November 15, 2018  

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USM Graduate School Set to Host Popular Three-Minute Thesis Competition

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Graduate students at The University of Southern Mississippi will have an opportunity to showcase their research and compete for significant prizes during the 5th Annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition set for Nov. 7-9 at the Trent Lott National Center on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

Preliminary rounds will be held Nov. 7-8 from 2-5 p.m. with the finals set for Friday, Nov. 9 from 2-4 p.m.

The competition invites graduate students to describe the significance of their thesis or dissertation to a general audience in three minutes or less. Cash prizes will be awarded to the eight finalists – ranging from $250 for finalists to $1,000 for the overall winner.

Dr. Karen Coats, dean of the USM Graduate School, notes that approximately 35 students are scheduled to participate in this year’s event, which promises to feature some memorable presentations.

“The participants know the competition will be tough, so we’ve seen the quality of the presentations get better and better,” said Coats. “Our grand champion competes each year at the regional competition of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools and they always perform very well, placing in the top three of the four years we’ve competed at CSGS.”

The competition is open to any active master’s, specialist or doctoral student who has not graduated prior to Fall 2018. Students compete in one of the following four categories: 1) arts and humanities; 2) life, health and environmental sciences; 3) physical sciences and mathematics; 4) social and educational sciences and business.

Participants are required to follow a spoken word format (no poems, raps, or songs permitted). A single static PowerPoint slide was permitted, but no additional electronic media or props were allowed.

Coats points out that one of the more significance aspects of the competition is that it forces graduate students to discuss and defend their research.

“Too often researchers are so focused on the technical jargon of their field that they are unable to talk about their work to those who are not experts,” she said. “This really limits their ability to connect to the general public and consequently limits understanding of the value of the work. Communication is probably the most important ‘soft skill’ and 3MT helps students hone those skills, helping them prepare for the future job market and workplace.”

USM’s grand champion will compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional Three-Minute Thesis competition on Feb. 14-16, 2019 in Knoxville, Tenn. All expenses will be paid for travel, meals and lodging to attend the CSGS competition.

To learn more about the Southern Miss Graduate School and the Three Minute Thesis competition, call 601.266.4369 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/graduate-school