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Three Minute Thesis Competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) is a skills development activity that challenges research candidates to explain their research project to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.

Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, enthusiasm for the 3MT concept and its adoption in numerous universities led to the development of an international competition.


  • Rules
    • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration)
    • No additional electronic media (eg sound and video files) are permitted
    • No additional props (eg 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 made using the spoken word (no poems, raps or songs)
    • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech
    • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final
  • Judging criteria

    Each competitor will be judged on the following three, equally weighted 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 oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Who is eligibile to enter?

    Active doctoral candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation of candidature (including candidates whose thesis is under examination) by the date of their first 3MT presentation are eligible to participate in all levels of the Competition, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT.

  • Why do it?
    • Develop critical communications skills to ‘sell’ your research project
    • Gain a wider audience for your research
    • Counts as a work-in-progress activity (refer to Section 17 of the Research and Professional Doctorate Degree Regulations)
    • Generate interest from key stakeholders, including media
    • Present before an esteemed panel and obtain valuable feedback
    • Win great prize money
    • A chance to represent ACU at the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition

2016 3MT