The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition celebrating the exciting research conducted by doctoral candidates. 

Three minute thesis logoDeveloped by The University of Queensland (UQ), the competition cultivates your academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases your capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

You are eligible to participate in 3MT if you are an active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidate who has successfully passed your confirmation milestone (including if your thesis is under submission) by the date of your first presentation. If you meet this criteria you will be eligible to participate in all levels of the 3MT competition, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

Graduates and graduands are not eligible.
  • You'll develop critical communications skills to ‘sell’ your research project
  • You'll gain a wider audience for your research
  • The competition counts as a work-in-progress activity (refer to Section 10.4 of the Higher Degree Research Regulations)
  • This will generate interest from key stakeholders, including media
  • You'll present before an esteemed panel and obtain valuable feedback
  • You could win great prize money
  • You could have the chance to represent ACU at the Asia-Pacific 3MT 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 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?
  • 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 (eg sound and video files) are permitted
  • No additional props (eg costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three 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

2019 3MT

2019 ACU Final: vote for People's Choice Award 2019

Vote now

ACU 3MT Heat Prizes

The winner of each heat will win a prize to the value of $250

ACU 3MT Final Prizes

Winner: TBA plus entry in the 2019 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition
Runner-up: TBA
People's Choice: TBA

Registrations for the ACU 2019 3MT heats are now open. Register via completing the online form here.

Please direct any questions to Catherine Jones at

ACU Heats

Brisbane Campus, Wednesday 17th July: 10.30am. 212.2.02
Melbourne Campus, Tuesday 23rd July: 10.15am. 400.G.05
North Sydney Campus, Tuesday 6th August: 10:15am, 532.14.17-19

Note: Applications will close one week prior to the above dates.

ACU Final

Wednesday 21st August, 12.30pm, Peter Cosgrove Centre, Level 18 Tenison Woods House, North Sydney

Asia Pacific Final

Date: Friday 4 October

Venue: University of Queensland

Previous years

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