Three Minute Thesis at Nevada

A Graduate Student Competition

Journalism Student Presenter

One scholar.

One slide.

One panel of judges.

And three minutes to give it all they've got.

We can't wait to see what innovative research presentations are in store for us this year.

Please check back this winter for upcoming submission and presentation dates for the 2019 Three Minute Thesis competition.

The top four contestants from groups A1, B1, A2, B2 will be awarded $300 and will compete in the final round. Submit your presentation using the appropriate Group description link below.

Liberal Arts/Education/Business

Sciences/Engineering/Mathematics/Health Sciences

Please note, the Professional category has been eliminated. Any presentations that were submitted as Professional are now considered B1.

In the final round you'll compete against the eight finalists at your degree level:

  • Group A — Doctoral Students (Four students from A1 and four students from A2)
  • Group B — Master's Students (Four students from B1 and four students from B2)

Winners from each group of the final round will be awarded as follows:
First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $600
Third Place: $400


  1. A single, static PowerPoint slide in 16x9 format is required (pdfs not allowed).
  2. Include your presentation title, full name, and graduate program on the slide.
  3. First-place winners from the last year's 3MT competition are ineligible to compete, however last year's second- and third-place winners are eligible to compete.
  4. No slide transitions, animations or on-screen movement of any description are allowed.
  5. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  6. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  7. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  8. Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  9. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  10. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  11. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  12. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  13. All monetary awards for both preliminary and final rounds are pre-tax amounts.


  1. Abstracts are limited to 250 words.


  1. Students must be graduate students to enter the competition.
  2. While advancement to candidacy is not required, students must have made significant progress towards completion of their dissertation, thesis, or professional project in order to enter the competition.
  3. Winners will be announced approximately one week after the competition.
  4. You will be asked to sign a photo-video release at the event to allow the University of Nevada, Reno to use your likeness in photos/videos of the competition.
  5. The deadline for competition registration is TBA for 2019.

Comprehension & 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 & 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?

Congratulations to our 2018 Winners!

Thank you to all of our participants in the 2018 competition and to everyone who attended the presentations. We are so proud of our graduate students and the research impacts they are making for the world.

Group A Doctoral Dissertation Category

First Place and People's Choice:
Robert del Carlo, Pharmacology
"Love Evol: Charting Evolution's Wandering Walk"

Second Place:
Vanessa Gutierrez, Cell and Molecular Biology
"Let's Go Viral"

Third Place:
Kat Lambrecht, Rhetoric and Composition
"Cracking the Code: Using Shared Values to Communicate Across Disciplines"

Group B Master's Thesis Category

First Place:
Valentina Alaasam, Biology

"Night Light = Stress and No Rest"

Second Place:
Vicki Thill, Biology

"Untangling the Strands of Venom Resistance in Reptiles"

Third Place:
Cordelia Alexander-Leeder, Public Health Epidemiology
"Effects of Mental Health Exposure Factors on the Prevalence of Postpartum Depression"

See the winners' videos from previous years.