Three Minute Thesis Competition

An academic competition that challenges Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates to explain their thesis and its significance in just three minutes.

Developed by The University of Queensland, Australia, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) challenges Higher Degree by Research candidates (HDR) to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience using a single PowerPoint slide.

Participating in 3MT develops academic, presentation and research communication skills, while developing research candidates’ ability to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

3MT provides a valuable opportunity for HDR candidates to come together (live or virtually), get to know one another and talk about their research.

3MT winners may go on to represent their university at national and international 3MT competitions which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity.

Active PhD candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first virtual presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

Please note: students enrolled in Masters by Research programs are eligible to enter local School or College competitions only. They are not eligible to enter the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition.

2022 submissions are now closed.

The 2023 application process will be publicised later in the year.

RMIT University’s 2022 competition was a Virtual 3MT, with each participant submitting a video entry.

Three Minute Thesis rules:

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.

Candidates will compete in initial School or College heats, and the winners of the School/College heats then compete in the RMIT Final.

  • 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, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed horizontally
    • Filmed on a plain background
    • Filmed from a static position
    • Filmed from one camera angle
    • Contain a 3MT title slide
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to).
  • 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.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment or 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.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  • Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the school/faculty/institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

To view all the rules, please refer to Three Minute Thesis Competition Rules.

Access resources for virtual competition here: 

All enrolled HDR candidates can register to attend 3MT training sessions run by the School of Graduate Research. 2023 training sessions will be publicised later in the year.

The RMIT Final will be held in August 2023. More details about the time and venue will be announced closer to the event.

Presentations will be judged on the basis of two criteria:

1. Comprehension and 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?

2. Engagement and 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?
  • Winner: $3,500 research grant (Ryan Hickmott from the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences was the winner of the 2022 RMIT 3MT Competition)
  • Runner Up: $1,000 research grant
  • People’s Choice Award: $500 research grant.

We encourage PhD candidates to watch the School level heats to find out what their fellow candidates are researching.

Representatives from 57 universities from across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are competing in the virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT competition in October 2023. 

More details about the 2023 Asia-Pacific Final will be published closer to the date.

RMIT student, Jordan

Interested in an RMIT PhD?

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.