Congratulations to the participants and winners of this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition!

1st Place and $1,000: Taylor Mabe, Nanoscience
2nd Place and $500: Brian Cone, Kinesiology
People’s Choice Award and $250: Leslie Locklear, Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations

Top Ten Finalists: Austin Gray, Biology; Durga Manjari Arvapalli, Nanoscience; Valerie Fricault, Biology; Brian Cone, Kinesiology; Leslie Locklear, Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations; Chelsea Smith, Biology; Oliver Thomas, Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations; Kelly King, Counseling and Educational Development; Taylor Mabe, Nanoscience ; Maggie Kelly, English


In the 3MT competition, graduate students convey the essence and importance of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes and with one Power Point slide.

3MT competitors have come from a variety of departments: Nutrition, Kinesiology, Biology, Counseling and Educational Development, English, Chemistry and Biochemistry, History and others.  They competed, they laughed, and they learned.  Last year’s winner, Jed Diekfuss, represented UNCG in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ regional competition in Annapolis, MD this past March.

The 3MT final competition was held on Thursday, November 9 at UNCG in the Alumni House with a maximum of ten finals competing for the opportunity to win a variety of prizes.  This year’s winners will be awarded: first place ($1,000 plus travel and accommodations to the regional CSGS competition), second place ($500), and people’s choice ($250).

The first Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) was held at The University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its widespread implementation by universities has led to the development of an international competition.  The global reach of the competition can be seen by the extent of participation with universities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Vietnam also hosting local 3MT events.
Skills development for research candidates
The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills, while emphasizing students’ ability to explain their research effectively in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Building research culture throughout the campus
3MT provides a valuable opportunity for students to come together across disciplinary boundaries, get to know one another, and talk about their research. It also provides a supportive environment in which academic programs and the campus at large can provide presentation skills training and feedback.

Building external relations for the university
3MT winners may go on to represent their university at other levels of competition, which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity. Previous 3MT finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of other networking events following their participation in the competition.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the two judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

  • Comprehension & Content: did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Engagement & Communication: did the oration make the audience want to know more?

**UNCG 3MT Judging Rubric**


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Additional Information:

  • The slide must contain the participant’s name and institutional affiliation.
  • It is strongly recommended that you do not use an oversized slide. These are generally wider than the normal PowerPoint slide format and will appear with a white band at the top and bottom.


For examples of winning presentations from around the world, visit

To register to compete in the 2017 3MT Competition at UNCG, please completely fill out the registration form and submit. You will receive a confirmation message.  Once registration has closed, we will contact you with your assigned preliminary round date and time.

UNCG’s 3MT competition is open to currently enrolled master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation students only. Participation will be limited to the first 60 master’s or doctoral students to register.  Any eligible entries received beyond 60 will be put on a waiting list to be reviewed if space becomes available.

If registration has not already closed due to limited space, registration WILL CLOSE on October 11, 2017 at 5pm.

UNCG will hold a maximum of 4 qualifying rounds of 15 students each. These qualifying rounds will take place on Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25 from 10:00-11:30am and 1:30-3:30pm in the EUC, Dogwood Room. Participants will be assigned randomly based on availability.

Ten (10) individuals will be selected from the four qualifying rounds to participate in the final round. The final round will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, November 9th from 2:00-3:30pm in the Alumni House, Virginia Dare Room.  First place ($1,000), second place ($500), and People’s Choice ($250) winners will be selected and announced at the end of the competition on November 9th*.

The first place winner may accompany a representative of UNCG’s Graduate School to the Council of Southern Graduate School’s annual meeting in Fayetteville, AR to compete on Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25, 2018 in the conference’s regional 3MT competition. Please note:  This is dependent on funding and number of registrants CSGS will accept. If an individual is sent from UNCG, The Graduate School at UNCG will provide transportation and lodging.

*For First, Second, and People’s Choice Winners:  The monetary award will be posted to your University student account.  If you have a zero balance when the award posts, the cashier’s office will issue you a refund check for the full amount.  If you have a current balance, your award will pay that balance first and any funds that remain will be issued to you as a refund check.  If you received Federal financial aid in 2017-2018, your loan debt may be reduced by the amount of this award.

