Three Minute Thesis


Welcome To 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 visit the Three Minute Thesis website.

Competition Overview


  • 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 three minutes and competitors exceeding three 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 an 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 non-specialist 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.

Finalists: March 2021

Mutha Vinayak Thyagarajan: If it Can’t be Grown, it Has to be Mined

Kasra Taghikhani: Keeping Batteries Fit and Healthy!

Laura Leonard: Drinking Climate Change

Rajat Gangrade: Tools Bore and Wear Away

Sepideh Kianbakht: Huge Scale Wind Turbine

Kejun Chen: How to Make a Solar Cell “Taste” Better

Brittnee Halpin: A New Water Filter for Highway Pollution

Questions?  Please contact: 

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




Alderson Hall, Suite 451
Golden, CO 80401

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2019 Winners

WINNER: Rania Pommer
“Rock(s)…don’t fall, they break up”

RUNNER UP: Dylan Jennings
Designing Nove Materials for Efficient Hydrogen Production

WINNER: Rania Pommer
“Rock(s)…don’t fall, they break up”