Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

Sponsored by GW's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (OGPA)

poster for promotion

GW's 2024 Competition Lineup

Representatives by school:


Guannan Zhai

Abbey Salvas

Caleb Schmotter

Jenna Clements

Shatakshi Gupta

Prachi Mahableshwarkar

Darren Dolan


Alexandra Laing

Muhammad Mehdi


Caitlin Bailey

Samantha Ammons

Wen-Chien Yang

Maria Jose Talayero Schettino

Laura Santacrose

Rebecca Robbins

Ramaa Chitale


Julie Sapp


Li Liang


Leah Kaplan

Anmol Taploo

Sara Youssoufi

Alex Horkowitz

Emad Mashayekh

Ibrahim Yildiran




A 100-page dissertation could take hours to present. Can you do it in 3 minutes?

3MT: Three Minute Thesis Founded by the University of Queensland

We are excited to announce that GW's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (OGPA) will host the first, annual University-wide Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition in Spring 2024!

Students from across GW's doctoral degree granting schools/programs are invited to participate in this year's competition.

Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the research being conducted by students. The competition cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide. Please see below for additional information, competition rules and videos of previous competition winners and participants.

The 2024 3MT competition will be held in-person on Thursday, February 22, 2024 in the GW USC Amphitheater. Winners will receive the following cash prizes:

  • First: $1000
  • Second: $750
  • Third: $500
  • People's Choice: $500

The winner of GW's 3MT competition will go on to compete in the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools' (NAGS) regional competition held later in Spring.

If you have any questions regarding the event or registration, please contact OGPA at [email protected].

Registration for the 2024 competition has closed.  


The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates competing. In 2009 and 2010, the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multinational event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2010.

Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

The first GW 3MT competition was in 2019 and was only available to CCAS PhD students.  As of 2022, this competition has been expanded to include CCAS as well as SEAS PhD students!

Why Participate?

During your PhD, there is a strong focus on the production of your dissertation. The ability to communicate the importance of your research project and articulate your findings is very valuable. The Three Minute Thesis competition provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Communicate your ideas effectively to the wider community;
  • Describe your research findings to a non-specialist audience;
  • Crystalize your thoughts about your dissertation;
  • Increase your profile within the CCAS research community, staff, and wider community; and
  • Network with other PhD students.

How to Prepare

Check out the official Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Vimeo channel to view past presentations from around the globe.


  • 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 electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • 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. 

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition, each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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?

2023 3MT Winners

First Place

Ryan Welch

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SEAS

Linking the Process, Structure, and Performance of 3D
Printed Thermoelectric Materials

Second Place

Jacob Medina

Cancer Biology, CCAS

Photothermal Therapy of SM1 Melanoma Utilizing
Anti-CD137 Coated Prussian Blue Nanoparticles

Third Place

Nate Harris

Economics, CCAS

Do Building Height Restrictions Increase or Decrease
Welfare in a City?

People's Choice

Anastasia Sarmakeeva

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SEAS

Landslide Simulations to Save Lives

Watch the Full 2023 3MT Competition

2022 3MT Winners

First Place

Dustin Abele


Sustainable Materials for High Energy Density Lithium-ion Batters

Second Place

Ruoyu Chen


Evaluating the Effects of Carbon Trading on Power Sector Emissions in China: A View From Space

Third Place

Anthony Hennig

Systems Engineering

The Complexities of Measuring Complexity

People's Choice

Ferhan Güloglu


Natural Mothers in the Making



2021 Virtual 3MT Winners

On Thursday, February 24, nine Ph.D. students from across CCAS doctoral programs in the humanities, sciences and social sciences faced off in friendly competition in the third annual CCAS Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Dissertation Competition. The competition challenges students to effectively communicate their research to a non-specialist audience in three minutes. 

In this year’s virtual competition students submitted pre-recorded videos of their 3MT presentations and the winners were announced at Thursday’s live event. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were selected by a judging panel of CCAS faculty members; Professor Heidi Bardot, (Art Therapy) Professor Shelley Brundage, (Speech and Hearing Sciences) Professor Harald Grassheimmer (Physics) and CCAS Dean, Paul Wahlbeck (Political Science). A People’s Choice winner was selected by the audience. 

In total, student’s 3MT videos garnered almost 500 views within one week with the People’s Choice winner receiving over 170 individual views. It was a job well done by all of the doctoral students taking part in this year’s virtual Three Minute Thesis competition! 

First Place

Katherine Hinnant


Can You Fight Fires with Shampoos?


Second Place

Turni Chakrabarti


Disruptive Widowhood in the Bengali and British Novel

Third Place

Stephanie Gomez

Microbiology & Immunology

How Can the Immune System Be Activated to Treat Ovarian Cancer?

People's Choice

Djordje Modrakovic

Clinical Psychology

Better Safe Sex: HIV Preventative Interventions & Psychosexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex with Men


2020 3MT Winners

First Place

Kimberly Foecke

Human Paleobiology

Nitrogen, Neanderthals, and Seeing Diet in the Past.

Second Place

Abhilasha Sahay


The Silenced Women: Can Public Activism Stimulate Disclosure of Violence Against Women.

Third Place & People's Choice

Michelle Kramer

Cognitive Neuroscience

Context Matters: How Previous Events Influence Airport Baggage Screening Success.


2019 3MT Winners

First Place

Elizabeth Pertner

Political Science

Watching the Watchdog

Second Place

Matthew Lefler


Making Carbon Nanotubes from Thin Air

Third Place

Chelsea Ullman

Public Policy and Administration

How Can Policy be Used to Get Justice for Campus Sexual Assault Survivors?

People's Choice

Jiaqi J. O'Reilly

Biomedical Sciences: Neuroscience

The Placenta: The Most Important Organ That Everyone Loses