View the Winners of the 2020 Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Third Annual Three Minute Thesis at JMU

 3 Minutes to Inspire

Friday, January 24, 2020, 6 pm

Holland Yates Hall (formerly Madison Hall), first floor

A 100-page thesis would take hours to present. They do it in 3 minutes.

Participating graduate students share their research in a high impact 3-minute presentation and compete for cash prizes and a chance to participate in the regional competition. The first place winner will receive $750, second place will receive $500, and third place will receive $250. The first place winner will be sponsored by The Graduate School to attend the regional competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools in Birmingham, Alabama, March 5-7, 2020 (for more information, visit In addition, the audience will vote to select the winner of the People's Choice Award, sponsored by the Graduate Student Association!  

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.

Watch the video!

For students who wish to participate and compete: 

Mark Your Calendars!

JMU’s Third Annual Three Minute Thesis competition is happening Friday, January 24, 2020 starting at 6:00 p.m. Winners may also be invited to give an encore presentation at the Graduate Symposium on April 15, 2020.

The registration deadline is January 10, 2020.

Register Now to share your work at JMU's second annual Three Minute Thesis competition.

Get Ready!

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 workshop will…

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

The Graduate School is hosting two workshops this fall in Holland Yates Hall (formerly Madison Hall), Room 4010.

  • Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30pm – 4:30pm
  • Thursday, December 5 from 6:00 – 8:00pm
  • Monday, December 9 from 3:00-5:00 pm

Registration for a workshop is not required, but will help our facilitator to prepare and plan.  We recommend pre-registering and attending a workshop to get ready for the competition. 

Pre-register for a workshop


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

Winning presentation by Megan Pozzi:

Winning presentation by Joseph Donohue:

Winning presentation by Rob Duguid:

Helpful tips file:

Helpful tips video:


The Fine Print


Currently enrolled graduate students (at the time of the competition) in all disciplines are eligible to participate in JMU’s Three Minute Thesis competition. Work presented must be from a current thesis or dissertation project, or other culminating creative or research project required by your program. The project should be far enough along to identify its practical impact and draw conclusions from the data. If you have questions, please contact The Graduate School at or by calling 540.568.6131.

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?

Register Now

The 3MT competition is a great opportunity to showcase the fine work of our graduate students, and bring positive attention to the graduate education at JMU. We hold a Three Minute Thesis competition each year! 


Review 2019 Three Minute Thesis Competition!  

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