Student giving presentation

Prepare for the 2024 Competition

Three Minute Thesis logoAn 80,000-word thesis could take hours to present. Their time limit... 3 minutes!

In the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, graduate students convey the essence and importance of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes using one static PowerPoint slide.

This research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008. Over time the contest has exploded in popularity, and 3MT contests now occur worldwide at over 900 universities across more than 85 countries.

3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research but challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. The challenge for participants is to take all the months spent on research and writing their thesis or dissertation and distill it down to a three-minute summary!

The first-place winner of the competition will receive $1,000. The second-place winner will receive $700. The third-place and People's Choice winners will each receive $500. The first-place winner will also represent Ball State at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Conference in St. Louis, MO on April 5, 2024 with all expense paid! 


Important Dates 

Thursday, January 18, 2024
3MT Information Session
3:30 p.m. (View Recording)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024
3MT Preliminary Rounds Registration Ends
11:59 p.m.
Registration Closed

Monday, February 5, 2024

3MT Preliminary Round Session 1
3:30-5:30 p.m.
SC 301


Tuesday, February 6, 2024
3MT Preliminary Round Session 2
5:30-7:30 p.m.
SC 301

Thursday, February 22, 2024
3MT Final Competition
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Ball Brother's Hospitality Suite, Emens Auditorium

Competition Details

Eligibility and Requirements

  • A student must be enrolled in a Master’s or Doctoral Program; the student must be actively enrolled in their program at Ball State at some point in the 2023-2024 academic year.
  • The student’s program of study must contain an original research project. This can be at any point in the course of study and can be attached to a required class or a capstone or independent project.
  • The degree program need not formally require a thesis or dissertation; however, the presentation topic must cover an original research project.
  • Minimally, some preliminary data must be collected on the topic. 

Judging Criteria

  1. Comprehension and Content: Rating 10-1 (strong-weak)
    • How well was the research motivated (i.e. background and significance)?
    • How well was the research design explained (i.e. methods or approach)?
    • How well were results, conclusions, or outcomes described?
  2. Engagement and Communication: Rating 10-1 (strong-weak)
    • How well did the presenter capture and hold your attention?
    • How well did the presenter make their work comprehensible (i.e. avoided jargon)?
    • How well did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation?


  1. A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted.
  2. No slide transitions, animations, or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  3. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  4. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  5. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  6. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  7. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  8. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  9. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Helpful Tips

A special thanks to Ms. Mary Moore, Senior Lecturer of Communication Studies, for developing the helpful video recordings below. 

  1. Five tips for recording
  2. Advice on Delivery
  3. Introductions & Conclusions
  4. Speaking to a general audience

Previous Winners

See our past winners at Events & Recognition.


For answers to your questions or to get more information, please contact Dr. Nathan Hitchens