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

3MT logo, founded by the University of Queensland


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

Last updated 1/24/2017


Congratulations to the winners of the 2017-18 Three Minute Thesis Competition! All participants were outstanding, and we look forward to next year's competition.

1st Place - Elizabeth Hilliard, Department of Physics, Verification of a Novel Intensity Modulation Device for Electron Radiotherapy

2nd Place - Zheng Jia, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Do It Yourself: DNA Sequencing by Coin-size Device

People's Choice - Austin Thompson, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Parkinson's Disease: An Investigation of Speech Movement


Finals Competition

The LSU Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Finals Competition will take place on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the LSU Digital Media Arts Theater. Nine finalists from various LSU units will compete for 1st Place to receive a $1,000 research travel award and a trip to compete in the Southern Regional Competition in February 2018. The 2nd Place winner will receive a $750 research travel award.

Faculty, staff, students, and Baton Rouge community members are encouraged to come out to learn about the outstanding scholarship being conducted on campus, and to show support for the presenters. Audience members will also select a recipient for “People’s Choice,” a prize that grants a $500 research travel award.

 Refreshments will be served for you to enjoy prior to the presentations. RSVP!


3MT® Preliminary Competition

On Wednesday, November 29, twenty-five graduate students from across LSU took part in the preliminary round of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition. Students representing more than 15 departments took on the challenge of presenting their scholarly research in just three minutes or less, with one accompanying slide. Preliminary judges, Dr. Chris Barrett, Dr. Johanna Broussard, and Dr. Billy Saas provided each participant with valuable feedback, and also had the difficult task of narrowing down the talented participants to the top nine finalists.

The Graduate School congratulates the finalists, who will present at the final round of the 3MT® Competition in January:

  • Kobi Weaver, Geography and Anthropology
  • Katie Stanko, Psychology
  • Sogand Karbalaieali, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Austin Thompson, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • John Patin, French Studies
  • Zheng Jia, Mechanical Engineering
  • Ashley Allen, Geography and Anthropology
  • Elizabeth Hillard, Medical Physics
  • Yaping Xu, Geography and Anthropology



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.


Competition Rules and Guidelines

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

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?

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?


Presentation Examples and Resources

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.)