School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

How Many Thousands of Words Can be Expressed in Three Minutes? Find out at the 3MT!

Someone once said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Academics will tell you that a master’s thesis is about 20,000 words and that a PhD dissertation is about 80,000. Google says that the average person can speak 130 words per minute. Our competition demonstrates that our graduate students can explain their thesis with one image in 3 minutes, which is give or take 390 words. The #challenge is on to make complex research accessible to the community.

AnastasiaThe Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition for masters and doctoral students to present their research and its wider impact to a panel of non-specialist judges that was developed by the University of Queensland, Australia in 2008. 3MT competitions are now held at the university, provincial and national levels in Canada, and in countries around the globe. Queen’s has held competitions since 2012 and it held the inaugural Ontario 3MT in 2013. Last year, Queen’s master’s student Anastasia Shavrova place 3rd in the Ontario 3MT.

While communicating complex research findings using easy to understand, plain language with an emphasis on clarity, brevity, and avoidance of overly complex vocabulary is a daunting task, it is extremely beneficial for graduate students as they work toward their degrees. The competition helps graduate students hone skills they will need in the workplace after leaving university, such as presentation skills and decision making. And there is prize money for the winners.

At the same time, the 3MT offers the Queen’s and Kingston community the opportunity to keep up with the times on the ground-breaking research being conducted across disciplines at the university. You don’t have to be an expert in the subject in order to “get it” and to engage in conversations about it.

This year’s competition starts with the opening heats on March 20-22 followed by the finals on March 30.


Heat 1 - Monday, March 20, 12:00 Noon B176 Mackintosh Corry Hall
Heat 2 - Tuesday, March 21, 12:00 Noon, B176 Mackintosh Corry Hall
Heat 3 - Wednesday, March 22, 12:00 Noon, B176 Mackintosh Corry Hall

CKWS Interview - March 27, 8:20 am. See Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Brenda Brouwer and last year's winner Anastasia Shavrova interviewed by Bill Welychka, this year's Master of Ceremonies for the Queen's Final. 

Queen’s Final - Thursday, March 30, Start – 4:30 pm, Dupuis Hall Auditorium. The winner and runner up will represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT on April 12 in Waterloo and appear on Bill Welychka's morning show on CKWS TV.

Everyone is welcome to attend the upcoming events.

For more information, see the calendar and information on participants and judges.

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