Recently, the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools has encouraged the establishment of a new program, referred to as the Three Minute Thesis, to address this issue. This program, adopted by other major universities worldwide, originated from the University of Queensland in Australia and is being brought to UMKC by the School of Graduate Studies.
The major goal of the program is enhanced oral communication. Essentially the Three Minute Thesis is a three-minute-maximum oral summary of a student’s dissertation or thesis research, aimed at educated lay people.
A three-minute thesis is not as simple as one would think. Students need to identify the most critical findings of the research and relay them to individuals unfamiliar with the technical subject matter. They need to state only the major take-home message they want to convey, without using technical jargon.
Student competitions are helping to popularize the concept. At UMKC, approximately 28 students have volunteered to take part in a Three Minute Thesis contest to be held in early February. Contestants are only allowed to use one PowerPoint slide in their presentation. The first and second place winners will receive cash prizes. Members of the audience will be asked to select a People’s Choice winner. The first place winner will be invited to present at the regional competition within the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools in April in Chicago.
You can see examples of winning presentations from other universities at: http://threeminutethesis.org/3mt-showcase