About the Three Minute Thesis

What is a Three Minute Thesis (3MT)?

The international Three Minute Thesis logo

First developed by The University of Queensland, Australia in 2008, the international Three Minute Thesis competition challenges students to summarize their research or scholarship for a nonspecialist audience using only three minutes of speech and a single PowerPoint slide.

Sample some of the best three minute theses by watching winning 3MT presentations from around the globe
 

3MT Virtual Competitor Guide

The University of Queensland, founder and host of the international 3MT competition, has prepared a 3MT virtual competitor guide. This guide offers advise for preparing your 3MT speech and slide, presentation tips, and how to's for recording and preparing your 3MT video. 
 

Virtual Competition Rules

A graduate student delivers her three minute thesis speech on a stage.
  • Competitors will record and submit their video to the Graduate School prior to the competition. Submissions files must be in video format. Files sent in other formats will not be accepted. 
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified. (The video may be longer than 3 minutes so long as the speech is 3 minutes or less.) 
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute OR submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Please note: competitors will not be judged on video/recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Judging Criteria

All presentations will be evaluated and scored using the following criteria, as established by the international competition. (The international Three Minute Thesis competition made some updates to improve the clarity of the competition's judging criteria in February 2018.)

Comprehension & 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 & Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize 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?

Questions?

Please email the Graduate School 3MT organizers (3mt@uc.edu) with questions.