Three Minute Thesis


Graduate students can hone their communication skills and win money in the University of Arkansas Three Minute Thesis contest. The competition challenges graduate students to communicate the significance of their research in language understood by the general public. Student presentations are limited to 3 minutes.

Registration is open to all graduate students. The registration deadline is Oct. 31.

  • Preliminary heats in each of the academic colleges will be during the week of Nov. 12-16. All preliminary heats will be in NWQB B108.
    • Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs
      • 1 p.m., Nov. 12
    • Walton College of Business
      • 1 p.m., Nov. 12
    • College of Engineering
      • 1 p.m., Nov. 13
    • College of Education and Health Professions
      • 1 p.m., Nov. 13
    • Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
      • 9:30 a.m., Nov. 14
    • Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
      • 9:30 a.m., Nov. 16
  • The first-place winner from each college will advance to a university-wide final at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19 in AFLS 0107E.
  • First and second place winners from each college will win $300 and $100, respectively.
  • The university-wide People’s Choice winner will win $500.
  • The university-wide final winner will win $750 and a trip to a regional Three Minute Thesis contest in Knoxville, Tenn. on Feb. 16.


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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 (eg. 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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


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?

Engagement & 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?


  • Winner: Malachi Nichols, Education Reform, Ph.D.
  • People's Choice: Edidiong Udofica, Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.


  • Winner: Diana Chen, Environmental Dynamics, Ph.D.
  • People's Choice: Daniel Sandor, Plant Science, Ph.D.


  • Winner: Jade Newsome, Plant Pathology, M.S.
  • People's Choice: Richard Perry, Kinesiology, Ph.D.


  • Winner: Priyanka Sharma, Cell and Molecular Biology, Ph.D.