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3 Minute Thesis Competition

Watch our Spring 2024 3MT Premiere Event!

Faculty Judging Panel: Dr. Candy Noltensmeyer, Dr. Robert Crow, Dr. Charmion Rush, Dr. Dustin Evatt       

Voting for People's Choice closed on Wednesday, February 28 at Noon ET.


  Spring Tuition Award Cash Award
1st Place $500 $500
2nd Place $250 $250
People's Choice $250 $250


3MT Competitors Program
Brandy Burns Psychology  
Cheniqua Arthur  Higher Education Student Affairs
Connor Larmore Biology
Emma Hamilton English
Erin Waddell Experiential & Outdoor Education
Hannah Noel Biology
Kathryn Strickler Communication Sciences & Disorders
Luis Hemmer Business Adminstration
Melissa Rogers Biology
Nicole Cook Biology
Sara Rivera Biology
Tara Hall Biology 




What is a 3MT?

Created at the University of Queensland (Australia), THE 3MT® competition provides graduate students the opportunity to develop their professional presentation and research communication skills. Students do not have to be completing a thesis in order to participate.

This is an opportunity to showcase your graduate thesis, disquisition, project or business plan in a three-minute presentation geared to a general audience using only one slide. Even projects in a preliminary stage can be presented in a three-minute format.

Deadline to register and submit a slide for the Spring 2024 competition was February 14.

If you have any questions about the 3 Minute Thesis Competition, please contact the Graduate School:

Frequently Asked Questions

All WCU graduate students can participate, whether in a residential or distance program.

Yes! All types of professional projects are appropriate topics for a 3MT® presentation—business plans, meta-analyses (watch an example), literature reviews, and original research.

Yes! Preliminary data can be presented in a 3MT® competition. After all, you are presenting for only three minutes. You can provide limited data in that amount of time; just be sure to inform your audience how this data highlights future research. (Watch an example of a 3MT® winner presenting preliminary research.)

3MT® will help you hone an important skill needed as a graduate student and professional. The ability to distill complex information into a short speech with high impact for a lay audience is a valuable skill for all aspects of one’s life.

If that is not reason enough, how about this? The top winner in WCU’s competition will receive a $500 tuition award to be credited to their student account. Second-place and People's Choice winners will each receive a $250 tuition award. The first-place winner will represent WCU at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools regional competition on March 5-7, 2020 in Birmingham, AL (expenses paid).

YouTube has examples of good 3MT® presentations. An effective presentation tells the audience why the research is important, and it hooks the audience early. A metaphor or comparison is also useful for the audience. Be sure to tell the audience what your research reveals, but do not bog them down in the minutia. The Graduate School will provide coaching for students. You can learn more about 3MT® here:

Here are some example presentations related to subject/discipline that might inspire you to participate.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. Slide must be a normal 4:3 size. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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.
  • No notes, cards, or written sheets are allowed.
  • 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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


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?

Previous Winners: Academic Year 22-23

Patterns of Pair Boldness and Mate Recognition for an Urban Population of Song Sparrows

M.S. Biology

Modulating Autophagy with Keratin Biomaterials

M.S. Biology

Welcome to the Vesta Fiesta! Systematic Review of the Firefly Genus Vesta (Laporte 1833)

M.S. Biology


1st Place: Emily Deem 

M.S. Biology

Extraction Efficiency Testing of Degraded Bone Samples: Comparing Four Extraction Methods for Use in Downstream Massively Parallel Sequencing Applications 


2nd Place: Stephanie Cook 

Specialist in School Psychology S.S.P.

H.D.’s Waves: A Modernist Confluence of Literature, Science, and Spirituality

People's Choice: Nicholas Fasanello

Communication Sciences and Disorders M.S.

Reviewing a Framework for Concealable Stigma in Communication Disorders: Addressing Adverse Outcomes and Promoting Inclusion

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