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 2020 competition will be held on Friday, October 30, 2020 from 1-3 PM. Location: https://appstate.zoom.us/j/97339103780?pwd=eHNWOWRTL0IxRXFEcThyRHZ2L1Jodz09

To participate, students must complete the online registration form by October 16, 2020, 12noon.

NOTE: In order to help participants best prepare for this event we will schedule two Presentation Strategies workshops and send out notifications.  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.  Our first workshop is scheduled for October 13, 2020 at 12noon.  Importatnt due dates:

Powerpoint slides are due on October 22, 2020 at 11:59pm. 

3MT recorded videos using Zoom platform are due on October 26, 2020 at 11:59pm.


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.  For your recording, this can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute

• 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.  See these award winning presentations for examples.

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

Judging:    The competition will be judged by a panel of faculty, community, industry, and alumni representatives.   Competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Follow this link for tips on 3MT best practices.

Research Awards:

First Place: $750 travel/research award 
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 2019

  • First Place:  Jimmy Wyngaarden, Experimental Psychology

  • Second Place:  Jen Tinsley, Excercise Science

  • People's Choice:  Imani Dillon, Marriage and Family Therapy

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