Three Minute Thesis

The 2018 Three Minute Thesis competition was held February 8th at the UMKC Student Union. Eleven doctoral and master’s level students competed on topics ranging from solar systems to cancer research. Congratulations to the 2018 Winners:

Round One:
First Prize: Danielle Thomas & LaDonna McCullough
People’s Choice: Cynthia McDonald & Navid Ayon

Final Round:
Grand Prize: Danielle Thomas

People’s Choice: Madalyn Weston

Congratulations to the final round competitors (click their name to see their video)

Navid Ayon

Ashutosh Barve

LaDonna McCullough

Daniel Morel


The Three Minute Thesis ( is a competition with cash prizes that is designed to sharpen your ability to communicate your research work in an interview for employment. The upcoming competition will be next Spring.

  • What is the Three Minute Thesis? It is an oral summary of your thesis or dissertation research aimed at an educated lay audience within a period of time not to exceed 3 minutes. This is not as easy as it sounds, as students tend to want to say a lot about their research and tend to be technical.
  • The program is organized as a contest. UMKC will hold the contest in the Spring semester. There will be a meeting to prepare to organize such a presentation. There will be a series of second meetings for you to practice your presentation with the Graduate School staff. On the scheduled day, we plan to have the actual presentations by students that will be judged by panels of faculty.
  • Prizes: $50 for the People’s Choice winner of multiple rooms in Round One, $300 for First Place winner of multiple rooms in Round One, $100 for the People’s Choice winner of the final round, Regional competition travel expenses paid for the Grand Prize winner of the final round.

To see Dr. Peggy Ward-Smith’s orientation video Click here

You can see examples of winning presentations from other universities at the following website:

Below are the rules:


– 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 (e.g. 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.

Title of Three Minute Thesis

-Brief and non-technical


      • Can the eyes of a plant help feed the world?
      • Why death matters
      • Gut bugs are Responsible for Digestion

How to apply?

You must fill out an online survey in the fall semester. We will update this page and send out an announcement when sign-up is available.