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Graduate School

Kansas State University's Three Minute Thesis Competition

3MT logo

The Graduate School will host K-State's second annual 3MT® competition in February 2017. Preliminary competitions, or heats, will be held on February 8. Top presenters from each heat will be selected by judges to move forward and compete in the final competition on February 16. From the final competition, a judging panel will select the top two presenters, and a people's choice award winner will be selected by the audience. The first place presenter will represent K-State at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 3MT® Competition in April. 

February 8
College of Business Building
Final Competition
February 16
Alumni Center Banquet Room

3MT winners

About the 3MT® Competition
The 3MT®, first held at The University of Queensland in 2008, is an academic competition that challenges graduate students to present a compelling oration on their thesis/dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes using just one slide. 3MT® celebrates the discoveries made by research students and develops their academic, presentation, and research communication skills.  The competition focuses on the students’ ability to communicate the importance of their research to the broader community. To learn more about the competition history, visit the 3MT® website.
  • must be enrolled as a thesis masters or doctoral student at Kansas State University
  • must not graduate prior to the Spring 2017 semester
  • the subject of the 3MT® presentation must be the student's thesis/dissertation research
  • students are not required to have reached a particular point in their thesis or dissertation work, but those who are at least halfway through their program are likely to be more competitive
  • graduate students must receive approval from their major professor prior to registering for the competition
  • the first place winner from the previous year's competition is not eligible to compete this year; the second place and people's choice award winners are eligible to participate again this year
Rules and Requirements
  • present a compelling oration of your thesis/dissertation topic and its significance using language appropriate to a non-specialist audience
  • presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs)
  • time limit: 3 minutes. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • prepare a single, static PowerPoint slide that represents the purpose and importance of your thesis/dissertation; no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any type are allowed; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration
  • props, sounds, and other materials may NOT be included in the presentation
  • presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech
  • the decision of the judging panel is final

Registration Deadline: January 27, 2017, 5:00pm CST

Slide Submission: Upon completing registration, you will be provided a link to a Slide Submission Form. You must submit your PowerPoint slide by 5:00pm on February 3, 2017. **Slides WILL NOT be accepted after this deadline. If you do not submit your slide by the deadline, you will be withdrawn from the competition.** 

Resources for Preparing a Successful 3MT® Presentation

Below are some resources we encourage presenters to use as they prepare for their 3MT® presentation.

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Note that the common theme among the judging criteria is the impact of the presentation on the audience.


The following will be awarded to the top presenters in the final competition on February 8:

  • 1st place - $500 scholarship, serve as K-State’s representative at the MAGS 3MT® competition
  • 2nd place - $250 scholarship
  • People’s choice - $125 scholarship

The presentation that receives the most votes from the audience will be selected as the people's choice award winner. The people's choice award winner may also be selected by the judges as their first or second place winner. 

K-State's 2016 3MT winners
  • First placeRyan Schmid – Entomology, PhD – Hessian Fly Smart-Trap Design and Deployment Strategies
  • Second placeBondy Kaye – Mass Communications, MS – Same Song, New Dance: Competition and Market Structure in the Digital Music Aggregation Industry
  • People's choiceJere Noel – Animal Science, MS Utilizing Electromyography to Identify Causes of Fatigue in Pigs

Miss the show? Watch the full show below.


Sponsorship: The Kansas State University Three Minute Thesis Competition is sponsored by the Graduate School, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the University Distinguished Professors Group.

Questions about the Kansas State University Graduate School’s 3MT® competition may be directed to Megan Miller, Project Coordinator of Student Services, mmmiller@ksu.edu or 785-532-6191.