Three Minute Thesis Competition

The Three Minute Thesis Competition is an exciting, fast-paced event showcasing the research of graduate students across campus. Each scholar is given three minutes to present their research displayed to the audience and judging panel in a single presentation slide. The competition boasts cash prizes for winners in each category. 

Register for the 3MT competition

Join us for the 2021 Three Minute Thesis competition!

The University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School is pleased to announce the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) will return for the 2021 spring semester. Given the social distancing requirements stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, we seek your input to determine how we will proceed with the competition's format. We ask those who intend to compete in 3MT to submit an intent to compete form in order to identify your preferred presentation mode, either virtually or with limited in-person attendance, following strict COVID-19 guidelines.

You'll be amazed at what these scholars can fit into a three-minute presentation. You don't want to miss this competition! All of our events are free and open to the public. 

Preliminary round

TBA for 2021

  • Three Minute Thesis Preliminary Round for Liberal Arts, Education and Business Doctoral and Master's students
  • Group A1 (Doctoral) and B1 (Master’s)
  • MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC 124)
  • The top contestants in the preliminary round categories receive $300 awards!

TBA for 2021

  • Three Minute Thesis Preliminary Round for STEM and Health Sciences Doctoral and Master’s thesis students
  • Group A2 (Doctoral) and B2 (Master’s)
  • MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC 124)
  • The top contestants in the preliminary round categories receive $300 awards!

Final round

TBA for 2021

  • The top-four ranked contestants advance from preliminaries to the final round!
  • MIKC Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC 124)
  • Awards for final round winners will be $1,000 for 1st place, $600 for 2nd place and $400 for 3rd place.

Learn more about our competition

  • Competition rules and terms


    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 March 15, 2020 at 11:59pm.
  • Judging criteria

    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?
  • View past Three Minute Thesis winners

    View the winners of each year since 2014!

    View past winners

Group A Doctoral Dissertation Category

Rosie Shrout: Social Psychology, "What’s Mine is Yours, and What’s Yours is Mine: How Couples Cope with Chronic Illness"

Second Place: Emily Wood, Social Psychology, "Stigma Toward People Addicted to Opioids: The Intersection of Race, Social Class, and Gender"

Third Place: Mehdi Rahimi, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, "Dip Your Finger in a Bowl of Science"

Group B Master's Thesis Category

First Place: Jamey Wilcher, Natural Resources and Environmental Science, "All That is Gold Does Not Glitter: Crosby's Buckwheat"

Second Place: Lauran Evans, Public Health, Mandate Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination? (Southwest Showdown winner)

Third Place: Haley Moniz, Biology, "Jack of All Trades, or Master of One?"