Graduate School to host inaugural Penn State Three Minute Thesis Competition

Graduate and professional students from all Penn State campuses invited to compete
Three Minute Thesis Logo
Credit: The University of Queensland

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—The Graduate School at Penn State, in partnership with the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Graduate School Alumni Society, will host the University’s first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the entire graduate student community in the spring 2024 semester. The competition provides an opportunity for graduate and professional students to hone their scientific and technical communication skills while competing for recognition, monetary awards and the chance to compete at regional or national Three Minute Thesis competitions.  

3MT is an academic research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland, Australia, that is now hosted at more than 100 universities worldwide each year. Each graduate student competing in 3MT is given three minutes and one presentation slide to communicate the impact and importance of their research or scholarship to a general audience. 

“Effectively communicating the impact of research and scholarship to the general public is a critically important skill for graduate and professional students. It can help students find future collaborators, publish and disseminate knowledge, advance their careers, and benefit them in many more ways. The Three Minute Thesis provides an excellent opportunity for students to hone these skills,” said Levon T. Esters, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. 

The first round of the Penn State 3MT competition will be in a video format. To participate, students must upload a video during the submission period, from Jan. 8 to Feb. 9. Penn State faculty, staff, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and alumni are invited to serve as virtual judges during the first round and must register by Feb. 13.  

Competitors scoring the highest marks will be invited to a final, in-person round that will be live streamed from the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on the University Park campus starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 23, 2024. A panel of invited alumni, faculty and other community members will judge the final round.  

The Graduate School will offer a first-place award of $1,000 and a second-place award of $500 selected by the judges. A $500 People’s Choice award will be presented to one participant and will be selected by votes from in-person and virtual attendees. Additionally, the winner of Penn State’s competition will be invited to a regional 3MT competition hosted by the Northeast Association of Graduate Schools. The winner of the regional event is invited to the national Three Minute Thesis competition hosted by the Council of Graduate Schools. 

To register as a judge or to learn more about how to compete, visit the Penn State 3MT website