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Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

What is the 3MT?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a research competition developed by The University of Queensland which challenges students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. The Graduate Student Congress at the University of Kentucky began hosting an annual 3MT competition in 2013. We are one of the nine SEC schools that have a 3MT competition and we are constantly working to make sure we remain competitive with our conference counterparts by recruiting the best minds at UK and offering the best awards for our winners. Each year, the doctoral first place winner is sent on an expenses-paid trip to the regional competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Annual Meeting, recently held in Fayetteville, AK (2018), Annapolis, MD (2017), Charlotte, NC (2016), New Orleans, LA (2015), and San Antonio, TX (2014).

UK 3MT Final Competition Rules: (This information has been last updated 11/16)

For the final 3MT competition, the GSC invites members of the larger Lexington community to serve as judges; they are asked to represent the public at large, the intended 3MT audience, and graciously give their time free of charge. The judging process involves 1) completion of score sheets immediately following each presentation, and 2) a private discussion among the judges at the end to arrive at a consensus on the top three presentations and their rankings.


  1. Judges complete scoring sheets for each contestant. The scoresheets reflect the standard criteria used in 3MT competitions internationally.
  2. A 3MT volunteer collects the scoresheets and calculates the scores, which are understood by the judges to be preliminary.
  3. After calculations, the scoresheets are grouped by the judges.
  4. After the presentations are finished, each judge is given his/her five highest scoresheets. The judges then, as a group, decide on the top three and their place ranking.

This process is in place in an effort to limit the influence of presentation order; judges tend to grade more stringently toward the end of competitions due to the effect of comparison. While there is no way to completely neutralize this effect in our competition, we do want to account for it as much as possible by permitting judges to make their final rankings after they have seen all of the presentations; we also want them to have the opportunity to arrive at a consensus.
Due to the fast pace of the final 3MT competition, judges do not have time to make substantial comments on the scoresheets. The collective decision of the judges is confident and final.

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