Pitt Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition

3MT Three Minute Thesis Logo

2024 Pitt 3MT Competition Timeline

The 2024 Pitt 3MT Competition is now open to ALL eligible PhD and SJD students.

New this year:

  • April 26, 2024: The winner of Pitt’s competition will advance to the virtual 3MT Competition hosted by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) on April 26, 2024.
  • December 2024: The NAGS winner and runner-up will progress to the Council of Graduate Schools’ national 3MT Competition in December 2024.

See the winners of Pitt's 2023 3MT Competition.

This annual event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and University Library System with support from the University Center for Teaching and Learning.

What is a 3MT competition?

The 3MT competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), 3MT cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

Who is eligible to enter?

PhD and SJD students who have successfully completed the dissertation proposal defense (candidate status) and are actively in the dissertation stage of training are eligible.

Prizes for the Pitt 3MT Competition

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and University Library System.

First place prize: $1,000 travel/research grant
Two runner-up prizes: $500 travel/research grant
People's Choice prize: $1,000 travel/research grant

School Competitions

As part of the events leading up to the main competition, several schools will be hosting their own individual competitions from which they will send finalists (one per school) to compete on April 1.

The dates and times for school competitions are listed below, and we encourage interested and eligible students to contact their school 3MT representatives for more details on how to participate, if you haven’t already done so.

Arts and Sciences, Bill Yost
Thursday, March 28; 10 a.m.-noon

Computing and Information, Wesley Lipschultz
Monday, March 25; 1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Dental Medicine, Dobrawa Napierala
Wednesday, March 20; 4 p.m.

Engineering, Meagan Lenze
Monday, March 19; 1 p.m

Medicine, Deepti Ramadoss
Friday, March 8; 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Pharmacy, Kerry Empey
Wednesday, March 6; noon

Public Health, Michael Dolinger
Wednesday, March 27; 4:30 p.m.

Online Competition

Eligible students from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Nursing, the School of Law, the School of Social Work, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs can compete online to represent their school in the April 1 University-wide event. To compete online, you will need to do the following:

  • Create a 3MT presentation that is less than three minutes and one 3MT presentation slide.
  • Record your 3MT presentation and upload it to a YouTube account. Note that if you do not already have a YouTube account, you will need to set one up. The video style and recording quality will NOT be considered when judging. Your 3MT slide does NOT need to be visible in the video.
  • Use this Qualtrics survey to provide the YouTube link and your presentation slide in PDF format no later than Wednesday, March 20.
  • After entries have been received and judged, we will email the winners by Wednesday, March 27. One winner from each school will be selected to compete on April 1.

Presentation Resources

To learn more about the competition history, rules, and to gain valuable preparation tips, visit the official 3MT website.

We are following the 3MT competition rules suggested by the University of Queensland, which founded the event.

Judging Criteria

Check back to see who our distinguished judges will be—and who will hear our competitors talk about their research.

Competitors are assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content
  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact, and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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?
Engagement and Communication
  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize 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?


Email graduate@pitt.edu.