About the Competition

Open to all members of the senior class, the Three Minute Thesis competition offers cash prizes for the students who can most effectively summarize their senior projects in three minutes or less. Seniors must tailor their explanations for a broad audience, beyond the college. Community members form the judging panel. Hamilton is one of only a few undergraduate institutions in the U.S. that sponsors the competition. 

According to its website, “Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by Ph.D. students. Developed by The University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.” Funding for the 3MT at Hamilton comes from the Ferguson Endowment, which advances oral communication across campus.

To enter:
  • Attend a preparation session at the OCC. To book a session, search on TracCloud using the course “OCC Speaking Competition” and the reason “Three Minute Thesis.” Sessions will be available between Wednesday, April 17th and Thursday, April 25th.
  • Email oralcomm@hamilton.edu with your slide, your name as you would like it to appear, and the title of your thesis by Friday, April 26 at 12 noon.
  • Show up on Saturday, April 27 at 9:45 am in KJ Auditorium to speak in the competition.

Sign up for a preparation meeting!

Prize Amounts

First prize: $1000

Second prize: $750

Third prize: $500

People's Choice Award: $250

3MT® Rules

  • Participants must be graduating in the current academic year. 
  • Double concentrators may choose to enter twice, once for each senior project. Double concentrators may also choose to focus on just one project as a single entrant.
  • Speakers may use a single static PowerPoint slide which will be projected throughout the speaker’s time. All slides must be submitted by Friday, April 26 at 12 p.m.
  • No props or other media may be used. 
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs). If your thesis is creative in nature, you may speak about what you created.
  • Competitors whose presentations exceed 3 minutes will be disqualified.  Your speech time will begin once you start speaking, and will end once you've stopped speaking.
  • Speakers are encouraged to present without notes, though the use of notes is permitted. 
  • Speakers should present in professional attire; no costumes are permitted. 
  • Winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd places) will be selected based on judges’ evaluations. 
    • In addition, a fourth People's Choice Award winner will be chosen based on a vote from the in-person audience.

Tips for preparing   Judging Criteria


Office / Department Name

Oral Communication Center

Contact Name

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director

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