3-Minute Thesis Judging Criteria

Judging Format 
Preliminary Round

Preliminary rounds will be held in-person in February 2024. Students will be assigned to compete within 5 divisional preliminary rounds: Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering/Applied Sciences. Two preliminary round champions from each divisional group will be selected to move onto the Final Round.

Final Round

Final rounds will be held in-person on Friday, April 12, 4:00-6:00 p.m. EST.  At the Final Round, each of our champions will give a live version of their talk and judging will take place at this event.

For examples, make sure to watch videos of the previous 3MT finalists on YouTube.

  • Only 1 single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations, or ‘movement’ of any description; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration). Do not include your presentation title on the slide.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • 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?
  • Was 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 oration 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 their 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?
  • Did the presentation recording appear clear and free of distracting elements (unnecessary noise, background clutter, etc.)?