Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

3MT logoGraduate students in the Faculty of Mathematics are invited to participate in the annual Three-Minute Thesis - 3MT Competition.

The 3MT Competition is a university-wide competition for research-based masters and doctoral students. Competitors have one static slide and three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their graduate research to a non-specialist audience. Information and resources for competitors as well as answers to frequently-asked questions are available on the University of Waterloo 3MT Competition website.

Past Math 3MT finalists have shared why they found the competition worthwhile. Here's what they had to say:

  • Preparing and presenting for the 3MT helped me put together a polished explanation of my graduate work that I still use today when people are interested in what I did.
  • It helped me practice and develop my presentation planning and public speaking.
  • You have to analyze your own work from a different perspective which is actually helpful for the thesis itself. 
  • I wanted to help demystify the perception of mathematics in academia by explaining, in laymen terms, how mathematics could help people in the real world.
  • I put the video on my website along with a description of my research work at UW – this really helped me market myself in the job search. Because of the 3MT experience I know how to present my thesis in a way that sounds interesting and easy to understand.
  • To be able to condense such complex ideas, in simple terms, into a three minute speech seemed like a very hard challenge that would prompt me to streamline my thought process when it comes to my work.
  • It was a good opportunity to meet people working in other areas and have a better sense of the research being done at this university in other departments and faculties, and what kind of problems interest other researchers.
  • It isn't always math at work. There is a lot of communicating with non technical colleagues. 3MT really helped me develop my skills in that area. Talking with other mathematicians who were not from my field also helped. Sometimes, you are going to be the expert in the room, and you need to be able to communicate your expertise effectively.

Here are presentations from past finalists in the 3MT Competition. Watch their talks to inspire your own.

Irene Lermas was the finalist in the 2020 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Thomas Bury was a finalist in the 2017 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Tyrone Ghaswala was a finalist in the 2017 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Here is Applied Mathematics graduate student, Demetri Pananos, winner of the 2016 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Applied Mathematics graduate student Tawsif Khan, winner of the 2015 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Pure Mathematics graduate student Stanley Xiao, winner of the 2014 Faculty of Mathematics heat.

Want to see more? Here's a recap of what happened at the 2013 Faculty of Mathematics 3MT heat.