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.

30 participants will be selected to compete in the 2023 3MT. Every applicant who is selected and competes in the 2023 competition will recieve a $200 reward with additional cash prizes as follows:
Advancement to the final round = $200 per person
First Place = $1000
Second Place = $750
Third Place = $500
People's Choice = $500

Click the button bellow to submit your application! Applications close on Febrary 25th at 12:00 PM.
2023 3MT Application


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 8th annual 3MT competition this academic year in March (see schedule below), and we are excited to do this in person again! The 2022 competition was a smashing success and we can't wait to see what our new and returning participants bring in 2023. To help students prepare for the 3MT we offer a workshop series that will guide students through the whole process-- developing the talk, creating the slide, and practicing the presentation. More information about the workshop series and registration for the 2023 competition is coming soon!

2022 3MT Winners

2023 Competition


2023 3MT Practice Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students (space limited)
  • When: TBD, we will partner with Seacoast Sips of Science
  • Where: Durham - location to be announced
  • Registration: TBD

2023 3MT First Round:

  • Who: Open to all graduate students (spaces limited)
  • When: 3-5pm March 7th and 8th
  • Where: MUB Theater I
  • Registration: TBD
  • Note: Students must be available for one of the first round dates as well as the final round

2023 3MT Final Round (Followed by Reception):

  • Who: Top 12 students from first round advance
  • When: 3-5 p.m. March 30th (followed by reception) 
  • Where: MUB Theater II

The Graduate School facilitates workshops designed to help prepare you for the 3MT competition. This year, we are offering a four part Public Speaking and Science Communication series open to all graduate students and postdocs. We will be offering a $50 incentive to the first 50 students who register and attend two of the workshops below, or a $100 if you attend all four! Click here to learn more and register.

We will also be offering additional workshops, resources, and a $200 award for up to 30 students who apply and are admitted into the 2023 3MT competition. Twelve students who reach the final round will be offered additional opportunities and cash prizes. These opportunities will be shared directly with participants. 


  • 1st place: Sathya JagadeesanPhD student in Chemical Engineering
  • 2nd place: Nikolai Matukhno, Master's Student in Mechanical Engineering
  • 3rd place & People’s Choice Award: Nick Pollak, PhD candidate in Chemistry







  • 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?