The Digital Media Commons

The Digital Media Commons can help you with your technology needs! Visit our desk in the lower level of the library, open seven days a week, for assistance when you need it with questions about multimedia technology. Or, simply use/reserve our spaces to work on your presentation. You can also make an appointment with staff such as if you have questions concerning images that can be used in your slide or new to using PowerPoint. We also have a Presentation Practice Room you can reserve (see the reservation widget on the library homepage) to practice your talk, record your session, watch, and review. Contact or visit our website.

The Digital Act Studio

Want help designing your PowerPoint slide for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition? The Digital ACT Studio can assist you on the effectiveness of your slide presentation. We can provide feedback on whether or not you are effectively reaching your audience, and if your project is rhetorically and aesthetically compelling.

Our consultants are professionally trained to help you create stronger, rhetorically and aesthetically effective digital projects by engaging in one-on-one conversations that focus on shared knowledge and expertise. At the Digital ACT Studio, you can receive feedback on creating appropriate, pedagogically effective PowerPoint slide presentations.

The Digital ACT Studio is open Monday-Wednesday 9am-7pm, Thursday 9am-6pm, and Friday 9am-1pm.  Walk in or schedule a 30 minute or 1 hour appointment today!

For more information about our practices, please visit our website: Contact us at:

The University Speaking Center

The University Speaking Center provides consultation support and instructional workshop services for UNCG students, faculty, employees, and members of the Greensboro community. Our support is designed to help speakers further develop their own oral communication confidence and competence. We provide peer-to-peer feedback, guidance, and other support in the areas of public speaking preparation and delivery, interpersonal communication, and group or team communication.

The Speaking Center is located along with the Writing Center in 3211 MHRA. We are on the third floor. MHRA is on the corner of Forest and Spring Garden – across the street from the Mossman Building.

For more information, please visit:

Our 3MT Winners for 2016!

2016 3MT Winners

1st Place and People’s Choice Award Winner

Jed Diekfuss, Kinesiology
“The Influence of Attentional Focus on Neuroplasticity Following a Seven-Day Balance Training Intervention”
View Presentation

2nd Place

Paula Swindle, Counseling and Educational Development
“Religious Abuse: A Twisting of the Sacred”
View Presentation

“I wanted to thank you for providing this opportunity. Even if I had not been chosen for one of the prizes, I would have considered this an incredibly valuable opportunity to learn the best ways to present my research. It has been a great experience for me!” 
Paula Swindle, PhD Candidate, Counseling and Educational Development

2015 Competition Results

2015 3MT Winners 2

1st Place

Angela Larsen, Biology, PhD program:
“Habitat Changes: Can We Grow Biofuel Feedstocks without Negatively Impacting Wildlife?”
View Presentation

2nd Place

Vincent Sica, Chemistry and Biochemistry, PhD program:
“Accelerating Natural Product Drug Discovery: 6 Weeks to 6 Seconds”

View Presentation

People’s Choice Award

Joseph Ross, History, PhD program:
“Judging Nuremberg: Creating the International Military Tribunal’s Human Rights Legacy in America and Beyond”
View Presentation

2014 Competition Results

1st Place

Matt Marshall
Award – $1,000 + travel and accommodations to compete in the CSGS Conference 3MT Competition in New Orleans

View Video

2nd Place

Rachel Bowman
Award – $500

View Video

People’s Choice Award

Derek Shore
Award – $250

2013 Competition Results

First Place

Connie Albert, Information Systems and Supply Chain Management
“Protecting Children Online: Examining Predatory Behavior and Victimization of Children within Social Media”

Second Place

Stephanie Gardiner-Walsh, Specialized Education Services
“Mild or Unilateral Hearing Loss: Say What?!?”

People’s Choice Award

Michele Pye, Kinesiology
“Comparison of Neuromuscular Control Strategies Between Collegiate Female Dancers and Athletes”

Video of presentations