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Three Minute Thesis Competition


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


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by doctoral candidates. 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.It cultivates candidates’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

  • Rules
    • 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 (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 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

    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?


  • Who is eligibile to enter?

    Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation 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, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

    Graduates are not eligible.

  • 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 10.4 of the Higher Degree Research 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
  • Sponsor

    Co-op Limited

    Sponsor of the “Winner”  and “Runner-up” prizes for the Three Minute Thesis Competition ACU Final.

2018 3MT

  • 2018 Dates and Venues

    Registrations for the 2018 ACU Heats of the 3MT competition are now open.

    Register via the online form

    For any questions, please contact Research Services:

    ACU Heats

    North Sydney
    Date and time: Thursday 5th July: 10am
    Venue: 532.14.17-19 (Tenison Woods House)

    Date and time: Wednesday 11th July: 10am
    Venue: 420.2.21A-B (Mary Glowrey Building)

    Date and time: Thursday 26th July: 10.15am
    Venue: 212.2.02 (Saint John Paul II)


    ACU Final

    Date and time: Wednesday 15th August: 1pm
    Venue: 532.18 Peter Cosgrove Centre, Tenison Woods House


    Asia Pacific Final

    Date: Thursday 27th September (all day)
    Venue: University of Queensland


  • 2018 Prizes

    ACU 3MT Heat Prizes

    The winner of each heat will win a prize to the value of $250


    ACU 3MT Final Prizes

    Winner: $3,000 plus entry in the 2018 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition

    Runner-up: $2,000

    People’s Choice: $1,000


Previous years