The Big Pitch, CGU’s 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, challenges our graduate students to concisely convey the significance and sophistication of their research to a non-specialist audience. A powerful way to develop and showcase student academic, presentation, and research communication skills, the competition is a fast-paced and fun event that highlights the innovative and dynamic work being done across the CGU graduate student community.

The Big Pitch is a 3-minute/1-slide presentation. Competitors are required, given the time and slide constraints, to condense their research area, question, and analysis—along with why it matters—to only the most vital and engaging parts. The audience is made up of students, staff, faculty, and alumni from across the University, so participants must translate their research for a diverse, non-specialist audience in a way that does not render it superficial. Over the course of a preliminary round and a final round, students will be evaluated by a panel of faculty, staff, alumni, and community members on how well they present in terms of comprehension and content as well as engagement and communication.

The Process

  1. All prospective competitors must register by the registration deadline.
  2. All registrants must submit their PowerPoint slide(s) using CGU’s supplied template and the link to their prerecorded pitch that has been uploaded to a personal YouTube account to by the deadline.
  3. Slides must follow The Big Pitch 2023 Presentation Requirements or they will not be accepted.
  4. All registered participants compete in the preliminary round by submitting their prerecorded video.
  5. The top six presentations of the first round advance to the finals!

All competitors will be assessed by panels of judges comprised of CGU faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. All presentations will be judged based on The Big Pitch Judging Rubric.

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


  1. The Big Pitch 2023 is virtual.
  2. Competitors will submit a file of their PowerPoint slide(s) and a prerecorded video link.
  3. Competitors are responsible for posting their video to a personal YouTube account. Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  4. All videos will be posted on the Big Pitch website for Qualifying Round judging.
  5. The 6 top scores from the preliminary round will advance to the finals.
  6. The final event will utilize a live competition format facilitated virtually via Zoom.
  7. Finalists will not be allowed to use their prerecorded video in lieu of a live virtual presentation.
  8. A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute.
  9. A single title slide is also allowed (but not required).
  10. Presentations are considered to have begun when a presenter starts their pitch through speech (timing does not include a Big Pitch title slide—it begins when the competitor starts speaking, not necessarily the start of the video).
  11. The PowerPoint slide cannot be changed between rounds.
  12. The presentation must be filmed: (1) horizontally; (2) on a plain or mostly plain background; (3) from a static position; and, (4) from a single camera angle.
  13. The 3 minutes of audio must be continuous—no sound edits or breaks.
  14. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  15. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  16. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  17. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  18. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

During both the preliminary and final rounds, each participant will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension & Content

  1. Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  2. Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  3. 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?
  4. 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

  1. Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
    Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  2. Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  3. Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?