Published: Sept. 6, 2023

Interested doctoral students must register by Sept. 25 to participate in this signature event

The application for the Three Minute Thesis competition is now open for interested doctoral students.

3MT is an academic competition that challenges students to summarize their thesis in three minutes for a general audience and a panel of judges, who rate their performance. The three winners of the competition, along with a people’s choice winner, receive research funding, with the first-place recipient receiving $1,500 and a chance to represent the university at the regional competition.

To participate, you must be a CU Boulder doctoral student admitted to candidacy by December 1, 2023, and be enrolled for spring 2024 and expect to graduate in May 2024 or later. Graduates or alumni are not eligible. The deadline for registering is Monday, Sept. 25 at 12:59 p.m. 

“Amazing research happens every day by graduate students, but it often flies under the radar. The Three Minute Thesis competition is an opportunity to showcase that creative and innovative work and the talented students that make it happen,” Scott Adler, the dean of the Graduate School, said previously.

Application closes Sept. 25

Apply Here

The 3MT event began in 2008 when the state of Queensland, Australia, suffered from a severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then-dean of the University of Queensland Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, decided to apply the same approach with his students in a first of its kind competition.

It has since spread across the globe, including to CU Boulder.

Prior to CU Boulder’s competition, which takes place every February and is one of the Graduate School’s signature events, students participate in a series of workshops to improve their presentation and research communication skills, helping them to effectively (and succinctly) explain the significance of their research. These workshops also provide a chance for students to forge connections within a like-minded cohort from across the disciplines.

One such workshop or presentation scheduled for this year, among others discussing things like storytelling framework and improvisation techniques, is an exclusive talk by international 3MT winner, and Marvin H. Caruthers Endowed Chair for Early-Career Faculty Assistant Professor Samuel Ramsey on science communication. Watch Dr. Sammy’s winning 3MT presentation here.

For more information, including seeing the past winners, refer to the 3MT website. For all other questions, contact Hailey Herman at