May 6: Grad students present theses in three minutes

By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education

3MT-logo-200PULLMAN, Wash. – Graduate students will deliver their version of the “elevator speech” in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 6, in the College of Education’s graduate student lounge in Cleveland 70; the Washington State University community is invited to watch.

“I was impressed by the nature of the competition and how it helps graduate students understand the importance of presenting their research work to a wide audience and in a short time, in contrast with the traditional conference presentation format or dissertation defense,” said Mike Trevisan, college dean. “I learned to do these things later in my career but I wish I could have had experiences like this when I was in graduate school.”

The 3MT began at the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2008. Trevisan learned about it from his son, who won the event at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

According to 3MT officials, it has been held in at least 170 universities in more than 17 countries.

At WSU, 12 competitors – already selected – will race the clock, and five judges – to be revealed at the event – will pick the first- and second-place winners. The audience will pick the third-place winner.

First place takes home $300, with second place winning $150 and third place $50.

Prizes add incentive, but the contest is intended for broader impact.

“I hope students see the importance of making brief presentations to wide audiences, sometimes many audiences,” Trevisan said. “I also see Three Minute Thesis as a mechanism to help build the research and scholarship culture of the college and include graduate students as central stakeholders in this effort.”

More on the event, location, contestants and thesis topics can be found at