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

Register and Submit Video Presentation for Spring 2024 Preliminary Round! Submit by March 6 for consideration to participate in Final Round in March.


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. Finalists will win $250 prizes from the college, and select runners-up may receive prizes in recognition as well.

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 2024 Guidelines

The Clark School may be able to forward up to 5 finalists to the University-level competition hosted by the Graduate School in the categories of post-candidacy doctoral students and pre-candidacy doctoral students or master's students.

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.

For the Spring 2024 Clark School competition, there will be two rounds of competition: a preliminary round and final round. All competitors must participate in both rounds.

Preliminary Round - Submissions by March 6 to be considered to participate in Final Round

The Clark School is running a preliminary round of 3MT competition in order to provide structured feedback to those entering the final round and encourage continued excellence as presentations are revised and refined. All graduate students who wish to compete in the Clark School 3MT competition and be eligible to compete at the university level must register and submit a preliminary 3MT video presentation through the Clark School 3MT registration form. All submissions will receive feedback from diverse perspectives from their departments and the college.

Based on quality of presentation, diversity of technical fields, representation of academic units, and overall number of competitors, participants will be selected to continue on to the final Clark School round.

Final Round - March 15

The final round of the Clark School will be held in-person. All competitors are encouraged to revise and refine their presentations, incorporating preliminary feedback as they see fit. The Clark School will convene a jury panel of faculty and staff from across the college to select 3MT winners and finalists for the university competition.

University Competition - April 17

Clark School finalists will advance to the campus-level final-round competition which will be held in-person on April 17, 2024 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

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.

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

Video Resources Beyond UMD

Clark School 3MT Campus Winners

Zachary Lazri (ECE, 2023)
Behrad Soleimani (ECE, 2023)

Amanda O’Shaughnessy (CEE, 2022)

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)

See the Graduate School 3MT page to see other 3MT winners' videos.

More Questions?