Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) that celebrates the exciting research conducted by research students. PhD students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance. 3MT challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience. Participation can help foster your academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

3MT competition 2018

Go to The University of Queensland Three Minute Thesis website for resources, such as the 3MT Competitor Guide, rules (including the judging criteria) and FAQs.

Curtin heats and final

Competition format

The competition will be held in two stages. The first stage will involve 3 heats on Bentley campus with a separate heat being conducted at the Sarawak campus:

  • One heat will be held for Faculty of Health Sciences (four finalists),
  • One heat for Science & Engineering (4 finalists) and 
  • One heat for Faculty of Business and Law combined with Faculty of Humanities (four finalists).  

These 12 finalists, along with the winner of the Sarawak heat, will compete in a University-wide final . The winner of the Curtin final will go on to compete in the Asia-Pacific Final at The University of Queensland on Thursday 27 September 2018.

Go to The University of Queensland Three Minute Thesis website for resources, such as the 3MT Competitor Guide, rules (including the judging criteria) and FAQs.

Important dates in 2018

  • Registration closing date – Monday 13 August (See Registration section below)
  • 3MT Information session – Wednesday 8 August 12-1pm, 213:101 (venue tbc)
  • 3MT practice session 1 – Wednesday 15 August 5pm-7pm, 210:104 (venue tbc)
  • 3MT practice session 2 – Wednesday 22 August 12-2pm, 213:101 (venue tbc)
  • Slide due date – Friday 24 August
  • Heats 1, 2 & 3 – Tuesday 28 August venue TBC
  • Curtin Final – Friday 31 August, venue TBC
  • Asia-Pacific Final – Thursday 27 September at The University of Queensland

Check if you're eligible

Only Doctoral* students who have successfully passed their Candidacy by 13 August 2018 are eligible to participate in the Final of the Curtin 3MT competition, and the Asia-Pacific 3MT final at UQ.

Doctoral degrees where the minimum research component is at least two/thirds of the degree.

  • Graduates are not eligible.
  • Previous contestants are welcome to participate again.
  • Masters by Research* and pre-candidacy doctoral students are eligible to participate in the heats of the Curtin 3MT competition, but cannot advance to the Curtin 3MT Final.
  • Students from all study areas are eligible to participate.

*Please Note: For Masters Degrees to be eligible for the heats they must be at least two-thirds research (definition drawn from Grant Guidelines 2006 for Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003) and produce a thesis that is examined externally.

How to register

Email the following registration information by Monday 14 August to

  • Title (Mr/Ms/Mrs)
  • First name
  • Surname
  • Full Name for your Certificate of Participation
  • Student ID
  • School
  • Faculty
  • Email
  • Mobile Phone
  • Course
  • 3MT Title
  • Thesis Title
  • 100 Word summary
  • Bio – 1 paragraph  (50-70 words)
  • slide – submit by 24 August*

*Competitors use a single, static PowerPoint slide for their presentation. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are permitted. No electronic media (e.g. sound or video files) are permitted either. The slide must be submitted by 24 August 2018.  Download Slide template – format is onscreen show 4-3

We will send you a confirmation email once we have processed your registration.


Curtin is pleased to announce UniBank is sponsoring 3MT 2018.  UniBank will donate the first prize, a $1,000 bank account, and the People’s Choice prize of $250.

The prizes for Curtin 3MT Competition 2018:

  • The winner of the Curtin Final will receive a $1000 bank account with UniBank. Curtin will also fund the winner to compete in the Asia-Pacific Final at the University of Queensland, including travel, accommodation and registration expenses.
  • The runner-up will receive $500 towards research expenses.
  • The remaining finalists will receive a $100 gift voucher from the Curtin Co-op.
  • The People’s Choice winner (as voted by the audience) will receive $250 towards research expenses, donated by UniBank.

3MT competition rules

All participants must abide by the following rules of the competition:

  • 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 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 area.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judging 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.

1. 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?

2. 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?

Who to contact for more information

For further information contact Tania Lerch via

UniBank logo

Thank you to UniBank for donating the first prize, a $1,000 bank account, and the People’s Choice prize of $250.