3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)

The 3MT is an international competition for graduate students to explain their research or scholarly/creative projects in standard non-disciplinary English to a general audience (the public) in 3 minutes with the help of only one static PowerPoint slide.

Appalachian's 2019 competition will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 from 1-5 PM. Location: Parkway Ballroom (room 420), Plemmons Student Union

To participate, students must complete the online registration form by noon on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

NOTE: In order to help participants best prepare for this event we will schedule two Presentation Strategies workshops and send out notifications of these workshops soon.  We strongly encourage each participant to sign up for one of the workshops. You will find it most helpful as you prepare to win this competition. 


1)    Currently enrolled graduate student in good standing at Appalachian
2)    The topic must come from a research or scholarly/creative project of significant scope (thesis, dissertation, capstone research, product of learning).  
3)    The topic must be interesting enough to hold the attention of a nonspecialist--think Smithsonian magazine, Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, Dwell.

• One single static PowerPoint slide is permitted - no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description.
• No additional electronic media (e.g., sound or video) are permitted.
• No additional props (e.g., costumes, instruments, equipment) are permitted.
• Competitors exceeding the 3 minutes are disqualified.
• Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, no songs) in English.
• Presentations are considered to have commenced as soon as a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
• Presentations must be aimed at the educated non-specialist; no disciplinary jargon or specialized vocabulary can be used unless the explanation is part of the 3 minutes.

No literature reviews, all presentations must be research in progress or completed research.

Judging:    The competition will be judged by a panel of community, industry, and alumni representatives.   

The winner (and her or his faculty mentor) will be invited to go to Birmingham, Alabama in early March to compete at the regional 3MT competition hosted by the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools! The winner and runner-up(s) will also be honored at the spring Graduate Student Awards reception and mayl travel in May to represent Appalachian at Graduate Education Day in the Capital in Raleigh.


First Place: $750 travel/research award (in addition to an all-expense paid trip for you and your faculty mentor/advisor to compete at the annual conference of CSGS – Council of Southern Graduate Schools -- in Birmingham, AL  2020
Second Place: $500 travel/research award
People’s Choice: $250 travel/research award

Questions?  Please contact Stephanie Hickey, hickeyss@appstate.edu.

Registration Link

Past Winners

Fall 2018

  • First Place: Gita Gajjar, Biology
  • Second Place: Arina Cotuna, Psychology
  • People’s Choice: Amanda Wilkinson, Biology

Fall 2017

  • First Place: Montana Eck, Geography
  • Second Place: Cassandra Smith, Experimental Psychology
  • People’s Choice: Courtney Baines Smith, Educational Leadership

Fall 2016 

  • First Place: Madelyn Sharp, Speech Language Pathology
  • Second Place: Ciera Ferrone, Experimental Psychology
  • People’s Choice: Amanda Hemric, Music Performance

Spring 2016

  • First Place: Reed Gurchiek, Exercise Science
  • Second Place: Stephanie Lichiello, Psychology
  • People’s Choice: Laura Ellis, Biology

Spring 2015

  • First Place: Audrey Brown, Biology
  • Second Place: Courtney Rogers, Psychology
  • People’s Choice: Olumide Awelewa, Health and Exercise Science

Spring 2014

  • First Place: Alex Kirk, Psychology
  • Second Place: Amber Mellon, Mathematics
  • People’s Choice: Scott Hopkins, Technology