About 3MT®

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD 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 Benefits of 3MT

Winner of the 2014 UQ Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Dr Megan Rossi talks about the benefits of participating in the competition.


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. Due to its adoption in numerous universities, a multi-national event was developed, and the Inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT competition was held at UQ in 2010.Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

In November 2013, the first Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition.

2016 brings an expansion of the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition to include a select number of Asian universities. The competition has now been renamed to the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

  • Eligibility & Progression


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

    UQ Specific Eligibility

    MPhil and pre-confirmation PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active in program will still be eligible to participate in the UQ 3MT competition up to Faculty/Institute finals but cannot advance to the UQ 3MT Final.

    * Professional Doctorate by Research (program composed of at least 2/3 research) and funded via the Research Training Scheme (Australian students).
    * Masters and Professional Doctorate (coursework) students will not be eligible for the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.


    The winner of each heat or final is expected to represent their School/Institute/Faculty at the next stage of the competition. If the winner is unable to attend the final, the runner-up will proceed to the next round of the competition.

     3MT progression chart

  • FAQs - McDonnell International Scholars Academy Symposium
  • Rules & Judging Criteria


    • 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
    • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. 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

    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 & 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?
  • Brand Guidelines

    The University of Queensland has a registered trademark over the use of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) logo and brand.

    The consistent and coordinated use of the 3MT brand is essential to ensure that 3MT is protected and its awareness and prestige enhanced throughout the world. Any institution that does not abide by these guidelines risks damaging the competition's credibility in the marketplace and ultimately dilutes the impact and success of the concept.

    To request permission to use 3MT information, resources and marketing material please complete the 3MT Materials Permission Form.


    Please note, this is NOT a registration to participate in a regional competition, such as the Asia-Pacific 3MT or the McDonnell Symposium 3MT. It is a request to receive resources and permission to use our 3MT brand for your own local event. 

  • Launch 3MT

    If you would like to launch a 3MT competition at your institution, please follow the below steps to help you get started.

    Step 1
    Discuss 3MT within your institution
    • Talk to your enrolling School/Faculty/Institute and/or Graduate School to discuss the possible introduction of the competition.

    Step 2
    Request permission from UQ to use 3MT information, resources and marketing materials
    • Request permission to use 3MT information, resources and marketing materials by completing the 3MT Materials Permission Form.
    • Your institution will then be emailed links to the 3MT Handbook, Materials Pack and Brand Guidelines.
    • All 3MT information, resources and marketing materials are free to use; however you must ensure you adhere to the Brand Guidelines.
    • The 3MT logo is a registered trademark of the University of Queensland.
    • Watch 3MT showcase
    • Review FAQs
    Step 3
    Organise and run the competition
    • The 3MT handbook and materials pack will provide all the information you need
    • Communicate dates and locations to prospective competitors (recommended four months out from competition dates)
    • Secure the judging panel
    • Run competition and have fun
    Step 4
    Let us know how it went
    • Advise The University of Queensland's Graduate School on the success of your competition. If you plan on hosting 3MT in the future your university can be listed on the 3MT website.
    • Please feel free to email us the winner video for loading onto the official 3MT Vimeo channel and 3MT website.

    If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

    To be listed on this page your university must have registered to hold a 3MT in the past year.

  • FAQs - Students

    If you are a student interested in competing in the 3MT competition, access our Frequently Asked Questions that will help you get started.

  • FAQs - Event Coordinators

    If you are interested in organising a 3MT competition for your School/Institute/University, access Frequently Asked Questions that will help you get started.