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Three Minute Thesis

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; despite the name, any senior project/seminar is eligible to participate! 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. 

This year, the first prize winner will receive $1000. Second and third prize will receive $750 and $500 respectively. The People's Choice Award, presented to the speaker with the most audience votes, is $250.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) traditionally "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.

2022 Three Minute Thesis Competition

This year’s competition has been postponed by one week. Three Minute Thesis 2022 will be held Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in Kirner-Johnson 125 (aka KJ Aud). It will also be livestreamed here.

To compete, you must take part in our preliminary screening with a recorded version of your talk. You have 2 options for submitting this video:

  1. Sign up for a time slot to record in the OCC. We will submit your recording for you! *Please email us at oralcomm@hamilton.edu to reserve a time to record!
  2. Record on your own and submit through the Google form. Be sure to check out our tips for recording videos.

The preliminary screening will be used to ensure all entries meet the requirements of the competition. Entries that do not meet the requirements may be cut from the main competition.

Prescreening will not provide feedback. If you would like assistance in organizing a speech or rehearsing, make an OCC appointment.

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. 
  • No props or other media may be used. 
  • Presentations are to be a speech (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. 

Judging Criteria

The judges will evaluate each speaker on two main categories of criteria: content and communication/engagement.


  1. clearly explained the background, purpose, and significance of the research project.
  2. clearly described the methods, key results, and conclusions drawn from the research.
  3. followed a clear and logical sequence.
  4. gave adequate time to each element of the presentation.
  5. described the research and results in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
  6. provided adequate background information for a general audience.

Communication and Engagement

  1. stimulated my interest in the research and made me want to know more.
  2. conveyed enthusiasm for their research
  3. captured and maintained the audience’s attention.
  4. made eye contact and used body language that enhanced the meaning of the message.
  5. spoke with appropriate speed and volume and used vocal expression that enhanced the meaning of the message.
  6. PowerPoint slide was legible, concise, and enhanced the presentation.

Contact Information

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director
Kirner-Johnson 222
315-859-4401 oralcomm@hamilton.edu


Jan 24 – May 14

S 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

M 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

W 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

F 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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