Register For The Graduate School Expo


Are you a master’s or doctoral graduate student? Do you want to showcase your research or scholarship while competing in a fun and prestigious event? Sign up for the 2018 Graduate Student Expo, Thursday February 15th in the TUC Great Hall from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Expo, which is an adjudicated university-wide event, consists of three main competitions: the Three Minute Thesis, the Poster Forum, and the Creative Arts Gallery. Registration deadlines for the three competitions are January 15th, January 21st, and February 1st by 11:59 p.m., respectively. Students may choose to participate in one or as many as all three events.  

All graduate students from all disciplines are invited to participate, and registration is free. Yes, you read that correctly. Free. Also, there will be pizza for everyone at noon. Yes, pizza!

Typically between 100 and 125 graduate students partake in the annual event, speed-explaining their research in a mini-performance that is the Three Minute Thesis, showcasing the logistics of their studies tangibly and orally in the Poster Forum, and presenting creative works in the Creative Arts Gallery.


The Three Minute Thesis, or the 3MT, is perhaps the star event of the expo. It was originally developed at The University of Queensland in 2008 and is now held in over 600 universities and institutions worldwide (63 different countries, to be exact). The exercise is simple yet intricately unique: students are asked to summarize their research for an audience in both entertaining and understandable language—in other words, how can you best explain your research in a mere three minutes, just 180 seconds? And not just a simple explanation, but a performance of sorts. Be concise but not boring, be thorough but not dragging, be accurate yet endearing. The winner of the 3MT competition will receive a $300 award and will be registered to compete in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ regional 3MT® competition. For the UC winner, travel expenses will be paid by UC as they advance through the international competition. Second and third place will receive $200 and $100, respectively. To register for the Three Minute Thesis, click here.

The Poster Forum, an equally popular facet of the competition, is more or less a science fair on steroids. Students are asked to design a professional and interesting poster illustrating their research, the poster being no more than four feet wide (unless you specifically contact Megan Tischner for an exception). Each participant is graded by two judges that assess the poster using the strict judging rubric. The combined scores from both judges will be used to determine the winner. Each category will have at least one champion. All winners will receive a $100 award. Categories include arts & humanities, life sciences & medicine, physical sciences & engineering, and social & behavioral sciences. To register for the Poster Forum, click here.

The Creative Arts Gallery, the competition’s more obvious ode to creativity and purely artistic endeavors, displays graduate students’ art consisting of all media forms. This includes but is not limited to ceramics, drawing and sketching, electronic art, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. All artwork will be assessed by a single judge and the judge’s decision is final. The winner will receive a $100 award. To register for the Creative Arts Gallery, click here.

As you probably can already tell, the value in the Expo is staggering, and it is this:

Not only will you receive constructive discipline-specific feedback, but you will find ample opportunities to explain your research in refreshing and new ways. You will improve your resume and speaking skills (especially in terms of science communication), gaining the ability to explain your research in both a professional yet easily understandable language.

The professional development aspects of this event are endless, and regardless of all these things, who would pass up an excuse to talk about their research among other passionate grad students and faculty? It’s a no brainer.

Again, registration is free. All UC master’s and doctoral graduate students are invited and encouraged to participate in the 2018 Graduate Student Expo, Thursday February 15th in the TUC Great Hall from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.


Written by Danniah Daher, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office