Effectively Explain Your Research

Friendly Competition

Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by thesis-based graduate students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.


  • Active Doctoral and Thesis based candidates are eligible to participate.  A competitive candidate should have a well conceived dissertation or thesis project, compelling data collected, and a novel story to share. Graduates of Colorado School of Mines are not eligible.
  • All competitors must be able to attend each competition in person.  No exceptions will be made.
  • Video’s from the first round must be made by the Trefny Center, other submissions will result in disqualification.

Competition Rules

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.  A single static slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description).
  • The video will be filmed at the 3MT specific set in the Arthur Lakes Library, and will be filmed from a static position.
  • The 3 minute video must be continuous – no edits, breaks etc.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, animated backgrounds) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


Judging Criteria

 Engagement and 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?


Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide and 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 conclusion 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 nonspecialist 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 the presentation- or did he/she elaborate for too long on one aspect  or was the presentation rushed?


  • Winner: $1,000
  • Runner-up: $500
  • People’s Choice Winner: $250
  • Top 10: $50


Round 1: Registration Has Now Closed

Competitors had the opportunity to participate by creating a video submission in the Trefny Center/Hive, during the following dates:

February 11th to March 8th

The competitors that were selected to move on to the next round were notified on March 21st.

Round 2: Students selected from Round one will compete in a live 3 minute thesis presentation. Students and faculty are welcome to attend.

    • Date: April 5th
    • Time: 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
    • Location: Arthur Lakes Library, Boettcher Room.

Round 3: The finalists from round 2 will compete in a live 3 minute thesis presentation.  Three individuals will be selected from the contestants.

    • Date: April 18th
    • Time: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
    • Location: Student Center, Grand Ballrooms

The contestants for this round are:

  • Jasmin Honegger – Low Back Pain 
  • Jake Kurzweil – Snowmelt Response to Forest Fire Mitigation Strategies
  • Rania Pommer – “Rock[s]… don’t fail, they break up”
  • Diego Medina – Gold Recovery by Cyanide Leaching from Future Tailings
  • Dylan Jennings – Designing Novel Materials for Efficient Hydrogen Production

Questions?  Please contact: 3MT@mines.edu

Cosponsored by Arthur Lakes Library, Graduate Student Government, and The Office of Graduate Studies

Winner: Rania Pommer

“Rock[s]… don’t fail, they break up

Runner up: Dylan Jennings

Designing Novel Materials for Efficient Hydrogen Production

People’s Choice: Rania Pommer 

“Rock[s]… don’t fail, they break up”

Spring 2018 3MT Images