3 Minutes. 1 Slide. Your Work.

The format is simple. Participants have 3 minutes and a single PowerPoint slide to argue for the significance of their research, project, or art. This lends itself to business projects and artist statements as well as research work in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Big Pitch, CGU’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition, is open to all CGU students at any stage of their academic progress. For Fall 2020, the Big Pitch will be entirely virtual!

With an audience of students, staff, alumni, community members, and faculty, presentations are meant to be concise and accessible—they tell a story, use humor, and highlight the significance of student work instead of only focusing on complex details. Through this unique event, attendees learn about exciting research from across the university, and competitors develop their communication skills and compete for prizes!

Register to Participate

Important Information about the 2020 Online Format

  • Presentations are prerecorded.
  • Recording and/or editing quality are not included in the adjudicating criteria.
  • Different judging panels of faculty, staff, alumni, and community members score the preliminary and final rounds.
  • If selected to advance the finals, participants may submit a new recording between rounds.
  • Videos must meet the competition’s criteria with some optional inclusions allowed. Download The Big Pitch 2020 Presentation Requirements for all the details.


First Place $1000
Second Place $500
Third Place $250
Audience’s Winner $250
Remaining Finalists $150
All participants will receive event swag!

Important Dates

Finals Friday, November 20th
Preliminary Round Monday, November 16th to Wednesday, November 18th
PowerPoint & Video Submission Deadline Thursday, November 12th at 11:59 p.m.
Final Participation Deadline Monday, November 9th
Priority Participation Deadline Friday, October 30th

Register to Attend

Why Should I Participate?

As a student presenter, you develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills that give you a distinct career advantage after graduation. You strengthen your ability to break down complex material and explain research concisely. You improve your presentation skills by having to speak engagingly and clearly to a large audience in a short space of time. Finally, you strengthen your expertise at meeting the demands of a non-specialist audience—a valuable skill in a wide range of professions.

The Big Pitch is also beneficial more broadly by building CGU’s academic and professional culture. In addition to the professional experience presenters receive, the event contributes to the university’s intellectual culture by providing attendees an opportunity to engage in the academic life of the university outside of the confines of their department or usual role. Both internally and externally, for students and the campus community as a whole, the Big Pitch contributes to CGU’s academic mission of creating new knowledge and preparing leaders with the purpose and skills to make the world a better place.

*Students can compete more than once. Participants are allowed to enter over multiple years as long as they are active CGU students.

Ways to Participate

  1. Register to train and compete. Come for the training and then move on to the competition.
  2. Register and jump straight into the competition. Not recommended unless you have experience presenting in similar situations but still an option!
  3. Join the training without competing. Receive all the benefits of learning to talk about your research concisely and effectively by joining us for the training sessions.


  • Big Pitch Information Session: Monday, September 28th from 12-1 p.m. Learn all about the event from the changes for the virtual format to the rules for participation and criteria the judges use to assess the pitches to the structure of the preliminary and final rounds. We will also discuss all the deadlines, the dates for the series of preparative webinars being offered, and how to take advantage of all the support programs put in place for the event.

Accompanying Materials: Big Pitch Information Session PPT; Big Pitch Information Sheet; The Big Pitch 2020 Presentation Requirements.

  • Big Pitch Strategies: Tuesday, October 6th from 4-5 p.m. Preparing a presentation that is limited to one slide and three minutes to a non-specialist audience is a unique challenge; doing that on a complex topic that is meant to be condensed but not dumbed down is even more so! This webinar will address of a number of helpful strategies in approaching this rhetorical situation, from the use of narratives or themes to structure key ideas to how to insert real-life examples to how much technical information is appropriate.

Accompanying materials: Big Pitch Strategies; Big Pitch Strategies Handout; Feynman Method Handout.

  • Humanities Forum on the Big Pitch: Wednesday, October 14th from 12-1 p.m. At first glance, it might not appear that work in the Humanities or the Arts is a good fit for the format and culture of 3-Minute Thesis competitions like the Big Pitch. With our Big Pitch, we are actively trying to shift that idea and make the event an opportunity to showcase projects from across all departments at CGU. In this forum for Humanities and Art students, learn some starting points for how to talk about your art, historical analysis, cultural and literary critique, and more for the Big Pitch! 
  • Big Pitch PowerPoint Slides: Tuesday, October 20th from 12-1 p.m. Given the parameters of the Big Pitch, your single PowerPoint should not be designed in the same way you would typically design a slide. Too much information will distract attention from you, and too little might give the impression that you do not have a lot to say. Learn some ideas for how to find a middle ground and create a great complement to your presentation.
  • Presentation Skills: Thursday, October 22nd from 3-4 p.m. This interative webinar will cover techniques for preparing for and successfully delivering recorded presentations.
  • Big Pitch Strategies & PowerPoint Slides: Thursday, November 5th from 12-1:30 p.m. Key elements of both of the strategies and PowerPoint slide webinars combined into one!

More Resources

  1. Learn about the application process to ensure you submit everything correctly!
  2. Make sure you know all the guidelines and judging criteria.
  3. Request access to The Big Pitch Canvas page and receive additional resources by emailing 3MT@cgu.edu.
  4. Visit our tips and resources page.
  5. Make an appointment at the Center for Writing & Rhetoric to develop your presentation, work on your slide, or practice your delivery.