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3MT at the University of Kansas

Brilliant ideas conveyed in three minutes or less.

What is 3MT®?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. This event challenges graduate students to present a compelling speech about their research and its significance to non-academic persons in just three minutes using only one presentation image. 3MT® commenced in 2008 and is currently held in over 900 universities across more than 85 countries worldwide. In 2020, the 3MT® competition moved to a temporary virtual format due to COVID-19 and continues to be held around the world in either a virtual or live format (depending on local COVID-19 restrictions).

The goals of the competition are to (1) highlight the excellent research conducted by graduate students and (2) improve graduate students’ communication of research to non-specialist and non-academic audiences. The judges of the competition are educated professionals in a variety of positions in corporate, government, and non-profit industries. 

Basic Information for Participants

The 2022 KU 3MT® competition will be held live (in person). 

Participating students will first compete in preliminary heats, which will take place on the first week of November. Top presenters from the heats will be selected by judges to compete in the finals on the second week of November. 

In the finals, judges will select the first place winner ($500) and second place winner ($250), and a People's Choice award winner ($125) will be selected by the audience. The first place presenter will represent KU at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 3MT® Competition.

Application Opens: Monday, September 12, 2022
Application Deadline: Friday, September 30, 2022
3MT® Presentation Workshop: Friday, October 7, 2022 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
KU 3MT® Presentation Slide Submission: Sunday, October 23, 2022 | 11:59 p.m.
KU 3MT® Preliminary Heats: Tuesday, November 1, 2022 | 2 – 4 p.m.
KU 3MT® Finals: Wednesday, November 9, 2022 | 2 – 4 p.m.
KU 3MT® Photo Session for Finalists: Wednesday, November 9, 2022 | 4 – 5 p.m.

  • A participating student must be enrolled in credit hours in a master’s or doctoral program at the University of Kansas for the Fall 2022 semester.
  • A student’s graduate program need not require a thesis or dissertation.
  • A student’s 3MT® presentation topic must cover an original research project that is being conducted as part of the student's graduate program.
  • Students may not give a presentation on research completed as an undergraduate or research completed at another institution.
  • Students are not required to have reached a particular stage in their research, but those who have achieved significant progress in their research are likely to be more competitive.
  • If presenting research that includes sensitive or proprietary information, students should seek approval from their advisor or principal investigator before applying to participate in the competition.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. 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.
  • 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.

Want a leg up on the competition? Consider coming to the 3MT® Presentation Workshop!

Date: Friday, October 7, 2022
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CDT
Venue: Zoom

*An Outlook calendar invitation with the Zoom link will be sent to the those that confirm their participation through the application form.

As you get ready for this workshop, please prepare:

  • A list of 5 or more key words for your presentation
  • An outline of your 3 minute presentation
    • You don’t necessarily have to write it down, but you will practice a version of it in the workshop.
    • This is not something that has to be polished, but you should be able to talk for 3 minutes about your research
  • A draft of your 3MT® PowerPoint slide
    • This is a draft of the 3MT® PowerPoint slide that you plan to use for your presentation.
    • It can be just a sketch of what you expect to present, as it will most likely change after the workshop.
    • You will need to submit your 3MT® PowerPoint slide by Thursday, October 6 at 1:00 p.m. CDT via this form

Even if you are not able to prepare a slide draft prior to the workshop, we encourage you to still attend! This workshop will help sharpen your skills and prepare to present your research in 3 minutes or less!

Judges are educated professionals in a variety of positions in corporate, government, and non-profit industries. Judges will use a 1-10 scale (1 is worst, 10 is best) for two categories that are added together to produce a presenter’s score (20 is highest possible score). Judges’ scores for each presenter are averaged and those with the highest average in the Heats move on to the final round. The Finals will use the same evaluation scale process, and the person with the highest average receives the first place award, while the person with the second-highest average receives the second place award. Also, in the Finals, the audience will vote to determine the People’s Choice award (this person may also win the first or second place award). The two categories of presentation evaluation and their criteria are:

Comprehension and content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience.
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation.
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.


The top presenters in the Heats will earn the option to participate in:

  • Professional head-and-shoulder portrait session.
  • Research spotlight on the Office Graduate Studies social media.


  • 1st Place 

    • $500 award
    • Serve as KU’s representative at the MAGS 3MT® competition (expenses paid for by the Office of Graduate Studies)
  • 2nd Place 
    • $250 award
  • People’s Choice
    • $125 award

First and second place are determined by the judges. Judges are educated professionals in a variety of positions in corporate, government, and non-profit industries. The presentation that receives the most votes from the audience will be selected as the People's Choice award winner. The People's Choice award winner may also be selected by the judges as their first or second place winner.

Rock Chalk

2022 3MT® Competition

Approximately 20 graduate students participated in the 2022 3MT® Competition! To learn more about them and view the presentations for the final round of the competition, click on the button below.

More Information