research.

Prizes & Judging Criteria

Final Round First Place Finisher: $1,000
Final Round Runner-Up: $500
Final Round People’s Choice (determined by audience vote): $500
The panel of judges will evaluate participants in the preliminary and final rounds based on the following:

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation clearly identify the research question/topic 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 speaker use language appropriate for a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation, not elaborating for too long on one aspect or rushing through portions?

Engagement and Communication

  • 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?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

Questions?

Contact us for more information about UMass Amherst’s 3MT competition.

Two-time UMass 3MT finalist Destenie Nock shares how participating aided her professional development.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.