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.

In 2022, Mines will host a university-level contest in March, and then send the winner to represent us in a state-wide competition in April.

Interested in participating? Check out the information below and view past successful talks from graduate students around the world here: https://threeminutethesis.uq.edu.au/watch-3mt


  • 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.

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).
  • 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.
  • Presentations will be given live via Zoom, using a format in which the speaker and their slide are visible side-by-side on the audience/judges’ screens.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


Judging Criteria

At each competitive event, a panel of 3-5 judges (e.g. faculty, staff, university leaders and graduate students) will evaluate each talk based on the following criteria. Peoples’ Choice awards (voted by audience members) are also given.

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?


Mines competition:

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

Statewide competition: To be announced; prizes will be similar at state level and university level.


  • We will hold workshops/practice sessions on Thursday, Feb 24, 4:00-5:30 PM; Tuesday, Mar 1, 12:00-1:30 PM and Wednesday, March 2, 4:30-6:00 PM
  • Each participant should plan to attend at least one of these
  • First round contest at Mines: Thursday, March 10 via Zoom 5:00-7:00 PM
  • Final contest at Mines: Wednesday, March 16 via Zoom 5:00-6:30 PM – Register as an attendee to support your peers AND vote on an Audience Choice Award! 3MT Contest – 3/16 Audience
  • Statewide contest: April 8, 1:00-2:00 PM via Zoom



Coming Soon – TBD 

Questions?  Please contact: wdelesha@mines.edu 

Cosponsored by Graduate Student Government (GSG), and The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS)

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