The LSU Graduate School presents the 2017 Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 



An 80,000-word thesis would take 9 hours to present — Their time limit is 3 minutes.


The LSU Three Minute Thesis Finals competition will be held the week of January 15, 2018.  More information will be posted in the coming weeks.


In preparation for the finals, interested candidates must:

1.  Submit an online application by 5pm on Wednesday, November 22nd.  A maximum of 40 students will participate in the preliminary competition.  Sign-ups for the competition will be taken in order of application completion.  Once the maximum number of speakers has been reached, additional students will only be added from a waiting list if someone decides not to participate.

2.  Participate in the preliminary round on Wednesday, Nov. 29th in assigned sessions between 2 – 7 p.m in the Business Education Complex (BEC), Room 1321.  The top 10 speakers will advance to the finals competition the week of January 15th 2018.


Interested in learning more?

An informational meeting about the competition will be held on Wednesday, November 15th at 1 pm in E131 Howe-Russell.  

Questions about the competition can be emailed to Rodney Goldsmith at



The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an international research communication competition. The exercise challenges Masters and Ph.D. students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT® develops academic, presentation and research communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.



The minimum requirement for Master’s and Ph.D. candidates to participate is to have passed their proposal defense (or a similar milestone exam that involves committee approval of the proposed research project) by the date of the first presentation (November 29, 2017).  Alumni are not eligible.



1st Place $1,000 research travel award
2nd Place $750 research travel award
People’s Choice $500 research travel award

The LSU Graduate School will also fund the first-place winner’s trip to the Southern regional competition in February, 2018.



Presentation Requirements and Guidelines

  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound or video files) are permitted.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  •  Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  •  Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  •  Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  •  The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • All competitors must be available Wednesday, Nov. 29th for the required preliminary round.


Judging Criteria

1.  Comprehension and 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?

2.  Engagement and 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?



Example 3MT Winners from the University of Queensland

How to Talk About Your Thesis in Three Minutes (*Note: This Prezi was prepared for a different university’s 3MT competition.)