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 2021. The Top 10 finalists will advance to compete in the final round at the Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference in April 2021.

Registration for 3MT®

The below are eligible to present in the 2021 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 9, 2021.

Registration closed at 5PM on Monday, February 15, 2021. Your registration status will be confirmed, via email, within 48 hours of your submission of this application. Anyone registered after the first 50 entrants will be placed on a wait list. 

A preliminary elimination round will be conducted virtually on Friday, March 5, 2021. Details for participation in the preliminary round will be confirmed by Monday, February 22, 2021.

Congratulations to Mason's 2020 3MT® Winners and Participants


The Mason Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) final round of competition was held remotely on Saturday, May 9. 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:

Gracia North, Nursing, CHHS

“Preparing Undergraduate Nurses to Practice to the Full Extent of Their Education and Training”

Wendy Chen, Public Policy, SCHAR

“Profit vs. Purpose – Digital Crowdfunding as an Example”

Kate Doyle Feingold, Criminology, Law & Society, CHSS

“Teaching Youth Their Rights: A Randomized Controlled Trial”

Jessica McKee, Nursing, CHHS

“Existing Barriers and Interventions to Increase the Rate of Tdap Vaccination in Pregnancy”

Sahar Sadat Seyed Mazloom, Computer Science, VSE

“Secure and Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning”

Angela Gill, Public Policy, SCHAR

“Puppetmasters: The Drivers and Consequences of U.S. Strategic Choice Regarding Regime Change”

Aslaa Ahmed, Biosciences, COS

“Antimicrobial Peptides - The Antiviral Ninjas”

Brian Neville, Rehabilitation Science, CHHS

"Precision Rehabilitation: One Step Closer”    

Syeda Khadija Zaidi-Rashid, Bioengineering, VSE

“Reaching into the Pocket of Rocket Science: Modifying Transport Analysis to Arm Motor Control”

Brittany Thompson, Psychology, CHSS 

“Pretend Play Across the Preschool Years”

Special thanks to our esteemed panel of judges: 

Ms. Dulce Carrillo, Coordinator of Community Engagement, Department of School and Community Relations, Arlington Public Schools
Dr. Robert Duncan, Principal Investigator, Food and Drug Administration 
Dr. Daniel Fisher, Project Director, National Humanities Alliance
Dr. Brooke Gowl, Associate Director of Research Development, CHSS, George Mason University
Dr. Hina Mehta, Director, Office of Technology Transfer, George Mason University
Dr. Hironao Okahana, Vice President, Research and Knowledge Development, Council of Graduate Schools

Congratulations to the 2020 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.