UND graduate students to compete in Three Minute Thesis contest Jan. 29

UND graduate students to compete in Three Minute Thesis contest Jan. 29

It’s the art of making research compelling.

Three minutes. One graphic.

UND graduate students will condense years of work into a three-minute talk at the fourth annual Three Minute Thesis competition Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Gorecki Alumni Center. Prizes will be awarded beginning at 3 p.m., with a reception to follow. The public is invited to attend.

The contest will be streamed via Zoom.

The popular event is a competition for graduate students, who explain their research in just three minutes to a non-academic audience. Participants have three minutes to present their work, using no more than one static slide. Students will be judged on clear, concise communication; public speaking; and the ability to distill complex ideas and information.

The average master’s degree thesis runs more than 60 pages and 80,000 words, and condensing the information to an entertaining, three-minute talk is an epic challenge, said Chris Nelson, associate dean of the UND School of Graduate Studies.

“Imagine spending years on a research project that means everything to you, your degree, and your career,” said Nelson. “Imagine the enthusiasm, motivation, and enjoyment, but also the struggles and the sacrifices, countless hours in the lab, library, or in front of a blinking cursor, and then having just 180 seconds to talk about your work to an audience, most of whom will not know anything about you or your work. But also imagine the lifelong value of the skills built by participation in the 3MT training and competition. These are the skills that make people stand out in an interview and a workplace, and they are what makes the 3MT competition and its participants so special.”

The panel of judges will include Greater Grand Forks community members, graduate students, faculty and staff. They will choose first and second place winners based on comprehension, engagement, and communication.  The audience picks the People’s Choice winner. The first place winner will advance to the regional competition in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an international competition whose goal is improving graduate students’ ability to communicate the significance and value of their research to a non-specialist, public audience, in no more than three minutes.


David L. Dodds
Director of Communications
UND Today
Division of Marketing & Communications
University of North Dakota
O: 701.777.5529