Please review the IUP Three Minute Thesis frequently asked questions for details about this competition. 

What is Three Minute Thesis (3MT)?

3MT® is a competition founded by the University of Queensland, Australia in 2008. It asks students to “cultivate [their] academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience” (

How does the competition work?

Graduate students have exactly three minutes to succinctly and accurately describe their thesis/dissertation/research project to a group of judges who are not familiar with their research topics, utilizing only one static, non-animated PowerPoint slide to assist them as a visual aid. The top competitors from the preliminary round will advance to a final competition to determine the overall winner.

What do these competitions look like? Are there any examples of competitions?

Yes, you can visit the official Three Minute Thesis site to view videos from past competition winners at other universities.

How do I state my intent to participate in this event?

If you would like to take part in this competition, sign up using the InfoReady application by this year's deadline.

What do I do in preparation for the event (after I state my intent to participate)?

Check your email regularly after you declare your intent to participate. You will receive a Qualtrics survey to schedule your competition time window on March 2. We will have morning and afternoon time slots available. You will also receive an email with instructions and deadlines for sending your PowerPoint slide for the competition.

What should the PowerPoint slide look like?

The slide should include legible text and images, if desired. Competitors may present just one, static, non-animated slide without video or audio.

Are there prizes for this competition?

Yes. Two prizes are available: the top-ranked judges award and the peer choice award.

Who can participate?

Any currently enrolled graduate student at IUP whose degree ends in a thesis, dissertation, or culminating project can participate in the competition.

At what stage in my graduate career can I participate? Do I need to be close to finishing my degree?

You do not need to have your thesis, dissertation, or culminating research project completed in order to participate in this event. As long as you have your topic for your project, you are invited to take part in this competition.

I am in my program's non-thesis track. Can I still participate?

Yes, you may still participate in this event. You can choose to present your culminating research project for this competition instead of a thesis or dissertation

What if I cannot attend the competition in person? How can I participate?

We have a limited number of videoconference spots available exclusively to students enrolled at the Pittsburgh East or Dixon University Center campuses, or in an online-only or summers-only program.

Can I participate in both the Scholars Forum and the Three Minute Thesis competition?

Yes, you can present a poster or oral presentation at the Scholars Forum and still also compete in the Three Minute Thesis event. In fact, it is our hope that graduate students will participate in both the Scholars Forum and the Three Minute Thesis.

Can I present a past research project, or my thesis if I am a current doctoral student?

The presentation should cover research that you are currently working on only, not something you have done in the past.

Can I present on research I am conducting for/with a faculty member as part of their larger research project?

The research presented should be your own original research for your thesis, dissertation, or culminating project, not research conducted for a faculty member.