Graduate Student Resource Center

Three Minute Thesis Competition

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College of Graduate Studies - 3MT® Awards Program

Now in its fifth year, the College of Graduate Studies invites all who are completing a dissertation or thesis to participate in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®).  Designed originally by the University of Queensland, 3MT® is a competition that measures and supports a student's capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. The 3MT student presentation date will be in early spring semester with exact date be announced.  3MT REGISTRATION is open now through December 2 at noon.


One Outstanding Achievement award and one Excellent Achievement award will be granted to the first and second place winners, respectively, in the Cleveland State University 3MT® (Three Minute Thesis) Competition.  Oral communication of a student’s research to an educated layperson is often lacking in graduate programs.  The University of Queensland developed a program where students summarize their research in 3 minutes or less using pre-determined guidelines.  The format is one where students make a presentation in 3 minutes and a panel of judges scores each student to determine a final winner.  Cleveland State University hosts a qualifying competition to decide which student will represent our university at the regional competition sponsored by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools.  In addition, this is the only graduate student award that may be won in tandem with a second award.  The monetary prize associated with the Outstanding Achievement award is $500 (five hundred dollars), and the monetary prize associated with the Excellent Achievement award is $250 (two hundred fifty dollars). AWARD WINNERS WILL BE RECOGNIZED IN AN AWARD CEREMONY TO BE HELD IN SPRING 2019


The Outstanding Achievement Award Winner will represent CSU at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools in April 2020. 


Enrolled masters and doctoral candidates who have achieved candidacy status (e.g., passed comprehensive/qualifying exams, successful dissertation proposal defense)by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate. Graduates from the previous summer are eligible to participate. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or better and be in good academic standing at the time of competition. Call the College of Graduate Studies if you have questions about eligibility, 216-687-3595.

Registration required

To participate, eligible graduate students must e-mail Maribeth Kralik at  Please put “THREE MINUTE THESIS COMPETITION ENTRY” on the subject line in all capital letters.  In addition, your e-mail must include the title of your thesis or dissertation as well as a letter, statement or e-mail from the chair of your thesis or dissertation committee certifying that you are eligible to participate.


  • One single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

1.  Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • 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?

2.  Engagement

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise 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?
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