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NoCo 3MT® Competition

NoCo 3MT® is a professional development competition that spotlights the dissertation and thesis projects of doctoral and master's students at the University of Northern Colorado. Students completing research in any UNC doctoral or master's program are eligible to submit a 3MT proposal. The competition supports the capacity of graduate students to present their dissertation/thesis projects in three minutes, in language that can be easily understood by a public audience. This event is sponsored by the UNC Graduate School. The winner of the NoCo 3MT will receive a monetary prize and will go on to compete in the Colorado Graduate Schools 3MT.

3MT logo

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland, Australia.

Why is the competition called 3MT?
The competition, which is now global, originated at the University of Queensland, Australia. In Australia, Ph.D. students write a doctoral thesis. In other countries, the words “thesis” and “dissertation” are used interchangeably in reference to the final research product of a doctoral student. The UNC competition is open to doctoral and master's students.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to submit a proposal for NoCo 3MT, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a student in a UNC doctoral or master's program.
  • You have a draft of your dissertation/thesis that includes data collection/findings and conclusions.

3MT competitions are intended for graduate students who have completed their research/data collection and are completing their dissertation/thesis. If you are at an earlier stage with your research, the Graduate School encourages you to participate in Graduate Research Evening, which allows presentation of either proposed or completed research.

3MT Introduction Workshop

This event will explain more about the competition, how to participate and answer any questions that you may have.

Pre-Proposal Submission Workshops

The Graduate School will be offering virtual training sessions on how to create, develop and present your 3MT. Information will touch on areas such as:

  • Most common mistakes
  • How to utilize a single PowerPoint slide
  • How to incorporate non-technical/everyday language
  • We will also include links to YouTube videos of a few of the best 3MT presentations

Proposal Submission Guidelines

The proposal submission includes three components: a dissertation/thesis project summary, a description of the project impact within or beyond the discipline and a brief video presentation.

Dissertation Project Summary
In 300 words or less, please describe your dissertation/thesis project for someone who is not in your field of research. In other words, avoid using discipline-specific technical terms or jargon.

Your summary:

  • Must be concise and coherent
  • Does not include a lot of disciplinary jargon
  • Is understandable to a general, public audience

Video Presentation

After you register (please see the link below), a member of the Graduate School team will contact via email you to schedule a brief Microsoft Teams meeting. During this meeting, the team member will record your video submission. Prior to your appointment, you should prepare and practice your research talk of no more than three (3) minutes.

In your talk, please respond to each of these prompts as if you were speaking to a general audience (not from your discipline):

  • Why are you enthusiastic or passionate about your dissertation/thesis project?
  • Why should your project matter to people who are not in your field of study?

Submitting Your Proposal

The proposal submission deadline TBD.

Proposal Selection Criteria

Successful proposals for NoCo 3MT are based on the following criteria:

Dissertation/Thesis Project Summary

  • Is the dissertation/thesis project summary concise and within the 300-word limit?
  • Is the summary understandable to a general, non-scholarly audience?
  • Does the summary convey the impact of the project for non-scholars?

Video Presentation

  • Does the student communicate enthusiasm or passion for the project?
  • Does the student describe how the dissertation/thesis project will have an impact beyond their specific discipline?
  • Does the student avoid disciplinary jargon or unnecessary technical language?

After the Selection Process

  • Finalists will be required to attend private practice sessions with staff to enhance their 3MT and better prepare for presentation day.
  • These sessions will be offered online in the weeks leading up to the competition.
  • A final rehearsal will take place before event occurs. 


Competition Process

Dates and Times: TBD

Submission Deadline

Selection and Notification of Finalists

Online Practice Sessions (required)

Final Rehearsal (in person)

3MT® Competition