Presenting a Thesis in Three Minutes

UNT master’s students researching everything from information science to biological sciences competed in UNT’s Toulouse Graduate School’s annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition this spring. Each contestant condensed years of research into a concise three-minute presentation to a non-specialist audience. The competition challenged students to consolidate their research discoveries and convey technical details and abstract ideas using only a single PowerPoint slide and without any additional props or visual aids.

"This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to learn how to present research without using technical language," says Joseph Oppong, associate vice provost of the Toulouse Graduate School. "Three Minute Thesis is not dumbing down the research but forces students to synthesize their discoveries and present them with credibility."

Viewers from around the globe watched this year’s presentations online with over 1,500 responses for the people’s choice award. Huyen Nguyen, master’s student in information science, won first place with her presentation of “A Graph Database for the COVID-19 Knowledge Discovery.” Ronfang Zhan, master’s student in information studies, was the second-place winner with her presentation of “Improving Relationships by Using Information Technology.” Mehrnaz Moghimi, master’s student in biological sciences, won the people’s choice award based on the audience’s votes for her presentation of “Effect of Low Oxygen Level on Lead Toxicity and Calcium Deficiency.” Watch the awards presentation.

“The world is a very complex place these days with some very challenging issues. Our scientists need to be able to speak up and talk about the strength and value of their research to meet these challenges,” says Mark McLellan, vice president for research and innovation. “Here at UNT we are excited about the growth of 3M Thesis and the extension of it into all of our program areas. Communicating what we do in research is essential for our future as a university.”

3MT® was founded at The University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 and has since grown to an international event. More than 600 institutions in more than 60 countries now hold 3MT® competitions. UNT has held the competition annually since 2015. Doctoral students compete in the fall semester, and master’s students compete in the spring. The fall competition will be held Nov. 20, with preliminaries taking place Nov. 1-3. Students are encouraged to attend a workshop Sept. 27 to learn more.

“I want to see every student go through this training,” Oppong says. “It’s good for promoting the science that is taking place at our Tier One Research University — the University of North Texas.”

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