Skip to main content Skip to main content
Exterior view of the Student Success Building.

Three-Minute Talk Competition

The Office of Graduate Studies is honored to bring the Three-Minute Talk  competition, which is a subset of the 3MT developed by The University of Queensland to MSU Denver. During the Three-Minute Talk competition, graduate students across departments present their theses or research projects to a university audience in three minutes using a single PowerPoint slide.  This unique opportunity helps students strengthen academic and presentation skills, while promoting cross-departmental connections and interdisciplinary work during the networking event held after the competition.  The first-place winner, runner-up, and people’s choice winner receive a monetary prize.

Winner: $500 prize, and the opportunity to compete in the statewide competition. 
Runner-Up: $250 prize
Third Place: $150 prize
People’s Choice: Audience members will vote for the “People’s Choice” winner at the Finals

Why Participate?

Here are some of the benefits of participating in a Three-Minute Talk Competition:

• Strengthen presentation skills and public speaking
• Enhance ability to communicate your research
• Networking opportunity
• Build your CV/Resume
• Recognition and prizes


Students currently enrolled (full or part-time status) and actively engaged in research. The project must include specific objectives or investigative questions and how you will support your conclusion.


• 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 must be held within a three-minute time limit.
• Presentations are to commence from the stage.
• A timer will be displayed on a monitor at the front of the room.
• The presentation should be comprehensible to an audience with varied expertise.

Judging Criteria

Comprehension and content

• Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
• Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
• Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
• Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
• 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 and 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 speaker 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?

Register here to be part of the competition.  

Three-Minute Talk
Date: January 28th
Time: 12:00-1:30- exact times of presentations will be announced prior to the event. 
Location: Auraria Library- Discovery Wall 

Annual Awards Ceremony


Prior to Commencement graduates, faculty and mentors are eligible for honors and awards presented at a university-wide event.  Awards acknowledge the superlative actions and achievements of individuals who consistently exceed programmatic expectations.

Graduate Student Exemplar 
Eligibility: Graduating master’s students 
Nomination: Faculty members or administrators 
Description: This award recognizes a graduating student who excelled academically and has either overcome tremendous odds to be successful or has consistently made contributions that benefit others.  This student’s service, leadership or other distinctive efforts may have been to the campus, local, national or international community. 
Outstanding Graduate Program Director
Eligibility: All Graduate Program Directors 
Nomination: Graduate Directors may be nominated by faculty members, administrators or graduate students. 
Description: This award recognizes a person who has made a significant impact on graduate education and/or in support of graduate students in his/her program during the academic year.  The outstanding Graduate Program Director may have made innovations and/or contributions to enhance curriculum, programming, recruitment, retention or placement. 
Mentor of the Year
Eligibility: YAM Mentor 
Nomination: Mentors may be nominated by graduate students or faculty members 
Description: This award recognizes a YAM mentor who has shown tremendous commitment to mentoring and supporting a first year graduate student.  This honor is given to a YAM mentor who has made distinctive efforts in mentoring by: (1) advising mentees on ways to become professional leaders in their field, (2) shaping the academic work of a graduate student, or (3) providing exceptional personal support and development to a graduate student. 


At the beginning of the Fall  semester, the Office of Graduate Studies invites all new graduate students to participate in an orientation designed to introduce students to graduate life at MSU Denver. Topics covered include (but are not limited to): the purpose of graduate education, strategies for success in graduate school, campus services, academic resources, and public safety.  The information provided is essential for incoming graduate students.   

Individual schools or departments may offer a separate orientation program geared to the specific concerns of their field of study. International students are required to participate in all new graduate student orientations (including the International Orientation sponsored by the Student Academic Success Center).

Office of Graduate Studies Orientation 
Date: Thursday, August 13, 2020
Time: TBD (lunch and refreshments provided)
Location: TBD

Edit this page