Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

A 100-page dissertation could take hours to present. Can you do it in 3 minutes?
Wed, 22 February, 2023 3:00pm - 5:00pm
3MT Logo

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition celebrates the existing research conducted by PhD students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), 3MT 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 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates 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 multinational 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 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide.

The first GW 3MT competition was in 2019 and was only available to CCAS PhD students.  As of 2022, this competition has been expanded to include CCAS as well as SEAS PhD students!

2023 3MT Competition

The 2023 3MT competition will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, from 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm in the University Student Center. GW's 3MT winner or a runner-up will go on to compete in the Northeastern Association of Graduate School's regional competition in April 2023.


We are once again excited to collaborate with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) this year so that the 3MT competition can include CCAS and SEAS Ph.D. students. To be eligible, students must have successfully advanced to candidacy no later than February 1, 2023.  Students must also be in good academic standing.

3MT Prizes

First Place = $1000
Second Place = $750
Third Place = $500
People's Choice = $500

Why Participate?

During your PhD, there is a strong focus on the production of your dissertation. The ability to communicate the importance of your research project and articulate your findings is very valuable. The Three Minute Thesis competition provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Communicate your ideas effectively to the wider community;
  • Describe your research findings to a non-specialist audience;
  • Crystalize your thoughts about your dissertation;
  • Increase your profile within the CCAS research community, staff, and wider community; and
  • Network with other PhD students.

How to Prepare

Check out the official Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Vimeo channel to view past presentations from around the globe.


  • 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 (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. 

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 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?

You can view previous winners on the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences (CCAS) website. This event is open to all students and is in collaboration with CCAS, who will be livestreaming the event on their Facebook page.

Open to students.

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