An 80,000-word thesis would take you about 9 (probably rather dreary) hours to present. Can you boil yours down to … 180 engrossing seconds?

Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition inaugurated by the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008. It challenges graduate students in all research programs to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Syracuse University has held a Three-Minute Thesis competition annually since 2014.

Think “mini–TED Talk” – but only one static projected image (e.g., PPT slide) and no audio or moving video is permitted. A multidisciplinary faculty panel judges contestants on their ability to convey the nature, importance, and inherent interest of their research in 180 seconds or less.

That is:

  • What is your research about?
  • Why does it matter?
  • What makes it cool?

The winner takes home an ASUS TP200 Book Flip convertible laptop/tablet, while audience members bestow a “People’s Choice” award. All contestants come out of it with a polished elevator pitch and confidence in their ability to communicate the value of their research to funders or employers in academic, industrial, governmental, and non-profit settings.

The 2017 Syracuse University Three-Minute Thesis competition will take place

Monday, February 20

5:00-6:30 pm

Hall of Languages 500

If necessary, a second bracket will be held Thursday, February 23, 5:00-6:30 pm in Hinds 347.

The registration deadline is February 1, 2017. Click the link to sign up for the Three-Minute Thesis.

The Three-Minute Thesis competition is sponsored by the Graduate School and the GSO.


Previous winners (click the thesis titles for video)

2014    Lex Jing Lu, History
Physiognomy, Beauty, and Political Power in Late Imperial and Modern China

2015    Laura Bartock, Environmental Communication and Participatory Processes (ESF)
Walking the Talk? Examining the Practical Application of Theoretical Models of Science Communication in Long-Term Ecological Research Sites

2016   David Moss, Earth Sciences
The Evolution of Extreme Longevity in Modern and Fossil Bivalves


To view winning presentations from other universities, visit the 3MT Showcase.

“When you’re conducting research, sometimes you get wrapped up in details and lose sight of the big picture. Preparing for the 3MT helped me distill what was most important about my thesis and helped me get back to why I was so interested in my project in the first place.”

~ Laura Bartock
2015 SU/ESF 3MT winner