2021 3-Minute Thesis Competition Details

Do you have difficulty explaining your research projects to friends and family? Do you wish you could describe your work more clearly in seminars and interviews?  Improve your ability to distill your main ideas, demonstrate the relevance of your research and creatively engage your audience. You will have 3 minutes and 1 slide to describe your research project to a broad audience.

How Do I Participate?

Eligible Yale PhD students will be welcome to submit their 3MT presentation through our 2021 3-Minute Thesis Competition submission form.  Submissions can currently be submitted, with a deadline of 12pm ET Friday, February 26th.

Who Is Eligible?

All current, matriculated students enrolled in Yale’s PhD programs are welcome to apply and compete.

Dates & Deadlines

Due to current restrictions related to Covid-19, all participants must record and submit their preliminary 3-minute presentations using Panopto (see Panopto’s user guide and support site).  Individuals interested in participating must pay careful attention to the dates outlined below.

  • Participants’ preliminary Panopto submissions are currently being collected through our 2021 3-Minute Thesis Competition submission form with a cut off date of Friday, February 26th at 12noon ET.
  • Twelve finalists will be selected to move onto the championship round and will be announced on Friday, March 12th via email.
  • All finalists will then have the opportunity to modify, re-record and submit their presentations (modifications based on feedback from the preliminary round will be welcome and expected).  These revised presentations will be due by Thursday, April 1st at 12noon ET.
  • The winners of the 2021 3-Minute Thesis Competition will be revealed during an awards ceremony over Zoom on Thursday, April 22nd at 5pm ET.

Prizes

1st Prize:  $1000
2nd Prize:  Apple Watch
3rd Prize:  $200 gift card
Audience favorite – Humanities/Social Sciences: $300
Audience favorite – STEM: $300,

What Does a Virtual 3MT Presentation Look Like?

To get a sense of how Yale students have risen to the challenge of a virtual 3MT in the recent past, you can view our 2020 finalists’ submissions via our YouTube channel.  All of the finalists submissions were recorded via Panopto, with guidance from the Graduate Writing Lab and the Office of Career Strategy.

What Support Will Participants Receive?

Student participants will receive access to a series of workshops and programs offered jointly by the Office of Career Strategy and the Graduate Writing Lab in the Poorvu Center for Teaching & Learning. Where possible, these sessions will be recorded so that 3MT participants can revisit this information throughout the process.

Upcoming programs scheduled at this time include:

  • 3-Minute Thesis Information Session:  Wednesday, January 20th, 12pm-1pm ET – register through Yale Career Link
  • Panopto Tutorial:  Tuesday, January 26th, 12pm-1pm ET – register through Yale Career Link
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Humanities & Social Sciences – Crafting the Short Story of Your Research:  Thursday, January 28th, 4pm-5:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Sciences – Crafting the Short Story of Your Research:  Thursday, January 28th, 5pm-6:30pm – register here
  • Panopto Tutorial: Wednesday, February 1st, 12pm-1pm ET – register through Yale Career Link
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Humanities & Social Sciences – Designing Effective Slides: Thursday, February 4th, 4pm-5:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Sciences – Designing Effective Slides: Thursday, February 4th, 5pm-6:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Humanities & Social Sciences – Conference Presentations from Abstract to Q&A: Thursday, February 11th, 4pm-5:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Sciences – Figure Making:  Thursday, February 11th, 5pm-6:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Humanities & Social Sciences – Poster Preparation: Thursday, February 18th, 4pm-5:30pm – register here
  • Presenting Engagingly in the Sciences – Poster Presentation:  Thursday, February 18th, 5pm-6:30pm – register here

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?
  • Did the presentation recording appear clear and free of distracting elements (unnecessary noise, background clutter, etc.)?

Rules

Presentation Rules

  • 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. laser pointers, 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 be recorded using Panopto, using the ’tile all streams’ layout.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Recording Rules & Recommendations

  • Review our 2020 finalists’ videos to get a sense of the expectations of the submitted videos!
  • Presentations are to be recorded using Panopto (see Panopto’s user guide and support site).
  • Presentations are to be recorded using the ‘tile all streams‘ layout (so that your slide and the your appearance on the video are the same size) without any additional layout modifications.   Any participants not abiding by this will be asked to modify their presentation.
  • Presentations are to be no longer than 3 minutes for your total time on camera.  Given your ability to record multiple takes, any deviation from this rule will result in disqualification.
  • We advise presenters to ensure their recorded presentations are properly lit and have appropriate audio quality.