Graduate students to compete in ‘three-minute’ presentation competition


This spring, graduate students in the College of Science and Engineering will try to boil down their dense theses to three-minute presentations and a PowerPoint slide.

This is the first year of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at TCU, a contest to help graduate students prepare for their futures by presenting their complex study topics to general audiences.

Dr. Magnus Rittby, senior associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering, said he heard of the competition at a workshop in New York City.

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Rittby said it could be a fun competition to get the College of Science and Engineering more involved in the community.

The competition will help graduate students learn how to present research to the public, Rittby said.

“It is learning the tricks on how to reach people and make them realize that it should interest them because it can impact them or their health,” he said.

The competition is simple, which makes it easy to replicate at different universities, Rittby said.

The purpose of the contest is for students to convey complex theories or ideas to non-scientists. Contestants only have three minutes and one PowerPoint slide to effectively explain their research.

The language must be appropriate for an audience of non-specialists. If a participant exceeds three minutes, he or she will be disqualified.

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The 3MT competition is only for graduate students. The goal is to prep students for real-world situations once they finish graduate work, Rittby said. Workshops will be held prior to the final competition.

There will be preliminary competitions to filter the final contestant number down to six. These six graduate students will then compete on April 17.

The first-place winner will receive $1,000, and the runner-up will get $750. There is also a $500 “people’s choice” award.

The preliminary round judges will be a combination of faculty and staff from various colleges on TCU’s campus.

Judges in the final competition will be individuals from the External Advisory Board at the College of Science and Engineering, where they will objectively judge the competition.

The deadline to enter the competition is Feb. 16.