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 and the opportunity to compete in a regional competition.

Join us for the Three Minute Thesis competition!

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

Monday, March 25th 7 pm-9 pm

  • 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!

Tuesday, March 26th 7 pm-9pm

  • 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

Thursday, April 18, 2019 7-9pm

  • 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.

We're hosting the Southwest Showdown 3-Minute slam!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27 from 3-5pm!

The final round competition will be a major campus event that will include food, refreshments and live music preceding the competition. 3MT@NEVADA provides a great opportunity to showcase our best graduate student research to the public, NGOs and the private sector, including potential employers and donors to graduate students and graduate programs.  Light snacks will again be provided, as well as tickets for one beer/glass of wine for registered participants and a cash bar.

  • Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Southwest Showdown & Career and Networking Social with Reno Industry representatives
  • University of Nevada Reno finalists, University of Nevada Las Vegas finalists, Northern Arizona University finalists
  • Wells Fargo Auditorium (Room 124), Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center (MIKC) from 3-5pm

R.S.V.P. for Networking Event at the Southwest Showdown

Be a part of our competition

  • Join our competition

    Preliminary round

    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

    Final round

    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

  • 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 TBA for 2019.
  • 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

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"

Second Place: Vicki Thill, Biology "Untangling the Strands of Venom Resistance in Reptiles"

Second Place: Vicki Thill, Biology "Untangling the Strands of Venom Resistance in Reptiles"