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Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

3mt logo

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition. Graduate students present their thesis in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience. ​The challenge is to present complex research material in an engaging, compelling way, using appropriate language and only one static PowerPoint slide.

3MT® is an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience communicating your research and to network across disciplines.


To be eligible, you must:

  • be enrolled in a UVic master's or PhD program in the spring term (January-April) of the competition
  • produce a 3MT® presentation that directly relates to your graduate program research

  • agree to have your 3MT® presentation videotaped
  • be available to present in-person on the day of your heat and, if you advance in the competition, the following stages. If you are unable to attend, the runner-up will proceed to the next round of the competition in your place.

Confidentiality and intellectual property considerations

The 3MT® competition is open to the public at large. Any data or information discussed should be considered public. Judges and staff involved in the competition will not be required to sign non-disclosure statements.

If your research is being conducted in conjunction with an outside agency, we advise you to investigate the potential for any confidentiality or intellectual property issues. You should discuss your participation in the competition with your supervisor(s) before registering for the 3MT® competition.

If your research includes any confidential or culturally sensitive material, you should discuss your entry in the competition with your supervisor(s) before registering.

Registration & schedule

The 3MT® takes place in the spring term (January-April) with registration typically opening late in the Calendar year prior. 


How to prepare

On-campus resources

The Faculty of Graduate Studies offers preparatory workshops for 3MT® participants in January/February of each year 

Online resources 

Rules & judging criteria

Competition rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any type are allowed. The slide is to be displayed from the beginning of the presentation.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound or video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors who exceed three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations must be in lecture format (i.e. no poems, raps or songs).
  • The three minutes starts when a presenter begins 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 judged on the criteria 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?
  • Were 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? (Did they elaborate for too long on one aspect? Was the presentation rushed?)

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? Did they maintain a steady pace and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation? Was the slide clear, legible and concise?

Prizes & sponsors

Cash prizes are awarded for each heat and the finals.

Award Cash prize
Heat, 1st place $200
Heat, 2nd place $100
People's Choice $300
Finals, 1st place $1000
Finals, 2nd place $750

Winners & finalists

Explore UVic's 2021 3MT® competition results. Watch the videos of the winners and finalists.


3MT® was developed by the University of Queensland in 2008 and has continued to grow exponentially. The competition has been adopted in over 80 countries.

The University of Victoria's first 3MT® took place in 2013-2014. We acknowledge the support of the University of Queensland in this initiative.

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