Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), 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.

Being able to give a concise pitch about your thesis is a key skill, one which helps you keep focused on what is most important about your research as you are writing. Candidates wishing to compete must present a compelling three minute oration on their thesis topic and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience using a single power point slide. Entrants will be judged on how well they communicate as well as their creativity.

So even if you don’t want to participate in the 3 Minute Thesis competition, this session will help you to refine your core ideas and prepare you for that next BBQ where someone asks "So what is your thesis all about then?"

Active PhD candidates who have passed their Confirmation of Candidature milestone by the date of their first presentation.

Masters by Research and pre-confirmation PhD candidates who are active in program can participate in the School and College level competition but cannot advance to the RMIT® 3MT Final.

Refer to the Three Minute Thesis eligibility criteria for more details.

Contact your College or School Research Administrator or Coordinator for more information and to register.

Schools will contact research candidates with the details for the school competition. Each college will hold a semi-final for the school finalists to compete. The winner and runner up/People’s Choice winner from each college will go through to the RMIT final on Friday 2 August 2019.

Candidates must present their thesis topic and its significance in three minutes. It is not an exercise in trivialising or ‘dumbing-down’ research, but rather encourage candidates to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries.

The oration should engage the audience without reducing research to entertainment value alone.

A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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 (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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

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?

The prizes for the RMIT Final are:

  • The winner will receive $3,500 research grant and travel costs to the Asia-Pacific Final at The University of Queensland to represent RMIT University.
  • The runner up will receive $1,000 research travel grant.
  • The People’s Choice will receive a prize. 
  • All RMIT finalists will receive a $100 voucher.
We encourage PhD candidates to watch the school level play offs to find out what their fellow candidates are up to.

The previous RMIT 3MT Final was held on 1 August 2018 with a very strong field of candidates from across the University showcasing their research. The participants had first competed in school and college finals.

The winners were:

  • Syed Sulthan Alaudeen Abdul Haroon Rashid, School of Science (RMIT Winner and People's Choice Award recipient) 
  • Wenyue Zou, School of Science (Runner-up) 

The RMIT School of Graduate Research would like to thank all who were involved, including the participants, for making the 2018 competition such a great event.

As the RMIT winner, Syed represents RMIT at the 2018 Asia-Pacific 3MT Final in Brisbane.


Interested in an RMIT PhD?

Contact the School of Graduate Research