Three Minute Thesis - 3MT

Three Minute Thesis


The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by graduate students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 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.


Currently enrolled master's and doctoral students in all disciplines at the University of Texas at Austin will be eligible to participate in 3MT™. Work presented must have been conducted at the University of Texas at Austin. Students should be in the final stages of graduate school so they have some sound conclusions and impacts from their research. Graduates are not eligible. If you have any questions, please contact Danielle Thoma

Competition Registration

November 12, 2021 | In-Person* | 9 a.m. | Register Here

*On Oct. 1, the 3MT team will evaluate the community spread of COVID-19 and decide if the competition will be held virtually.

Information Sessions

Preparation Workshop Series

  • September 21, 2021 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Telling Your Research Story | Register Here
  • September 28, 2021 | 5:30 - 7 p.m. | Research Speed-Dating 2021 | Register Here​​
  • October 7, 2021 | 2 - 3:30 p.m. | Visualizing Your Research Story | Register Here
  • October 28, 2021 | 4 - 5:30 p.m. | Public Speaking Workshop | Register Here
  • Rehearse virtually with a Public Speaking Consultant | Make an Appointment

Competition Rules

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • 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).
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). 
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted.
  • 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.
  • 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 the audience.

Comprehension and 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 and 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?