Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Can you explain your research in three minutes?

The UND Three Minute Thesis (3MT) celebrates research being done by students at the University of North Dakota. The competition cultibates students' academic, presentation and research communication skills, as each must effectively explain their research in three minutes with only one PowerPoint slide.

3MT logo



Three Minute Thesis Competition

January 23, 2019 | 9:00am - 4:00 p.m.
Memorial Union: Ballroom

There will be four heats with seven students per heat, with the top two from each heat moving on to the Finals.

The finalists from the preliminary competition will compete again and be rated by the audience for the “Peoples Choice” award. Judges will select First and Second Place.

This year’s overall winner (first place) will continue on to the regional competition hosted by the Western Association of Graduate Schools’ annual meeting held next year( 2019) in Tucson, Arizona. 

2018 Winners

  • 1st place: Ian Foerster
  • 2nd place: Ryan Menath
  • People's Choice: Ian Foerster


  • Spoken word
  • Three minutes or less
  • Movement/gestures
  • Formal/professional clothing
  • Commence from the stage
  • A single static PowerPoint

Not Permitted (Will Disqualify)

  • Poems, raps or songs
  • Exceeding three minutes
  • Props (pointers, instruments, lab equipment)
  • Costumes
  • Slide transitions, animations, sound, or video

Presentations commence when the presenter begins through movement or speech. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

The Panel

Each competitor will be assessed by three to five judges balanced by age, gender, academic/professional positions, and discipline. Judges may not participate in scoring for one of the heats when there is a conflict of interest, including 1) knowing one of the competitors, or, 2) having expertise in one of the presented topics

Judging Criteria

Comprehension and Content

Did the presenter:

  • Provide an understanding of the background to the research and its significance?
  • Clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Communicate in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience (for thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes)?
  • Avoid jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background info to illustrate points?
  • Spend adequate time on each presentation element - or was it too long on one aspect or was it rushed?

Engagement and Communication

Did the presenter:

  • Make the audience want to know more?
  • Take care not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Have a slide that enhanced the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

2018 Competitors

  • Peter Brandt, Geography
  • Lauren Clarke, Chemical Engineering - FINALIST
  • Ian Foerster, Chemical Engineering - 1ST PLACE & PEOPLE'S CHOICE
  • Peter Halcrow, Biomedical Sciences
  • Catherine Kohs, English
  • Ning Li, Earth Systems Science and Policy
  • Chris Mark, Experimental Psychology - FINALIST
  • Ryan Menath, History - 2ND PLACE
  • Kayla Michelson, Biology
  • Intisar Rizwanihaque, Biomedical Engineering
  • Afshin Shabani, Earth Systems Science and Policy
  • Muneer Shaik, Chemistry
  • Madina Sultanova, Physics and Astrophysics - FINALIST
  • Trevor Waagen, Counseling program - FINALIST
  • Susanne Watts, History
  • Paul Wren, Space Studies - FINALIST
  • Jin Zhang, Geology and Geological Engineering - FINALIST

2017 Competitors

  • David Apostal, Computer Science
  • Kristen Black, Biology
  • Carolyn Broner, Special Education
  • Nick Cilz, Biomedical Sciences
  • Lauren Clark, Chemical Engineering
  • Sara Faraji Jalal Apostal, Computer Science
  • Matt Fuka, Mechanical Engineering
  • Brooke Hagenhoff, Atmospheric Sciences
  • Laurie Johansen, Nursing
  • Ted Krmpotich, Clinical Psychology
  • Rain Li, Chemistry
  • Kouqi Liu, Petroleum Engineering
  • Kavya Manyapu, Space Studies
  • Sean McCloat, Space Studies
  • Talus McCowan, Biomedical Sciences
  • Riley McGlynn, Biology
  • Robeam Melaku, Civil Engineering
  • Adnan Quadri, Electrical Engineering
  • Mohsen Riahimanesh, Electrical Engineering
  • Roy Roach, Higher Ed
  • Charles Schneider, Biomedical Engineering
  • Reem Shadid,Biomedical Engineering
  • Bahareh Shoghli, Civil Engineering
  • Bridget Tetteh-Batsa, English
  • Hannes van der Watt, Chemical Engineering

Eight finalists will receive an award certificate suitable for framing.


$500 | First Place

In addition, this year’s overall winner (first place) will continue on to the regional competition hosted by the Western Association of Graduate Schools’ annual meeting held this year in Las Vegas, Nev.

"Graduate Education in a Changing Landscape"
60th Annual WAGS Meeting
March 18–21, 2018
Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada

$250 | Second Place

$100 | People’s Choice

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is proudly co-sponsored by UND School of Graduate Studies and the Division of Research & Economic Development. 3MT® is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland.