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What is the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®)?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by gradaute students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008, 3MT® competitions are now held in nearly 900 universities and institutions across 86 countries worldwide

The goal of the 3MT® competition is for Florida Atlantic graduate students from all departments and colleges to cultivate the ability to explain their research, including both breadth and significance, in a language appropriate to an audience containing both specialists and non-specialists. Graduate students must present their research in 3 minutes and are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

The 3MT®; competition provides Florida Atlantic graduate students with the opportunity to sharpen their professional development skills, reignite their passion for discovery, promote preeminent research, and foster community. Florida Atlantic 3MT® is a venue for graduate students from various disciplines to interact with one another and discuss their research and its implications. The competition provides an opportunity for undergraduates, alumni, industry partners, various on-campus departments/institutions and the community to gain exposure to high-level, cutting-edge research being performed at Florida Atlantic University. 


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

At both the Preliminary Rounds and Championship, competitors will be judged on the criteria listed below.

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?
  • 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 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?


Scoring is the same for Preliminary Rounds and the Championship. The First Place, Runner-Up, Second Runner-Up, and People's Choice winners from each Heat win scholarship prizes and advance to the Championship.

First Place, Runner-Up, and Second Runner-Up Awards

  • A panel of esteemed judges (faculty, administrators, and Florida Atlantic community members) determines the  First Place, Runner-up, and Second Runner-up winners.
  • The number of judges on each judging panel may vary, however, it is the Graduate College's priority to ensure fair competition by carefully selecting each judging panel. 
  • Judges give competitors scores for two categories (detailed above). Scores are tallied for each competitor.
  • Competitors with the top three scores are named First Place, Runner-up, and Second Runner-up. 

People's Choice Awards

  • Audience members determine People's Choice winners.
  • Each member of the audience gets one vote by electronic ballot.
  • The competitor with the most audience votes is the People's Choice winner. Please note: the People's Choice winner may also win First Place, Runner-Up, or Second-Runner-Up.