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Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

 Quintard Motsch Livio





Watch the videos of our 3MT® Winners!


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by graduate level students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills. 

This highly engaging competition supports their capacity to effectively, and compellingly explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.  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.

According to the Dean of UQ's Graduate School, Professor Alastair McEwan, the 3MT® was designed to develop skills that will give students an important career advantage once they complete their studies.

"It is a reality that many PhD students will need to communicate their ideas and results to people who may not necessarily have expertise in their field. 3MT® develops the ability of students to communicate the significance and outcomes of their project in a short space of time." - Professor McEwan

3mt 2016 Lauren Whitehurst History

The first 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 170 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.  Columbus State University hosted its first 3MT in 2017.


Active Masters, Specialist, and Doctoral students engaged in thesis or dissertation work. Students must present the research that will result in their thesis or dissertation. At minimum, research must have progressed through the completion of the literature review to be considered. Research that will not result in a thesis or dissertation cannot be presented in the competition.  Students that have graduated are not eligible. 

While it is not required that students participate in both the 3MT® competition and the Graduate Research Conference, those working on thesis or dissertation research are strongly encouraged to do so.


Winner: $300

Runner-up: $150

The winner and runner up will also receive an award certificate and letter.  The audience will vote to select a People's Choice winner who will be recognized at the competition.   


Participants will submit their presentation information for both the 3MT® competition and the Graduate Research Conference presentations by submitting a proposal to the conference.

There is a modest registration fee of $40 for non-CSU participants and $20 for CSU participants, which covers the cost of participating in both the 3MT® and  the Graduate Research Conference.  You will pay the registration fee when you register to attend the conference.

The links to submit a proposal and register to attend the conference are on the Conference Main page under the section "Presenting".


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from3mt 2016 Javier Livio 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 (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

At every level of the competition 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 & CommunicationMarissa Granberry

  • 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?

 Student Resources

For questions about the 3MT® competition or the CSU Graduate Research Conference, contact Amber Dees,