3-Minute Thesis Competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition which challenges graduate students to present a compelling oration on their research and its significance in three minutes in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. ​The 3MT is NOT an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries. Check out the video below from the UA 2019 competition to learn more or visit the 3MT University of Queensland website.

The 2023 UA 3MT Competition Key Dates:

September 29: Information session (4:00 p.m., Zoom)

October 5: Information session (4:00 p.m., Zoom)

October 18: Deadline for departments to nominate students (NOMINATE YOUR STUDENTS)

  • There will be information sessions on September 29 at 4:00 p.m. and October 5 at 4:00 p.m. (details to be announced).
  • Nominations will include student details and a single PowerPoint slide in widescreen format.
  • Departments can nominate two students including one alternate.
  • Additional students will be included in the semi-finals as space allows.

October 25: 3MT semi-finals

  • Semi-final rounds will be held at 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.-noon and 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. in Rose G55. We will assign students to rounds shortly after the deadline. Schedule constraints will be taken into account.

November 2: 3MT finals will be held at 7 p.m. in the UA Digital Media Center.


Anyone who is currently registered and enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program will be eligible to participate in 3MT. Graduates are not eligible.

Rules from The University of Queensland 3MT Website:

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. 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 three minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken words (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.


Each competitor will be judged on the criteria listed below. View a copy of the ballot that will be used by our judges.

Comprehension and Content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

Engagement and Communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience.
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation.
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

3-Minute Thesis Practice for Students

We recommend that students practice their 3MT presentation, if their computer has a webcam, by recording their presentation without using notes and playing it back. The Speaking Studio [https://success.ua.edu/learning-commons/additional-resources/academic-resources/academic-resources-speaking-studio]  is also a resource for receiving feedback on their presentation prior to the competition.

Past Winners

Watch 3MT presentations by past winners and learn more about 3MT at http://threeminutethesis.org.


Contact Tierney Jenkins at tjenkins2@ua.edu.