Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

April 21st, 2020 LOEB Playhouse 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. The competition develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of students' capacities to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but nonspecialist audience.

During each competition, graduate students will have three minutes to present a compelling discussion on their research topic, including its significance and relevance, to the general public. 3MT® is not an exercise in trivializing or "dumbing down" research, instead forcing competitors to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries. This is a fast-paced competition where the top 10 finalists compete by summarizing their two to three-plus years of research in only three minutes with only one slide. 

3MT® at Purdue

Currently enrolled graduate students in all disciplines at Purdue University will be eligible to participate in 3MT®. Work presented must have been conducted at Purdue University, not from a previous degree, and should be in the final stages so you have some sound conclusions and impacts from your research. Graduates are not eligible.

Purdue holds its annual 3MT® competition early each spring. It is a celebration of the discoveries made by graduate students and will allow the broader community to learn about ongoing research at Purdue. It is free and open to the public. Cash awards, which are presented at an annual banquet, are given for winners, runners-up and People's Choice Award winners. The cash awards include:

  • $2,000 for the winner
  • $1,000 for the runner-up
  • $1,000 for the People's Choice Award winner

A panel of judges will select the first- and second-place winners, while the People's Choice Award will be selected by the audience.

Preparatory workshops are often available to those interested in participating. For more information, please contact competition administrators.


Please see below for a complete list of rules for the annual Purdue 3MT® competition.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any description).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments or laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum, and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.
  • All presentations will be videotaped and will appear on the graduate school 3MT® website.

Each 3MT® presentation will be judged based on communication style, comprehension, and engagement. Please view our archive of video presentations made by past winners.


Register for 3MT
  • All contestants must compete in the 3MT preliminary round to be able to qualify for the final round. In order to fit all the participants into the schedule, it is necessary to hold the preliminary round over a two week period: March 30 - April 3 and April 6-10.  Each prelim participant will receive constructive feedback from a panel of judges. 
  • All participants will be notified by 5:00 pm on Monday, April 13, 2020 whether or not they have been selected to compete in the final round of competition.
  • All finalists will have an opportunity to edit their slides and presentation before the final competition.
  • All finalists must attend the rehearsal Monday, April 20, 2020 in Loeb Playhouse at 6:30 pm.
  • The Top 10 finalists must compete in the Final Round of the 3MT Competition on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 in LOEB Playhouse from 7:00 pm- 9:00 pm. 

    Assistance to prepare for 3MT: Please check the Graduate School's website for a series of workshops designed to help improve communication skills.  These workshops are also a great way to prepare for the 3MT competition.  All 3MT participants are encouraged to attend the workshops.  To register for any of the workshops, please visit the Grad School workshop registration page:

Schedule for Final 3MT Competition: Tuesday, April 21, 2020

 7:00- 7:15 p.m.: Welcome!

7:15- 8:15 p.m.: 3MT Competition 

8:15- 8:30 p.m.: Judges Deliberate & Say It In 6 Competition Winners Announced 

8:30- 9:00 p.m.: Reception, Sponsored By Purdue University's President's Council 

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