The Fifth Annual Three Minute Thesis Competition at JMU

will be held Friday, January 21, 2022 at 6 pm

in Madison Hall, first floor (Rooms 1001 &1002)

3 Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis competition, originally developed by The University of Queensland, gives students the opportunity to develop and present their research in a compelling and concise narrative aimed at engaging a general audience. Students are challenged to synthesize the core concepts of their projects and make meaningful connections to real-world issues. The competition celebrates the creativity and scholarship of our graduate students while helping them develop vital academic and communication skills.

1st Place 2nd Place 3rd place
$750  $500 $250

Additionally, the first place winner is sponsored by The Graduate School to attend the regional competition at the 2021 Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (which will be virtual) .

General Information

JMU’s Fourth Annual Three Minute Thesis competition was held Friday, January 22, 2021.  Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, this year's competition was held virtually to ensure the safety of all participants. This requires the students to learn and apply new skills based around video recording and editing in order to participate.

JMU graduate students enrolled at the time of the competition, or who graduated in December 2020, from any discipline, were eligible to participate in the competition. Work presented had to be from a current thesis or dissertation project, or other culminating creative or research project required by their programs. The project had to be far enough along to identify its practical impact and draw conclusions from the data. 

3MT Rules

Official Rules

  • Presentations must not be longer than 3 minutes. Any presentation that exceeds the 3 minute time limit will be disqualified. The timer is started when the presenter begins by speaking or moving.
  • One static PowerPoint slide is the only visual aid allowed (no slide transitions, animations, or movement of graphics in the slide).
  • Additional electronic media may NOT be used (e.g., sound and video files).
  • Additional props are NOT allowed (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment).
  • Presentations must be memorized and recited without the help of notes or cue cards.
  • Presentations must be spoken-word (no raps, poems, or singing presentations).

Judging Criteria

Presentations must meet the official rules and participant eligibility requirements to be included in the competition. Each presentation will be evaluated based on the equally weighted criteria listed below.


  • Did the presenter describe the thesis topic, significance, and key findings in language appropriate for a general audience?
  • Did the presentation flow at a comfortable pace without rushing or long pauses?
  • Did the speaker demonstrate good stage presence by making eye contact, using vocal inflection, and integrating natural gestures?


  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Did the speaker define key terms and provide sufficient background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter adequately develop each main point of the presentation?


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research question and its practical significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the methodology and significant findings of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or over-generalize their research?


  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm and make the audience want to know more?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience's attention?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation as a relevant and appealing visual aid?
How to Prepare

We want to help you do your best.  Plan now to attend a Three Minute Thesis Preparation workshop to learn more and get started creating your presentation. The Graduate School will host virtual workshops this fall. 

The workshop will…

  • Offer an overview of the Three Minute Thesis competition
  • Provide help creating your spoken and visual presentation
  • Provide you with tips on how to cover the key points of your project in only 3 minutes
  • Review important guidelines to ensure your presentation meets the official rules

Registration for a workshop is necessary to receive a link to the virtual workshop, and will help our facilitator to prepare and plan.  We recommend registering and attending a workshop to get ready for the competition. 

Preparation workshops for the next 3 Minute Thesis have not yet been scheduled.

Additionally, help sessions will also be provided to assist participants in preparing their video submission.  Information on these sessions will be sent to registered participants beginning in December. 

You can also check out these winning presentations and helpful tips:

Winning presentations by: Megan Pozzi, Joseph Donahue, Rob Duguid

Finally, check out our webpage for how to create a 3MT video presentation

Past 3MTs

In these links you can find information about our past 3 Minute Thesis competitions




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