Shaheen 3MT®


Final Competition

Jordan Auditorium,
Mendoza College of Business

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception to follow


  • College of Arts and Letters/Keough School of Global Affairs
    • Henry Downes, Economics: "Did Organized Labor Induce Labor? The Surprising Role of Unions in the American Baby Boom"
    • Joséphine Lechartre, Peace Studies and Political Science: "Collaborative Decision-Making: Learning Democratic Participation in Refugee Camps"
    • Nicholas Herrud, History: "Ukrainian Identity through Borders and Memory in the Inter War Period"
  • College of Engineering
    • Bo Wei Cynthia Chen, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: "Cost of Natural Gas: Wasted Energy in Production"
    • Liliya Chernysheva, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences: "The First Step to Cleaning Up Our Environment Is Analytics"
    • Hoon Lee, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering: "Electron Transport: What We Can Learn from Missing Data"
  • College of Science
    • O. Amandhi Mathews, Biological Sciences: "The Neuronal GPS"
    • Kurt Kohler, Biological Sciences: "Building a Homestead in the Catheterized Bladder: A Bacteria’s Survival Guide"
    • Gowthami Mahendran, Chemistry and Biochemistry: "Giving Smooth Brain Babies a Shot at Life"


  • Michael Hildreth, Ph.D.
    Dean of the Graduate School; Associate Provost and Vice President for Graduate Studies; and Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Monica Arul Jayachandran, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech
  • Essaka Joshua, Ph.D.
    Professor, Department of English and former Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Letters
  • Margaret Meserve, Ph.D.
    Glynn Family Honors Collegiate Professor of History and Vice President and Associate Provost for Academic Space and Support
  • Jeff Rea
    President and CEO, South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce

Master of Ceremonies:

  • Pedro Ribeiro, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications


About 3MT®

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT® ) competition celebrates the exciting research being conducted by graduate students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates student’s academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. The first 3MT® competition was held at University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 with 160 research higher degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010, the 3MT® competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011 the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT® competitions are now held in over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.


In 2016, Notre Dame conducted its inaugural 3MT® event for doctoral students. In 2021, the ND competition expanded to encourage all Graduate School students to participate. 



Why Participate?


Skills development

The exercise develops academic, presentation and research communication skills, while developing the students ability to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Networking Opportunities

3MT® participants will have an opportunity to meet new students, faculty and staff within the University as well as finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of networking events following their participation in the competition.

Fostering Intellectual Community

The 3MT® competition provides a valuable opportunity for all graduate students to come together, get to know one another, and talk about their research.

Representing the University of Notre Dame

3MT® finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of public events following their participation in the competition.


Prizes are an important incentive for individuals entering the competition. Judges will determine 1st and 2nd place prizes for the competition and the audience will vote on a People’s Choice Award. First & second place winners will not be eligible for People’s Choice Award. The following prizes will be awarded:


Qualifications Finals: 1st Place Finals: 2nd Place Finals: People's Choice

$100 (Top 3 from each Division)

$2,000 $1,500 $1,000

Competition Overview

Stages of Competition


In the first round of competition, students will compete within divisions: Engineering, Science, Arts & Letters / Keough. The top 3 contestants from each division will compete in the final competition.

Final Competition

The final competition will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The highest scoring finals participant who has passed their candidacy exams will have the option to compete at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) competition in Clayton, Missouri on April 5, 2024. If you have questions on candidacy eligibility, please refer to the Graduate School Bulletin of Information.


Currently enrolled master’s and doctoral students are eligible to participate. Work presented must have been conducted at the University of Notre Dame. Returning participant presentations must be substantially different from previous presentations. All participants must attend one informational session to compete in the qualification round.

Three Minute Countdown

Students will be able to see a two-way clock that will display a countdown for three minutes and the timer will buzz at the end of three minutes. Going over the allotted three minutes results in automatic disqualification from the competition.


  • 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 participants 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.
  • Please submit a single static slide for your presentation to Professional Development ( by 11:59 PM EST on Feb. 11 for the qualification round and by 11:59 PM EST on Feb. 26 for the final round.
  • After all slides have been submitted, presentation order will be generated at random.

Judging Panel

  • Qualifying Heats will include three to five judges.
  • Final Event will include five judges.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each participant will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

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 presenter 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 presenter 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?

Professional Development Opportunities                           

To view previous University of Notre Dame 3MT Competition finals videos, go to the Notre Dame Graduate School YouTube page

Presenter Center Consultations hosted by the Writing Center

  • Schedule online
  • Create an account and then click on the Presenter Center and/or 3MT drop down calendar.
  • 30-45 minute feedback sessions.
  • If you don't see a calendar time that works for you, please email the Writing Center.

Graduate Career Services Consultations

Schedule a consultation with your respective Graduate Career Consultant for guidance in preparation, mock presentations, and general feedback of your presentation

Distilling Your Scholarly Research in a 3MT® Format Consultations

  • 30-minute feedback sessions.
  • Please email to make an appointment with a graduate fellowship consultant.

One Button Studio – Virtual Coaching for 3MT®

  • Located in Hesburgh Library, you can record yourself and review it.
  • Consultations are also available for feedback. See included handout in participant packet.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • The 3MT® presentation must represent the original research of the participant.
  • The authors of the 3MT® presentation will retain all rights regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below.
  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include the Internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions. This means, if your research includes commercial-in- confidence or culturally sensitive material you should think very carefully about how you can 

For questions, please email Mary Ann McDowell, associate dean for professional development.


Alex Boomgarden Wins 2023 Notre Dame Graduate School Shaheen 3MT® Competition

Alex Boomgarden, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Biological Sciences, won the University of Notre Dame’s 2023 Shaheen Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) on Wednesday, March 1.

Read more

2023 Shaheen 3MT® Winner videos:

1st Place – Alex Boomgarden

2nd Place – Mariama Dampha

3rd Place – People's Choice Winner, Isaac Angera