Three Minute Thesis


    The Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) competition is a collaborative effort between the University of Louisville Graduate School PLAN graduate student professional development and the Graduate Student Council. Graduate students who participate in 3MT develop vital skills for success in their career inside or outside academia, including presentation and research communication skills. By participating, graduate students have the opportunity to practice effectively explaining their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

     See the Fall 2023 Winners of the UofL 3MT Competition!


    The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2010.Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.


    Important Information

    1. Prizes

    2. Participation Eligibility

    3. Competition Information

    4. Virtual Competition Rules

    5. Participation Instructions

    6. Judging Criteria

    7. Resources

    8. Questions or More Information



    First Place: $500 professional development funds, and free Conference of Southern Graduate Schools attendance and participation (to complete with other regional 3MT competitors)

    Runner Up: $250 professional development funds

    People's Choice: $100 professional development funds


    Participation Eligibility

    Active doctoral and masters students are eligible to participate in UofL's 3MT Competition. Doctoral students who have successfully completed the dissertation proposal defense (PhD candidate status) and are actively in the dissertation stage of training are eligible to compete for the First Place and Runner Up Prizes, while all graduate students are eligible to compete for the People's Choice prize. 


    Fall 2023 Competition Information


    Tuesday, September 5

    Registration Now Closed.


    September 15, 1-2pm

    Information and Interest Session


    Wednesday, September 27, 3-4:30pm

    3MT Preparation Session: How to Pitch Yourself


    Monday, October 2, 3:30-4:30

    Information and Interest Session


    Monday, October 16, 11:59pm

    Registration Deadline*

    Registration is now closed. 

    Wednesday, October 25

    Finalists Announced


    Monday, October 30, 2-3pm

    Finalists Information Session* (In-Person)

    Registrants will be contacted separately.

    Wednesday, November 1, by 5pm

    All Final Materials to Michelle


    Friday, November 3, 2-4pm

    Final 3MT Competition*


    *Required Components

    Competition Rules 

    • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).

    • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
    • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
    • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
    • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
    • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
    • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
    • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


    Participation Instructions

    1. Complete the registration HERE by Monday, October 16, 2023.
    2. A participants will be required to meet the deadlines included in the chart above. 


    Judging Criteria

    Comprehension & Content

    • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
    • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
    • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
    • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
    • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
    • 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 & Communication

    • 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?



    3MT Competitor Guide

    How Graduate Students Can Effectively Tell Their Research Story

    All in Three: How to Pitch Your PhD in 180 Seconds

    Common Strategies Toward a Successful 3MT Presentation (video)

    3MT: Three Tips to Help You Prepare a Winning Presentation

    3MT: Three Most Common Mistakes

    Sample 3MT Coaching Session


    Questions and More Information

    Do you still have questions? Contact Dr. Michelle Rodems, Director for Professional Development, Retention, and Success for more information. 

    Congratulations to the Finalists and Winners of the Fall 2023 3MT Competition!

    First Place: ($500 award, attendance at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools)

    "Epidural Stimulation as a Treatment for Sexual Dysfunction After Spinal Cord Injury"

    Runner Up: ($250 award)

    “Can Data Save Lives? A Case for Examining the Timing of Prenatal Care in Kentucky"

    People's Choice: ($100 award)

    “Asparaginase as a Successful Treatment for Acute Leukemia in Children" 



     “Where the Grass is Greener: Assessing Different Types                      "Postpartum Depression: The (Un)seen and (Un)spoken Side of Motherhood"
    of Urban Greenspaces in Louisville"


    “A Vision of Fear"                                                                                       "The Role of AI in Preventing the Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration"


    "Building Stars From Gas: The Life and Evolution of Galaxies"            "Genes: Crystal Ball for Your Future Health"


    "Looking into the Starry (and Dusty) Night"                                            "Leveraging Diversity in Paranormal Edutainment"


     “Unveiling the Hidden Reality: Domestic Violence                                 "A Study of Bee-Honeycomb Inspired Novel Bi-Material Cellular 

    Among Women"                                                                                            Mechanical Interface"

    See Previous Winners of UofL 3MT Competitions!