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3 Minute Thesis (3MT®)

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

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

Participation will raise your research profile, develop your skills in public engagement and communication, and help you network with researchers from around the world.


Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their transfer milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT® competitions at all levels. If your Viva Voce will take place before the date of the University final you are not eligible to enter the competition. Those who have not yet passed their transfer milestone, have already had their Viva Voce, or have already graduated, are not eligible. 


  • 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 in front of the audience.
  • 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

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and content

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

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise 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?


Applications will be shortlisted for the BU competition, and the BU competition will be judged by a multidisciplinary judging panel. The winner of the BU competition will have their presentation submitted to the Vitae 3MT® UK 2018 online semi-final competition and the top six competitors from the UK semi-final will progress to the UK final. Should you be selected for the BU competition we will offer a no obligation 3MT® mock presentation approximately one week before the main competition. The competition will be video recorded for submission into the Vitae online semi-final.  


2018/19 timeline coming soon.


2018/19 prizes revealed soon.

How to apply

2018/18 applications open soon.