2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition Details & Deadlines

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.

Who Is Eligible?

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

How Do I Participate?

Eligible Yale PhD students will be welcome to submit their 3MT presentation through our 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition submission form. Students will compete within 4 divisional preliminary rounds: Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences/Engineering. Three finalists from each divisional group will proceed to the final round where they will have the opportunity to win one of the following prizes!

*IMPORTANT* 3MT finalists will be expected to deliver their presentations in-person on April 14th. The event will be open to the broader Yale community via Zoom.

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

Note: Please review the details of the 2022 3MT judging criteria and video presentation rules here.

Dates & Deadlines

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, all participants must record and submit their 3-minute video presentations using the Panopto platform. Individuals interested in participating must pay careful attention to the dates outlined below.

  • Participants’ preliminary Panopto video submissions are currently being collected through our 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition submission form with a cut off date of Sunday, March 6th at 11:59pm ET.
  • Three finalists from each divisional group will be selected to move onto the championship round and will be announced Monday, March 21st 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). Revised presentations will be due by Friday, March 25th, 11:59pm ET.
  • The winners of the 2022 3-Minute Thesis Competition will be revealed during a virtual showcase and people’s choice competition on Thursday, April 14th, 5-6:30pm ET. *IMPORTANT* 3MT finalists will be expected to deliver their presentations in-person on April 14th. The event will be open to the broader Yale community via Zoom.

Video Formatting Requirements – Please Review Carefully

Students must submit video presentations using Panopto, Yale’s video and lecture capture platform. For examples, refer to the 2021 finalist videos and the Panopto Tutorial. If you have any questions, please contact Jacob Gonzalez at jacob.gonzalez@yale.edu.

Click here to see our easy, step-by-step instructions on how to create your Panopto 3MT video!

Note: Please read these instructions carefully to ensure proper formatting. Any videos that do not follow the required format will need to be revised.

Video 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. notecards, laser pointers, costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be recorded using Panopto, using the ’tile all streams’ layout.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Resources to Enhance Your 3MT Presentation

Student participants will have 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.

  • 3-Minute Thesis Information Session: View here
  • Poorvu Panopto Tutorials: View here
  • Graduate Writing Lab “Presenting Engagingly” Workshops:
    • In the Sciences Series, 4-5:30pm ET
    • In the Humanities & Social Sciences Series, 5–6:30pm ET
      • 1/27: Crafting the Short Story of your Research 
      • 2/3: Designing Effective Slides 
      • 2/10: Poster Presentation and Template Development 
      • 2/17: Figure Making (Sciences Series) or Conferences from Abstract to Q&A (Hum & SS Series)
  • Enhancing Your Stage Presence in Online Presentations: Workshop with Yale Broadcast Studio: Monday, February 21, 12-1:15pm ET Register here

One-on-One Consultations

All participants are encouraged to schedule one-on-one advising appointments with Hyun Ja Shin and Jacob Gonzalez from the Office of Career Strategy. Available appointments can be seen and scheduled via Yale Career Link.  Participants can also schedule writing consultations with the Graduate Writing Lab.

PitchVantage Public Speaking Studio at the Graduate Writing Lab

PitchVantage is a program designed to help improve public speaking skills in a variety of different sectors of life.  Easily navigating the space between boardroom and lecture hall, this program focuses on different aspects of public presentation, from pacing to pitch, and evaluates performance in real time.  For more information and to book time in the GWL’s PitchVantage studio, please visit the online scheduler, select the PitchVantage schedule, and reserve an appointment.

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.)?

The Poorvu CTL Certificate for Public Communication

3MT participants who take advantage of GWL, OCS, and Poorvu CTL professional development resources and compete in the 3MT preliminary rounds are eligible to earn Poorvu’s CTL Certificate for Public Communication. The Certificate aims to recognize the commitment and key skills developed by students who continue through the preliminary rounds and actively leverage the resources available to them in the areas of professional oral and written communication, peer-to-peer collaboration, and interdisciplinary networking.

Requirements for earning the Certificate:

1. Use at least 2 resources in each of the three thematic categories: “Designing Your Content”, “Receiving Feedback”, and “Polishing Your Presentation”
2. Use the GWL PitchVantage Public Speaking Studio to polish your speech before the preliminary competition
3. Participate in the 3MT preliminary competition by submitting your application and Panopto recording by the March 6th deadline
4. Complete a brief self-reflection form after the competition is finished

Enroll in the Spring 2022 Certificate Program (TBA) as you prepare for the 3MT Competition!

For questions about the Certificate program, please email Julia Istomina, Associate Director of The Graduate Writing Lab, at julia.istomina@yale.edu.


Please contact Hyun Ja Shin, Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Career Services, or Jacob Gonzalez, Senior Associate Director.

By Jacob Gonzalez
Jacob Gonzalez Senior Associate Director, Graduate and Postdoctoral Career Services