Three Minute Thesis (3MT)
A 100-page dissertation could take hours to present. Can you do it in 3 minutes?
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 held in 2019 and was only available to CCAS PhD students. Afterwards, the 2022 and 2023 competitions were expanded to include both CCAS and SEAS PhD students. As of 2024, the competition will be held as a University-wide competition!
2024 3MT Competition
The 2024 3MT competition is sponsored by GW's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs (OGPA) and will be held on Thursday, February 22, 2024. Please visit the OGPA Three Minute Thesis page for more details.
First Place = $1000
Second Place = $750
Third Place = $500
People's Choice = $500
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.
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?
2023 3MT Winners
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SEAS
Linking the Process, Structure, and Performance of 3D
Printed Thermoelectric Materials
Cancer Biology, CCAS
Photothermal Therapy of SM1 Melanoma Utilizing
Anti-CD137 Coated Prussian Blue Nanoparticles
Do Building Height Restrictions Increase or Decrease
Welfare in a City?
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, SEAS
Landslide Simulations to Save Lives
2022 3MT Winners
Sustainable Materials for High Energy Density Lithium-ion Batters
Evaluating the Effects of Carbon Trading on Power Sector Emissions in China: A View From Space
The Complexities of Measuring Complexity
Natural Mothers in the Making
2021 Virtual 3MT Winners
On Thursday, February 24, nine Ph.D. students from across CCAS doctoral programs in the humanities, sciences and social sciences faced off in friendly competition in the third annual CCAS Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Dissertation Competition. The competition challenges students to effectively communicate their research to a non-specialist audience in three minutes.
In this year’s virtual competition students submitted pre-recorded videos of their 3MT presentations and the winners were announced at Thursday’s live event. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were selected by a judging panel of CCAS faculty members; Professor Heidi Bardot, (Art Therapy) Professor Shelley Brundage, (Speech and Hearing Sciences) Professor Harald Grassheimmer (Physics) and CCAS Dean, Paul Wahlbeck (Political Science). A People’s Choice winner was selected by the audience.
In total, student’s 3MT videos garnered almost 500 views within one week with the People’s Choice winner receiving over 170 individual views. It was a job well done by all of the doctoral students taking part in this year’s virtual Three Minute Thesis competition!
Can You Fight Fires with Shampoos?
Disruptive Widowhood in the Bengali and British Novel
Microbiology & Immunology
How Can the Immune System Be Activated to Treat Ovarian Cancer?
Better Safe Sex: HIV Preventative Interventions & Psychosexual Health Among Men Who Have Sex with Men
2020 3MT Winners
Nitrogen, Neanderthals, and Seeing Diet in the Past.
The Silenced Women: Can Public Activism Stimulate Disclosure of Violence Against Women.
Third Place & People's Choice
Context Matters: How Previous Events Influence Airport Baggage Screening Success.
2019 3MT Winners
Watching the Watchdog
Making Carbon Nanotubes from Thin Air
Public Policy and Administration
How Can Policy be Used to Get Justice for Campus Sexual Assault Survivors?
Jiaqi J. O'Reilly
Biomedical Sciences: Neuroscience
The Placenta: The Most Important Organ That Everyone Loses