The Clark School recruits and prepares graduate student researchers with the communication skills to become world-class competitors.


The 3MT competition challenges students to communicate the significance of their research projects to a non-specialist audience in just THREE MINUTES! The Clark School invites graduate students from all research programs to compete in the annual Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT).  View the History and Overview of the 3MT Competition for more information, and look below for further guidelines, resources, and examples from past Clark School campus winners.

Each spring the Clark School hosts this competition to provide engineering graduate students a rewarding opportunity (with prize money!) to train and demonstrate both their elite research and communication skills.

Today, both the climate of the workplace and civic life have shifted to expect or need more effective science and engineering communication education at large along with more effective STEM communicators. In the workplace, employers expect engineers to serve as effective team members who can communicate complex technical ideas to non-specialists. In our Internet Age, the wide availability of information combined with a civic deficit of skills for assessing information’s validity leaves both an urgency and an opening for STEM professionals to serve as strong communicators and leaders. More than ever, the ability to communicate expertise and solve problems in partnership with communities of broad backgrounds directly will impact students’ individual success and communities’ abilities to address the problems they are facing at every scale. With these motivations in mind, the Clark School encourages your participation!

Spring 2021 Guidelines

The Clark School can forward up to 4 finalists to the University-level competition hosted by the Graduate School:

  • Two post-candidacy doctoral students
  • Two pre-candidacy doctoral students or master's students

Each Clark School finalist will also win a $250 prize! Finalists will have a chance to compete in the University-level competition for $1000 prizes as well as the chance to compete in further rounds.

Clark School competitors must be nominated from their departments; you can apply to your department 3MT selection process through this Clark School 3MT registration form. Each department can nominate one competitor from each category; please contact your department graduate offices for specific details about its selection process. Final submissions to the Clark School competition from department nominees will be due by March 1st.

**This year, due to pandemic-related restriction, all rounds of the University of Maryland 3MT competition will be based on video submissions.**

Eligibility Requirements: Eligible students are doctoral students and master’s students who are doing a research dissertation or thesis. Research presented in the 3MT must have been conducted at University of Maryland. Students should be able to present some conclusions and impacts from research already conducted, not merely a description of research to be conducted. Students must prepare a three-minute video with no edits and a single static slide as outlined in the “3MT Rules” below.

3MT Rules and Judging Criteria (based upon rules developed by the University of Queensland):


  • A three-minute self-made video must be submitted for the competition. No edits or splices are allowed. No reading cues are permitted in the frame.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is to be submitted along with the 3MT video (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' on the slide is permitted)
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound effects, embedded video clips) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are limited to precisely 3 minutes. Any video exceeding the time limit will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria:

  • Communication Style: Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Comprehension: Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research? Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation make the audience want to know more? 


Learn more about the 3MT competition, its history, and past 3MT winners by visiting the University of Maryland Graduate School Three-Minute Thesis Competition page.

Join a Graduate School Writing Center 3MT workshop; the Clark School will schedule additional workshops to meet competitors’ needs.

Schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Graduate Writing Fellow to help with preparing a great 3-minute talk.

Clark School 3MT Campus Winners

James Sutherland (AE, 2021)

Ashley Chapin (BIOE, 2020)
Byeol (Star) Kim (ME, 2020)
Xin Tian (ECE, 2020)

Liang Liang (CEE, 2019)

Kelsey Gray (BIOE, 2018)

Sowmya Subramanian (ECE, 2015)
Thomas E. Winkler (BIOE, 2015)

Amy Marquardt (MSE, 2014)

More Questions?

Contact Dr. Nick Slaughter, Coordinator for Graduate Affairs, at