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3-Minute Thesis Competition

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3-Minute Thesis Competition
April 11-13

Do your friends and family only marginally understand your research projects? Do you wish you could explain your work more clearly in seminars and interviews?  

Sign up for this competition and develop a key professional asset that is just as critical for conferences and job talks as it is for the non-academic job search!  The competition is a great way to:

  • Hone communication skills essential to any career path
  • Refine your "elevator pitch"
  • Learn what your peers are working on, have fun and meet new people
  • Share your work with the Yale community

You will have 3 minutes and 1 slide to describe your research project to a broad audience.  A panel of judges from academe and the business world will choose a winner who will take home a brand-new Apple Watch!  For an example of a winning presentation, see this video.

To help you successfully communicate your research to a lay audience and create a potentially winning presentation, OCS will be holding the following workshops:

  • March 1:  Career Lab: Elevator Pitches for PhDs
  • March 22: Career Lab: Crafting your 3-Minute Thesis Presentation

Find details and register for these workshops on the Yale Career Link.

The competition is open to all GSAS students (MA, MS, PhD) and postdocs in all disciplines .The deadline to apply is Tuesday, February 28th at noon.  Questions? Contact McDougal Career Fellow Matthew Piva.

Judging Criteria

Comprehension & 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?
  • 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 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?

Engagement & 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?


  • Only 1 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. 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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.