3MT: the Three Minute Thesis Competition

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What is Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

The Three Minute Thesis is an international competition for higher degree research students to showcase their research. Students present to an audience on their research is and why it is important in plain language for three minutes, with only a single PowerPoint slide. The winner of the #ANU3MT final will go on to compete in the Asia Pacific final, held at the University of Queensland. In 2016 Joshua Chu-Tan from the John Curtin School of Medical Research won the 3MT Asia Pacific final in Brisbane and in 2014, Rosanna Stevens from the Centre for Art History & Theory won second place and people's choice in the trans-Tasman final at the University of Western Australia.

Why participate in the 3MT?

The 3MT provides the opportunity for candidates to develop presentation skills that are crucial for a successful career post PhD, inside and outside of academia. If you are curious about the 3MT and developing your presentation skills, come along to the training on offer. There is no expectation on you to compete, we are keen for everyone to develop their skills and confidence with presenting research.

How to enter the 3MT competition

The first step to competing in the 3MT is to participate in our campus wide training then compete in your School or College competition. Each of the seven Colleges at The Australian National University (ANU) run an in-house competition prior to the ANU final. The winner(s) from each College will receive a $1,000 research support grant and proceed to the ANU final at 6 p.m., 6 September 2017 Llewellyn Hall, ANU.

There is also a 'wild card' people's choice entry for the ANU final. Participants of the College finals had the opportunity to perform their 3MT presentations at ANU Open Day on Saturday 26 August 2017. There are cash prizes up for grabs (1st: $1000, 2nd: $500, 3rd: $250, and all other participants on the Open Day received a $50 gift card). The ANU Open Day 3MT winner earns an automatic 'wild card' entry to the ANU final in September.

To enquire about 3MT in your College email the following:

#ANU3MT Training Workshops and Events


18 - #ANU3MT Launch: Meeting of the Minds with PARSA
19 - How to Win the Three Minute Thesis with the Thesis Whisperer
26 - Three Minute Theatre with Dr Peter Copeman
26 - Presenting in English for ESL Candidates with Shaun Lehmann


2 - Persuasive and Strategic Communication for the Sciences with Dr Will Grant
2 - Presenting in English for ESL Candidates with Shaun Lehmann (REPEAT SESSION)
3 - Persuasive and Strategic Communication for the Humanities with Dr Will Grant
3 - Media Workshop with SCAPA
9 - #ANU3MT Clinics with the Thesis Whisperer
19-20 - #ANU3MT Boot Camp


6 - #ANU3MT Final

#ANU3MT Boot Camp

Finalists of the 3MT College competitions are offered a place in our #ANU3MT Boot Camp. This camp is an intensive presentation skills camp over two days to level up your presentation skills. This camp is free and has limited places. The concept of #ANU3MT Boot Camp was disarmingly simple, bring the best of the best together to share their research and skills in an inclusive environment with experts and previous #ANU3MT finalists to guide and nurture your talent.

ANU Final

The #ANU3MT ANU Final will be held on Wednesday 6 September 2017 at 6.00pm in Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music.  Join us for an evening of smart entertainment and catch a glimpse of the amazing research projects that being conducted on campus by ANU PhD students suitable for whole family. On the night, thirteen finalists will wow you and the judges for the #ANU3MT 2017 crown, $4000 in prize money and a place in the 3MT Asia-Pacific grand final at the University of Queensland. 


College final

First prize: $1000 research support grant

ANU final

  • First prize: a place in the 3MT 2017 Asia Pacific final and $4000 research support grant generously supported by PARSA
  • Runner up: $500 research support grant generously funded by PARSA
  • People's choice: $500 research support grant generously funded by PARSA
  • Other finalists: $250 support grant generously funded by PARSA
  • A prize will be given to a supervisor or panel member nominated by the ANU finalist winner

Asia-Pacific Final

  • First prize: $5000 research travel grant.
  • Runner up: $2000 research travel grant
  • People's choice: $1000 research travel grant

We thank the Dean of Higher Degree Research and the Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA) for providing the research support grant funding for the College and ANU finals.



Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their Submission of thesis proposal for review (TPR; including candidates whose thesis is under submission) are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

MPhil and pre-TPR PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active in program are eligible to participate in the ANU 3MT competition up to and including the College finals but cannot advance to the ANU 3MT final.



  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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 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 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. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

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?



How-to videos


Slide presentation and infographic

How to talk about your thesis in three minutes by Dr Inger Mewburn
Three steps to perfect your thesis pitch


Past Competitions Videos

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