2021 CSGS Three Minute Thesis Competition


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

The Three Minute Thesis contest challenges graduate students to summarize their research within three minutes to a general audience. The University of Queensland developed the contest in 2008 to help graduate students improve their oral communication skills.

CSGS is sponsoring a Virtual 3MT competition at the 2021 Annual Meeting scheduled for February 24-26. One student from each member institution is eligible to compete.


Institutional Guidelines:

  • Only CSGS member institutions, in good standing, are eligible to compete.
  • The institution must hold its own 3MT competition. Institutions may not nominate a student who did not compete in a local competition.
  • The institution must register their competition with the University of Queensland.
  • Students enrolled in either Master’s or Ph.D. programs may compete. A student’s program of study must contain an original research project.  The degree program need not formally require a thesis or dissertation. However, the presentation topic must cover the original research project.
  • One student per institution is allowed.
  • Students who have graduated between the institution’s competition and the CSGS final are still eligible to compete.


Nomination and Registration of a Student Competitor:

  • Only the official who supervises graduate education (e.g., graduate dean) may nominate a student for competition. Institutions are urged to submit the complete online nomination form as early as possible but no later than Friday, January 29, 2021.
    • Student competitors will receive detailed instructions on how to upload the MP4 recording of their presentation and their 3MT slide once the nomination form has been submitted.
    • Ideally, the student’s CSGS Photo and Release Form is also uploaded to the nomination form by January 29, 2021 but it can also be emailed to CSGS at a later time.
    • Upon registration, students will need to confirm that they have adhered to all copyright laws and have considered any intellectual property issues prior to the regional competition.  If the student has questions, they should contact their library for copyright assistance and their Office of Research for guidelines on intellectual property rights.
    • Students are encouraged, but not required, to attend the conference sessions.
    • Institutions must also register their 3MT participant for the conference by January 29, 2021 (registration is free).


Competition Rules:

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Competitor must be visible throughout the video (rather than showing only the slide at any given point);
    • Recommend competitor is standing
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description).
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (details to be provided for uploading). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted. The PowerPoint slide must also be submitted.
  • Finalists in four heats will be advanced to the final competition.  No new video will be allowed for this round.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Judging Criteria:

      • Competitors will be evaluated and ranked by a judging panel guided by the Judging Matrix.
      • Feedback regarding the competitor’s performance will not be provided.


Questions? Contact: csgs.3mt@gmail.com