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Fordham-GSAS Three Minute Thesis Competition

3MT competition logo

Thank you for your interest in the Three Minute Thesis Competition at Fordham University!

GSAS 2019 3MT Competition
Photo by Lauren Grizzaffi

Open to all students enrolled in a GSAS master’s or doctoral program, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed in 2008 by The University of Queensland in Australia.

The premise of the competition is to develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills. 3MT® supports the development of students’ capacity to explain effectively their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. Contestants have three minutes to present compelling orations on their thesis or dissertation research, and its significance and value. One PowerPoint slide is required with no animation permitted. 3MT®is not an exercise in “watering down” research; rather, it forces students to consolidate their ideas and concisely explain their research discoveries.

Plans are underway for the next 3MT® competition scheduled for the spring of 2020. Information about the event is forthcoming -- look out for it beginning in the fall of 2019!

If you are a current student interested in participating, please refer to the information below about competition rules, eligibility, and training materials. Check out videos of Fordham competition winners. For more videos and information about the competition, visit 3MT®at the University of Queensland.

Please direct all 3MT-related questions to Christine Kelly, Assistant Dean for Student Professional Development, at


All currently enrolled GSAS master’s and doctoral students actively engaged in thesis or dissertation research are eligible to participate. GSAS alumni are not eligible to participate. A competitive candidate should have a well-conceived research project, compelling research, and a novel story to share.

Please note that contestants must agree to participate in one round of competition before a select panel of judges. 


  • 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) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum, and 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 his/her presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the panel of judges is final.

Training Materials


The prize information for the 2020 3MT® competition is forthcoming.

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be judged during each round of competition based on the following criteria, which will be weighted equally by a panel of judges (and have an emphasis on audience):

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?
  • Were 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 presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation — or did he/she elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

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?