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About 3MT®

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.  The 3MT® competition challenges graduate students to summarize their research in three minutes or less, in terms appropriate for a non-specialist audience. Students may use one static PowerPoint slide to enhance their presentation but otherwise may have no other props or visual aids.

3MT® @ UNI

The University of Northern Iowa's First Annual 3MT Competition will be held on Friday, November 12. Students will compete in preliminary heat(s) to determine who will advance to the university final round. All rounds will take place on the same day. All finalists will compete for prizes and the winner will have the opportunity to continue on to the regional 3MT competition hosted by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. All master's-level* students who were enrolled in the current academic year (including summer 2021) are eligible to compete.

*Note: Students in the Education Specialist and Doctor of Education degree programs are not eligible.

Save the Date: Friday, November 12, 2021

The schedule will be released closer to the competition.
Registration closes on Friday, October 22, 2021



  • 1st Place: $500 to student
    • Opportunity to be selected to compete in the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools regional 3MT® competition. If selected, this trip will be paid for by the Graduate College.
    • $300 to winning student's department to support student research and writing
  • 2nd Place: $300
  • People's Choice: $200


  • Students must be enrolled* in a master’s program to be eligible to compete in the 3MT® competition (*this includes continuous registration).
  • The presentation topic must cover student's original research project.
  • Students must have been enrolled at some point during the academic year, including the previous summer, in which the MAGS competition is held.




  • Research presented must have been conducted at the University of Northern Iowa and be the student's original research.
  • Students may use a single static PowerPoint slide. This is not required. No additional media or props are allowed.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • Note cards are not allowed. Students must have their presentation memorized.
  • Presentations must be completely oral (no poems, raps, or songs; spoken word only) and are limited to three minutes maximum. Presentations exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.
  • Presentations commence upon the presenter starting through movement or speech. A timer will be in the room and the student may elect to have the counter face them or to have it face away from them and to receive a 30 second warning.
  • Participants will be broken into groups for judging purposes. Students selected to advance will compete in a final heat. Additional preliminary heats may be added based on number of registrants.
  • The judges’ decision is final. Here is a sample judging rubric.

The first place winner may be selected by the Graduate College Dean to advance to the regional competition. If the first place winner becomes ineligible or is unable to attend, the second place winner will advance.


Attend the Impromptu Speaking Workshop, led by Sadé Barfield to prepare and practice your first draft of your 3MT® on October 13, 2021 @ 5 PM.

See Event Details





MAGS 2021 First-Place Winner: Ali Rassi, University of Oklahoma

MAGS 2021 Second-Place Winner: Vishakh Iyer, Indiana University

MAGS 2020 First-Place Winner: Megan LaFollette, Purdue University

University of Queensland Examples