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Graduate School
The University of Mississippi

What is the Three Minute Thesis and why should you participate?

three_min_thesisStory by Tyler Carter

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a competition that includes both master’s and doctoral students. The competition is based on the students’ abilities to communicate their thesis or dissertation research. Each student is given three minutes and the use of one PowerPoint slide to present the significance of his or her research topic. According to, this competition’s genesis was formulated by the University of Queensland, which challenges graduate students conducting research to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience. John Z. Kiss, dean of the Graduate School, believes students benefit from participating in the 3MT competition.

“Good communication skills are an essential part of a graduate education and are required for professional success. 3MT encourages students to develop their communication skills by explaining their thesis/dissertation topic to a non-specialist general audience. The ability to communicate to a broad audience will help students throughout their professional careers.”

Harish Chander, a doctoral student in the health and kinesiology program, was awarded the grand prize in the 2013 3MT competition here at the University of Mississippi based upon the presentation of his thesis research about the “Impact on Balance While Walking in Occupational Footwear.” Chander loved and appreciated the experience the 3MT provided him with and recommends students participate in the competition.

“Overall and personally, the 3MT served as an amazing learning experience. The first preliminary rounds at Ole Miss demonstrated huge talents and research fields that were ongoing in our own campus. It brought all graduate student research into one spotlight and provided an opportunity for me and other graduate students to not only showcase their research, but to learn other grad students’ research and compete against them. Dr. John Kiss held mentoring sessions for the 3MT, which I would suggest students to take advantage of as it proved to be of great help, especially this being the inaugural 3MT at our campus. I am extremely glad that I got an opportunity to compete, present my research to other scholars, and, above all, represent Ole Miss at the SEC regional competition. The environment at the regional conference was great and just to be surrounded with fellow graduate student researchers was an amazing opportunity. I met a lot of people and got to know about their interesting research.”

Chander successfully completed his Ph.D. this summer and will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Biomechanics at Mississippi State University this fall. Chander felt that winning the 3MT helped with him obtain the job and further suggests participation by incoming graduate students.

“Winning the overall Grand Prize here at Ole Miss and competing and representing Ole Miss at the SEC regional finals for the Three Minute Thesis competition was very well recognized by MSU and in all of my job interviews. The search committee in all of job searches, their department chairs and the dean of the schools, all recognized this achievement and was well received. Hence, this opportunity couldn’t have come in the best time possible and it certainly increased my academic credibility and certainly very happy to be the student that got to represent Ole Miss. The incoming graduate students will be greatly benefited with the resources that the Graduate School is actually providing us. It is an amazing opportunity to learn, present your research and along with funding opportunities for research, makes the 3MT an extremely vital experience that all grad students should experience and it will serve as an exceptional academic accomplishment for life after grad school too.”