Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT)

The 3MT is a competition for graduate students in which they explain their research or scholarly/creative projects in jargon-free language to a general "lay" audience in three minutes with the help of only one static PowerPoint slide.

Appalachian's 2021 competition is being pushed back and will be held on January 21, 2022. To participate, students must complete the online registration form by October 28, 2021.

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. Workshop dates are TBA.


  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, National Geographic, 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 minute limit will be disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., 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.

All presentations must reflect research in progress or completed research; literature reviews alone are not acceptable.

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

REGISTRATION LINK  Registration must be completed by 11:59 pm on October 28. 


First Place: $600 travel/research award
Second Place: $400 travel/research award
People’s Choice: $250 travel/research award

Questions?  Please contact Stephanie Hickey,


Fall 2020

  • First Place: Blair Anderes, Athletic Training
  • Second Place: Sarah Hill, Biology
  • People's Choice: Celia Whisman, Experimental Psychology

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