Published: Feb. 5, 2024

This annual event, which showcases graduate student’s ability to distill their nine-hour thesis down to three minutes, comes back Feb. 7 at 4 p.m.

What is the best way to distill a multitude of information into just three minutes?

That’s the question that ten graduate students will be wrestling with as part of the Graduate School’s seventh annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final competition, which will be held in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom on Feb. 7, 2024, from 4 to 6 p.m.

This event challenges students to explain their thesis to the general public. They are then judged by a panel of judges from across the university, including Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell. Winners of the event will be announced at the end of the program and the audience will have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice award.

While the event is free and open to the public, space is limited and registration is required for in-person attendance. The event will also be live-streamed.

If you go

Date: Feb. 7, 2024

Time: 4 - 6 p.m.

Location: University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom or over livestream

Register Here

This year’s competitors include:

  • Leopold Beuken, mechanical engineering, Flight by Feel
  • Georgia Butcher, anthropology, Drone Pilots & Remote War: An Anthropological Investigation
  • Saima Kazmi, advertising, public relations and media design, Psychological Distance in Ads and Moral Disengagement
  • Lyanna Kessler, integrative physiology, Aftershock: When COVID Becomes Long COVID
  • Alex Meyer, aerospace engineering, Binary Asteroids and the DART Impact
  • Zachary Schiffman, chemistry, The Urea Molecule: From Fertilizer… to Climate Change?
  • Emma St. Lawrence, media studies, To Seek Newer Worlds: Mediating Reality in a Time of Plague
  • Aaquib Tabrez, computer science, Building Trust & Reliance in Human-Machine Teams via Transparent Algorithms
  • Ruhan Yang, creative technology and design, cubo: Paper Modular Robot You Can Build From Home
  • Spencer Zeigler, geological sciences, The Missing Pages of Earth History

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.

3MT challenges graduate students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. To prepare, beginning last fall, 25 graduate students participated in a series of workshops focusing on storytelling, writing, presentation skills and improv comedy techniques. They then held a preliminary competition at the end of the fall 2023 semester and whittled the competition down to ten finalists.

The graduate students competing at this year’s 3MT finals will be evaluated by a panel of judges on their comprehension, content, engagement and communication. 

The winner of the competition will receive $1,500 in prize money and will have the chance to compete at the regional competition as the University of Colorado Boulder’s representative. The runner-up and the People’s Choice winner, voted on by the live audience, will also receive funding.

Judges for this year’s event are College of Arts and Sciences Dean Glen Krutz, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Associate Dean Charles Musgraves, Professor of Sociology Lori Hunter, and Physics Professor and Nobel Laureate Eric Cornell. Bud Coleman, Roe Green endowed chair in theatre, will be the event’s emcee.

More information about the competition is available on the Graduate School's 3MT web page.