ACU Research

We support our research

candidates to excel in

research and scholarship

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 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students. It cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports student’s capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience

  • 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 to commence from the stage
    • 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 assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.


    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?


  • 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. 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 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

2017 3MT