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Graduate School


Click HERE to view the list of last year's 3MT competitors.

Information for Participants

Why Participate?

Skill Development

Preparing for and participating in the Three Minute Thesis competition gives students an opportunity to develop their communication and presentation skills. The ability to effectively communicate the significance of their research to a lay audience is an incredibly valuable skills for students as they make the transition from their academics to their careers.



Participating in the Three Minute Thesis competition connects students not only to each other, but to university staff and faculty, alumni, industry partners, and the greater community. It provides an incredible opportunity to network and make connections with future stakeholders.


Awards and Recognition

Participation in the Three Minute Thesis competition provides students with opportunities for growth and development, as well as experience they can list on a CV and reference in an interview. In addition, there are monetary incentives for students to participate:

Grand Prize:
winner receives $1000 and is eligible to compete in the regional competition
each preliminary round winner is awarded $250



Participants in the university-wide competition register with the Graduate School during fall semester. Eligibility is limited to current NDSU graduate students (either master's or doctoral) registered for spring semester, as well as December graduates. All participants must have approval from their advisor.

Competition Rules

NDSU Competition Rules

  • Competitors must be able to attend the entire Three Minute Thesis competition event on February 1, 2017.
  • Presentations are to begin with students introducing themselves and identifying their graduate program.
  • Presentations will be recorded and may be shared on the NDSU website and/or through other media platforms.
  • All contestants must sign a Participant Release Form to agree to release of information/recording.

General Competition Rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any description; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (i.e. sound or video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (i.e. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified automatically.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. 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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Release of Information

Participant Release Form

As stated in NDSU Competition Rules:

  • Presentations will be recorded and may be shared on the NDSU website and/or through other media platforms.

General Student News Release Form

Competitors are also asked to complete a General Student News Release Form, so that information regarding their participation in the Three Minute Thesis competition and other involvement at NDSU may be released to the Fargo Forum and/or their hometown newspaper.

Additional Information

  • Competitors are required to send their PowerPoint slide to the Graduate School prior to the competition; we suggest the use of a picture or graphic, rather than excessive text, as the information and meaning should be very clear to a general audience
  • The PowerPoint slide for each competitor will be preloaded on the computer in the room hosting their heat, and the Graduate School will determine the order of presentations.
  • Competitors may be fitted with a lavalier (clip-on, wireless, hands-free) microphone for both the preliminary and championship round presentations; we suggest dressing in a manner that will allow for the microphone to be clipped to the top of the shirt and slipped into a pocket or attached to a waistband or the like.
  • Both the preliminary and championship rounds may be video recorded.
  • For the preliminary rounds, the audience and competitors will stay in the room while the judges are tabulating the scores. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions about the talks during this time. Answers to these questions will not affect the score, but it offers an excellent opportunity to interact with the audience. The winner for each room will be announced when the judges are finished determining the scores.
  • For the championship round, while the judges are out of the room to determine the scores, the contestants will talk about why they chose to come to NDSU and what they hope to do with their degree. The audience will be substantially larger for the championship round, so it will not be opened up for audience questions.
  • Competitors are welcome to view other presentations in heats in which they are not participating.
  • Competitors are encouraged to arrive to their designated presentation rooms 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the heat.
  • Competitors are expected to dress in professional attire and remember that they are representing NDSU at this event. Many visitors from around the campus, the community, and even the state will be in attendance - this competition provides an opportunity to show them the value of graduate education.
  • Members of the media will also be present; if approached, please take the time to talk with them.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 2:28:04 PM
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