Pitch Your Senior Thesis Competition 2021

What: The Harvard College Writing Center invites seniors from all concentrations to share a three-minute speech about their thesis research with an audience of non-specialists. Because we can’t hold our annual Three-Minute Thesis competition on campus this spring, we’re inviting seniors to submit video presentations.

Who: All seniors who wrote a thesis this year are eligible to participate.

When: Submissions are due Wednesday, April 28 at 5 p.m. EDT.  Winners will be announced in early May.

How to prepare


  • Get help translating the main points of your thesis into a speech: Writing Center tutors are available by appointment to provide feedback as you craft a compelling and concise presentation of your argument.

  • Get help with your presentation: Peer speaking tutors are  available by appointment to consult on your presentation skills. Work with a Peer Speaking Tutor to polish your presentation skills. Or schedule a tech consult to get tips on video recording.
  • Get media help from the Bok Center Learning Lab!

Why participate in the Pitch Your Thesis video competition?


  • Share your senior thesis research with an audience of non-specialists.

  • Get feedback to improve your presentation (and video recording!) skills.
  • Finalists will have their videos showcased on the Writing Program and Harvard College Writing Center website.
  • Win a cash prize.

Submission Guidelines


  • Presentations must be NO LONGER than 3 minutes.

  • Videos should be recorded in a single take. (Post production edits should be limited to removal of unwanted footage at the beginning and end of a video.)
  • The presenter should be seated in front of a solid background, with the camera positioned at eye level or slightly above.
  • Please submit a single static PowerPoint slide along with the video (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description). This slide should illustrate some aspect of your speech.
  • No additional electronic media (sound and video files) are permitted.
  • A submission form and video should be uploaded by on Wednesday, April 28.

Judging Criteria (Adopted from the 3MT Competition)


Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
  • Engagement


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


$100 (1st prize); $50 (2nd prize); and $25 (3rd prize)


  • Can I enter with something other than a thesis? No. This event is only for thesis writers.
  • Can I enter with my creative thesis? If you wrote a senior thesis, you can enter, no matter the topic or concentration. But please note, you cannot read excerpts from your thesis. You must give a presentation about your thesis.
  • Do I have to sign-up for a session with a peer tutor/speaking tutor/Bok center in order to submit a video? No. But we recommend it!
  • Where can I see sample videos? Check out last year’s 3MT finalists and prize winners here.

Questions? Email us.