CPSA Prize for the Graduate Student Three-Minute Thesis Competition


Terms of Reference | Annex I

Graduate Student Three-Minute Thesis - Terms of Reference


  1. The CPSA Programme Committee (the Committee) will award the CPSA Prize for the Graduate Student Three-Minute Thesis Competition (the prize) every year.
  2. The Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Its principles and main guidelines will be applied to the prize competition.
  3. In the implementation of these Terms of Reference, the Committee shall act through and be represented by the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice Section.
  4. Eligible contestants are MA or PhD students who have made substantial progress on their thesis research and analysis. Term papers or other graduate work is not eligible.
  5. A presentation that has been submitted to the prize cannot be submitted to the same prize in a subsequent year.
  6. Instructions on “Deadlines,” “Who Can Submit,” “Submissions from Student Members,” “Number of Proposals,” “Submission to a Specific Section,” “Official Languages,” and “Types of Proposals,” are included in the CPSA Annual Call for Proposals.
  7. Contestants must be members of the CPSA in the year the presentation is considered for the prize. The membership fee must be received at the CPSA Secretariat by the early registration deadline, which usually falls on March 31.
  8. The Committee shall be responsible for the administration and granting of the prize. This responsibility includes ensuring the regular granting of the prize, the integrity of the adjudication process, and publicity surrounding the granting of the prize.
  9. The selection of the recipient of the prize will be the responsibility of the Committee. In making the award, the Committee will seek the recommendation of the Prize Jury (jury) that will preside over the competition’s Finals (see ANNEX I).
  10. The jury will:
    • be appointed by the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice Section;
    • consist of three non-expert members (e.g., politicians, journalists, elected officials, senior public officials). At least two jury members should be able to read and to interact in French;
    • be responsible for nominating the recipient of the prize;
    • should feel free to recommend that no prize be given if in their view no presentation worthy of the prize is made.
  11. The initial rounds or “heats” of the competition will be presided over by a Preliminary Jury composed of two political scientists appointed by the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice Section. At least one jury member should be able to read and to interact in French.
  12. Jury members can sit on the jury for up to two consecutive years.
  13. See “ANNEX” for contestants’ instructions, details about the competition during the Annual Conference, and judging criteria.
  14. A jury member of the juries mentioned in sections 9 and 11 shall not judge a presentation if he/she stands to gain monetarily from the outcome of the decision or is in any way related to any contestants.
  15. At any time during the jury deliberations, any jury member of the preliminary jury mentioned in section 11 who considers that he or she has a conflict of interest (for example, the jury member is the contestant’s thesis supervisor or is judging the work of a student in his or her department, a co-author or a former student) shall remove himself or herself from the jury, and a substitute shall be appointed by the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice section.
  16. The awards will be organized and coordinated by the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice section with the competition’s sponsors and academic presses. The winner will receive a grant for an amount of money to be determined. The winner and the runners-up will receive gift cards, which are typically donated by academic presses.
  17. The awards will be presented at the conference and the winner and runners-up will be announced on the CPSA Web site.
  18. The Committee, in consultation with the CPSA Secretariat, will oversee the implementation of the prize process.


ANNEX I - CPSA Prize for the Graduate Student Three-Minute Thesis Competition INSTRUCTIONS – JUDGING CRITERIA


  1. Contestants:
    • are expected to prepare a three-minute presentation for the juries -contestants exceeding the three-minute maximum will be disqualified;
    • should note that they will present their graduate research in three minutes to a jury composed of non-experts (Finals). Therefore, presentations should be accessible, engaging and adhere to rules of plain language (click HERE to see winning and runner-up presentations in previous competitions);
    • are allowed to use one static PowerPoint slide to augment their verbal presentations (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description) -no additional electronic media (e.g. sound or video files) are permitted or props are permitted;
    • must be available to present in both initial rounds or “heats” of the competition (usually “Heat 1” and “Heat 2,” to be held during the first two days of the conference) as well as the final competition (the “Finals,” to be held on the last day of the conference);
    • must email to the CPSA Secretariat one week prior to the conference start date the following information:
      • a message indicating if they authorize the CPSA to video-tape their presentations during the “Finals,” and to post them on the CPSA Web site after the conference
      • a written summary (maximum of 300 words) of their presentations in both French and English to circulate to jury members
  2. The maximum number of heats will be four, with the number of contestants in each heat and the number of preliminary juries determined by the number of submissions and the discretion of the chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice section. Usually, four contestants participate in the “Finals.”
  3. The Preliminary Jury (or juries) for the initial rounds or heats, and the Prize Jury for the Finals, will use a judging rubric that follows the criteria of the official 3MT™ of the University of Queensland to assess the presentations.
  4. The judging rubric:
    • assesses two areas: a) Comprehension and Content, and b) Engagement and Communication Style;
    • is composed of twelve questions graded on a scale of 0 (non-compliance) to 5 (outstanding).
  5. The Preliminary Jury (or juries) for the initial rounds or heats will have a brief period after presentations are delivered to complete their judging rubrics.
  6. One jury member is responsible for the initial tabulation of the scores, and a second jury member confirms the tabulation is correct.  
  7. The contestant with the highest score will participate in the Finals. If at all possible, the jury should choose the finalist(s) by consensus. If the jury is unable to reach a consensus, the chair of the Teaching and Professional Practice presiding the heat will join the jury, and majority vote will determine the finalist(s).
  8. The Prize Jury for the Finals:
    • will not deliberate on the presentations;
    • will have a brief period after presentations are delivered to complete their judging rubrics.
  9. One jury member is responsible for the initial tabulation of the scores, and a second jury member confirms the tabulation is correct.  
  10. The contestant(s) with the highest score will win the competition.
  11. The chair or co-chairs of the Teaching and Professional Practice section must email:
    • the name of the winner and runners-up to the CPSA Secretariat as soon as the competition is over;
    • a 100-word citation to be posted as the “Excerpt from jury report” on the CPSA Web site (click HERE to see previous prize citations) one week after the conference at the latest.