Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) celebrates exciting research conducted by PhD students worldwide. Developed by The University of Queensland, the annual competition is open to all Australian universities.

The competition challenges research students to present a compelling oration on their thesis in just three minutes, using language suitable for an intelligent, but non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one slide, but no other visual resources.

Benefits of participating

The range of benefits include:

  • development of your public speaking, communication and networking skills
  • generation of public and media interest in your research
  • increasing your ability to translate your research into everyday language
  • participation of research training workshops through the Graduate Research School
  • having fun and winning prizes.


Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone by the date of the first heat, including candidates whose thesis is under submission, are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions.

Graduates are not eligible.


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description is allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files).
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment).
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum, competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word, but no poems, raps or songs are allowed.
  • 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

Comprehension & 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 or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement & 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?

Learn more about the competition

Previous winners