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Dal 200 Planning Profile: Faculty of Graduate Studies

Toward 200: Making Dal's Three-Minute Thesis competition bigger and better

- June 9, 2017

A student presents research at the 2017 Dalhousie Three Minute Thesis competition in March. (Daniel Abriel photo)
A student presents research at the 2017 Dalhousie Three Minute Thesis competition in March. (Daniel Abriel photo)

This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting plans in the works for Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2018. For more features, visit our archives and learn more about Dal 200 at dal200.ca.

Each year, many of Dal’s best and brightest grad students put their brains and brevity to the test in the university’s Three-Minute Thesis event.

Part of a national competition, the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) sees master’s and PhD students presenting their research in a short presentation targeted at a non-specialist audience. It’s a skill development exercise, one that helps prepare students for a career explaining and translating their research to all sorts of different people and purposes. The winner of the Dal competition goes on to the regional and, hopefully, national showdown.

For Dal’s 200th anniversary year, the Faculty of Graduate Studies plans to “supersize” the university’s 3MT event in the spring, making it bigger and better than ever.

“The 3MT competition is a really great opportunity for our students to practise and grow their communications skills — and to interact with peers across the university,” says Marty Leonard, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

“When we were thinking about what we could do for Dal’s 200th year — something that would leave a legacy with our students — making 3MT into a larger event with more professional development, more networking and a wider audience really got our team excited.”

Bigger and better


For 2018, plans are for the 3MT preliminary heats to take place over three days instead of one, allowing for more activities between the heats. While full details are still taking shape, some of the ideas being explored to grow the event include doubling the prize money, seeking out local celebrity judges for the final competition and creating new opportunities for professional development and networking.

Some of these opportunities will take place around the competition itself, while others will occur leading up to, and in preparation for, the event. New workshops covering topics such as media relations, presentation skills will aim to be offered for the 2018 competition.

And while the competition is always open to the public, in 2018 Grad Studies will be reaching out to local high schools to invite future scholars and scientists to get a taste of what an academic career in research can be.

“People who come out to watch the competition tell us that they learn so much about all the different, exciting research happening across the university,” says Dr. Leonard. “We hope to provide more opportunities than ever for the Dal community — and our broader communities — to hear and learn from our outstanding grad students.”

Look for more details on 3MT 2018 as it approaches.


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