Three-Minute Thesis



Communicating the importance of your work in a clear and concise manner to wide audiences is an important skill that can increase the success of job searches, funding proposals, and professional networking. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is designed to give students a chance to polish these skills as part of an energizing, fun, and challenging academic competition.


What is 3MT®?


3MT® is a research communication competition where PhD students present their doctoral research to a non-specialist audience using only one single visual aid—all in three minutes. This exercise encourages graduate students to think about their research from an outsider’s perspective, hones their presentation skills, and provides a forum for a cross-disciplinary exchange of exciting ideas and information.


How Does 3MT® Work?


The preliminary elimination round will be held in March 4, 2022. The Top 10 finalists will advance to compete in the final round at the Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference in April 2022.


Registration for 3MT®

The below are eligible to present in the 2022 3MT® competition.

- PhD students who have advanced to candidacy by the deadline are eligible to participate.

- DNP students are eligible to participate.

- MFA students are eligible to participate.

The Mason 3MT® competition will be held virtually as part of the Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Friday, April 8, 2022.


Registration closes at 5PM tentatively on Monday, January 31, 2022. Registration status will be confirmed, via email, within 48-hours of the application submission. Anyone registered after the first 50 entrants will be placed on a wait list. 

A preliminary elimination round will be conducted virtually tentatively on Friday, March 4, 2022. Details for participation in the preliminary round will be confirmed tentatively on Monday, March 7, 2022.

Congratulations to Mason's 2021 3MT® Winners and Participants

The Mason Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) final round of competition was held remotely on Friday, April 9, 2021. Links to the recorded presentations will be published as they become available. Please join the Office of Graduate Education in recognizing the 10 Finalists (in the order they presented) who showcased their research for the University community:

  1. Fiorella Briceno, COS​, “Uncovering the truth of wild meat consumption in the Amazon”

  2. Laura Crossley, CHSS​, “Asserting Native Sovereignty and Contesting Western Statehood at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition”

  3. Shriniwas Patwardhan, VSE, “The senses and my hand: An investigation of multi-sensory feedback for prosthetic control”​

  4. Simisola Fasehun, Schar​, “Role of Humanitarian Aid on Corruption”

  5. Sean Doody, CHSS​, “Mapping the Intellectual Dark Web: A Critical Computational Sociology”

  6. Sara Hadad, VSE​, “Predicting Brain Aneurysm Growth”

  7. Chase LaDue, COS​

  8. Sarah Johnson, CHSS​

  9. Brynden Lindsey, CEHD

  10. Ryan Mays, COS​

  11. Seyedeh Fatemeh Salimi Ashkezari, VSE​

  12. Sara Montiel, CEHD​

  13. Paige Trojanowski, CHSS

Special thanks to our esteemed panel of judges: 

Dulce Carrillo, Coordinator of Community Engagement, Arlington Public Schools​

Robert Duncan, Ph.D., U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research; Department of Health and Human Services​

Kimberly Holmes, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Health and Human Services​

Hironao Okahana, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty; Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) as Associate Vice President, Research and Policy Analysis

Congratulations to the 2021 Mason 3MT® Winners:

First Place ($1,000): Brittany Thompson, Psychology, CHSS
Second Place ($750): Syeda Khadija Zaidi-Rashid, Bioengineering, VSE
Third Place ($500): Kate Doyle Feingold, Criminology, Law & Society, CHSS
Third Place ($500): Angela Gill, Public Policy, SCHAR


First Place: $1000
Second Place: $750
Third Place: $500

Rules for Presentations

Presentations exceeding 3 minutes in length will be disqualified.

  1. Presentations must commence from the stage.
  2. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through either movement or speech.
  3. 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 presentation.
  4. No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  5. Presentations must be spoken word (i.e., no poems, raps, or songs).
  6. No additional props (e.g., note cards, costumes, musical instruments, or laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  7. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

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?
  • Were 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 presentation 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 the 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?

For more 3MT® information contact Akitta Robertson. Visit Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) website to view winning presentations from around the globe.