Top of page
Global Site Navigation

Research Week

Local Section Navigation

Help us improve our content by rating this page.

Page rating system

Please tell us why your content rating for this page is low.
If you'd rather not, just click Submit.

You are here: Main Content

Three Minute Thesis (3MTⓇ)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master by Research students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance.

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

Why participate in the 3MT?

  1. Develop your professional skills in public speaking, communication and networking in a supportive environment.
  2. Effective communication is a critical skill to ensure the impact of your research reaches target audiences such as academia, media, industry and community.
  3. Have fun, win prizes and generate public and media interest in your research.

Taking part in the 3MT has helped my public speaking ability and enabled me to have the confidence to speak at industry conferences which I have done since. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to go to the Trans-Tasman 3MT Final. I was on-stage with some of the brightest new researchers from Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.

Philippa Vojnovic, ECU 3MT 2014 Winner
PhD Candidate, School of Business

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?


Participants must be:

Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation of candidature (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 Trans-Tasman 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

ECU Specific Eligibility:

MBR and pre-confirmation PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active in program will still be eligible to participate in the ECU 3MT competition up to Faculty finals but cannot advance to the UQ Trans-Tasman Final.

For more information, visit the Three Minute Thesis website.

Competition 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 (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.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. 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.

Competition Prizes

ECU Final Prize Money

  • First Prize: $2000 and an all expenses paid trip to University of Queensland  (UQ) to represent at ECU at the 3MT Trans-Tasman Competition Final.
  • Runner Up: $1250
  • Third prize: $750
  • People’s Choice award: $500

UQ Trans-Tasman 3MT Prize Money

  • First Prize: $5000 research travel grant
  • Runner Up: $2000 research travel grant
  • People’s Choice: $1000 research travel grant

How to enter

Applications to enter the 3MT competition for 2015 have closed. 

You are encouraged to consider taking part in the competition in 2016! Why not discuss this with your supervisor and other candidates who have already taken part in 3MT?

If you have any queries about 3MT please contact:

Graduate Research School
Sharon Smart, Project Officer
Phone: +61 8 6304 2802


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

Skip to top of page