3MT: The Three Minute Thesis Competition

Provider business unit: Researcher Development »

    What is Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

    The Three Minute Thesis is an international competition for higher degree research candidates to showcase their research. Candidates 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 each year. ANU has achieved incredible success with the 3MT competition.

    In 2021, Tharika Liyanage from the Research School of Earth Sciences won silver in the 3MT Virtual Asia Pacific final, in 2019, Lithin Louis from the John Curtin School of Medical Research won silver in the 3MT Asia Pacific final in Brisbane, 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.

    The ANU also hosts the largest final in the world, with over 1,000 people attending annually to hear how our PhD candidates are changing the world around them.

    Why participate in the 3MT?

    The 3MT provides the opportunity for HDR 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 in the table below. There is no expectation on you to compete. Please note, only enrolled ANU HDR candidates may participate in the ANU 3MT Final. 


    2022 competition dates





    4 July


    Expert communicator Boot camp(presenting on stage-face to face workshop)

    26 July


    Expert communicator Boot camp(presenting on stage-online workshop)

    13 July


    Workshop: How to win the 3MT (face-to-face in Marie Reay 5.03)

    21 July


    Workshop: How to win the 3MT (online)



    All college and school finals take place this week  

    5 Aug


    Colleges to send finalist nominations to RD  

    1 Sep


    ANU 3MT final in Llewellyn Hall

    14 Sep


    ANU winner to compete in the Asia Pacific final at the University of Queensland 


    Prize money will be supplied and distributed by the Dean HDR at the 3 Minute Thesis final as follows:

    • $4,000 will be provided to the winner of the ANU final
    • $2,500 prize for the second runner up 
    • $1,000 prize for the people’s choice
    • $500 research grant for all remaining finalists presenting in the ANU 3MT 2022 final.

    The total prize pool for the ANU 3MT 2022 final is $12,000.

    3MT Finalists

    The number of candidates from each college to go through to the ANU finals will be as follows:

    • COS: 3
    • CHM: 2
    • CAP: 2
    • CASS: 2
    • CECS: 1
    • CBE: 1
    • CoL: 1
    • ANU3MT finalists 2022: 12

    ANU Final Eligibility

    Only active ANU PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed thesis proposal review (TPR) are eligible to compete in the ANU final, including candidates who have submitted but not graduated MPhil and pre-TPR PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who are active in program are eligible to participate in the College finals but cannot advance to the ANU 3MT final. 

    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. 

    ANU 3MT Final Rules 

    The ANU 3MT final at Llewellyn Hall will showcase a mixture of 12 total live presenters. Judges will use the same criteria for the selection of prize winners from the whole showcase. In the event that a nominated finalist is unable to attend, their runner up will be offered a chance to present.  

    • On campus candidates: ANU 3MT finalists are required to participate in a one-hour coaching session with Professor Inger Mewburn and attend two dress rehearsals to present at the 3MT Final on stage on 16 September. 
    • This year there will be no option for off campus candidates to present remotely. 

    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

    Free images

    PowerPoint and design help

    Video recording

    • One Button Studio, an easy-to-use video recording facility located on Level 4 of Chifley Library
    • Adobe Spark is a free web-based video creation tool. You can create simple videos incorporating images, text and voiceover
    • Zoom is primarily a video conferencing tool, you can use Zoom to easily record videos of yourself or your computer screen
    • Movie Maker is a video and slideshow maker app available for Windows computers
    • iMovie is a free video creation tool for Mac computers and mobiles 

    Past #ANU3MT Final Videos