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Three Minute Thesis (3MTⓇ)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) where research students have three minutes to explain their research and its significance.

3MT is not an exercise in trivialising or 'dumbing-down' research, but challenges candidates to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

3MT provides a unique opportunity to profile and celebrate the innovative research conducted by research students at ECU and from around the world.

The ECU Three Minute Thesis Final will be held on 13 August 2014. Register now.

Why do it?

  • Develop professional skills in public speaking, communication and networking in a supportive environment
  • Improve your ability to explain your research topic in accessible terms to a lay audience
  • Have fun, win prizes and generate public and media interest in what you do
  • Translating research into 'everyday' speak is an important skill
  • The Graduate Research School provides research training workshops for all participants

Eligibility for the ECU 3MT Competition

  • Active Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master by Research and Professional Doctorate students (thesis under submission, no graduates).
* Note: Master by Research and Professional Doctorate students can take part in the ECU finals, participate in the skills training workshops, compete for prize money and have the opportunity to promote their research. However, due to a rule change by the Trans-Tasman competition organisers, Master by Research and Professional Doctorate students are unable to take part in the Trans-Tasman competition this year.

Eligibility for Trans-Tasman 3MT Competition

  • Active PhD students (thesis under submission, no graduates);
  • The ECU PhD finalist must be available to represent ECU at the Trans-Tasman Final.

Timeline for the 3MT competition 2014

  • 6th and 8th August - The ECU semi-finals will be held.
  • 13 August (2.00pm) - ECU will host the 2014 3MT final, Building 32, Joondalup campus.
  • 3rd November - The University of Western Australia will host the 2014 Trans-Tasman 3MT, in the Octagon Theatre, UWA.


For more information, contact:

The Graduate Research School
Project Officer
Sharon Smart
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 2802


  • A single static presentation slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description)
  • 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • The decision of the judging panel is final

Judging 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?

3MT history

The first 3MT was held at The University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 HDR students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its widespread implementation by universities has led to the development of an international competition.

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

“Participating in the competition was an uplifting, worthwhile experience”.

“The three minute thesis competition helped me to step back and appreciate my research. I'd been so bogged down in the details it was good to get back to basics again. Condensing my research into three minutes made me remember why I started researching my topic in the first place. It reignited my enthusiasm. It was also interesting to hear other researchers' topics and to witness their passion and dedication as they presented their talks. Participating in the competition was an uplifting, worthwhile experience”.

Sian Teague, ECU PhD Candidate
2013 3MT Winner
School of Communications and Arts

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