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Three Minute Thesis

An 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to present. Your time limit ... Three minutes.

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In spring 2017, the Graduate School and Blackstone LaunchPad hosted the university's inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. This competition provides all participants with a unique and invaluable professional development experience and competition winners are awarded monetary prizes up to $1,000.

Future Competitions

The next 3MT competition is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2018. Check back soon for additional details.

About the Competition

The 3MT competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students. Developed by the University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills.

In the 3MT competition, graduate students convey the essence and importance of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes and with one PowerPoint slide. A panel of judges will determine the first, second and third place prize winners.

The first 3MT competition was held at the University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 350 universities across more than 59 countries worldwide.

Rules and Judging Criteria


  • 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) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • 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.

Judging Criteria

  • Communication style: Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Comprehension: Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?

Preparation Workshop Videos

Three 3MT preparation workshops were offered this year to explain the competition and how to communicate your research to a non-specialist audience.  Each workshop was recorded in full, and can be used as a helpful resource for those preparing for the 3MT competition.

Additional Resources

Practice your presentation

Video recording studios are available by reservation and free of charge in UB’s Silverman Library in Capen Hall. Watch yourself, assess your performance and share with others to get their feedback and improve your presentation.


Other Resources

Questions? Please review our Three Minute Thesis FAQs page.

Explore UB 3MT
Click to play video.

PhD students are challenged with effectively communicating their research to a non-specialized audience. 3MT challenges our students to do so in under three minutes. Do you have what it takes?