3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Three Minute Thesis header

The Three Minute Thesis Competition

An 80,000 word Ph.D. thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit...3 minutes.
Special thanks to our sponsor RiverStone for supporting this event.


3MT Overview

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

Our 3MT

We’re hosting our 7th annual 3MT competition this year, and we are excited to do this in person again! To help students prepare for the 3MT we offer a 6-part workshop series that will guide students through the whole process-- developing the talk, creating the slide, and practicing the presentation. Learn more about each session with the workshop series flyer and be sure to register for the competition if you want to participate.

2021 3MT Winners

The Graduate School faciliates a six-part workshop series designed to help prepare you for the 3MT competition. From brainstorming your presentation content to honing your public speaking skills, these workshops guide you through all the necessary steps for a successful 3MT. Read more about each workshop on the workshop series flyer. See this semester's schedule and register for the competition here.


2020 - See all participants here





2022 Competition


2022 3MT Practice Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students (space limited)
  • When: 3-5pm February 16th
  • Where: Durham - location to be announced
  • Registration: Closes February 11th

2022 3MT First Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students (spaces limited)
  • When: 3-5pm March 1st and 2nd
  • Where: MUB Theater II
  • Registration: Closes Friday February 18th
  • Note: Students must be available for one of the first round dates as well as the final round

2022 3MT Final Round:

  • Who: Top 12 students from first round advance
  • When: 3-5 p.m. March 22nd
  • Where: MUB Theater II
  • 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, etc.) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the front of the theater.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

3 Minute Thesis presentations are judged using the following criteria:

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect so that other aspects of the presentation felt 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?