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 what 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 College of Arts and Social Sciences 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. Please note, only enrolled ANU HDR candidates may participate in the ANU 3MT Final.

#ANU3MT Final

The #ANU3MT ANU Final will be held on Wednesday 4th September 2019 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, tickets are available here. On the night, thirteen finalists will wow you and the judges for the #ANU3MT 2019 crown, $5000 in prize money and a place in the 3MT Asia-Pacific grand final at the University of Queensland. 

Key dates

  • 19 August         College nominations for the ANU3MT final to be sent to RSAT by 12pm
  • 28 August         #ANU3MT camp 9am – 6.00pm, mandatory for finalists
  • 3 September     Dress rehearsal, 3-5pm mandatory finalists
  • 4 September     #ANU3MT FINAL, Llewellyn Hall, 6-8pm
  • 4 October          Asia Pacific 3MT Final 2019, University of Queensland


ANU final

A total prize pool of $15,500; the Dean, HDR, Research will provide, $8,500 in prizes to #ANU3MT finalists, and PARSA will provide $7,000 in prizes for the #ANU3MT final.

  • $5,000 to the winner of the ANU final.
  • $2,500 prize for the runner up of the ANU final.
  • $500 additional for the winner of the PARSA people’s choice.
  • $750 to the top finalist from each college (a total of $7,500).

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 ANU 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.

In 2018, a new rule was created to ensure fairness in the competition. ANU 3MT finalists are ineligible for any further competitions, at the school or college level. Instead, we encourage their participation and involvement as role models and ambassadors. Candidates that have participated in a school or college level and have not continued on to the ANU Final are welcome and encouraged to participate at the school or college level again.


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


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 #ANU3MT Final Videos


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