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Three minute thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a global competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

About the competition

What is it?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students. 3MT cultivates graduate researchers’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills and the capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Initial rounds of the competition are organised by Schools Faculties and Institutes. The finalists from each area will go through into the University final.


The winners of the 3MT Faculty and Institute finals will take home Deakin Research prizes of $650 for the winners and $350 for the runners-up of the four Faculties and the Institute for Frontier Materials finals.

The Deakin winner will receive $3000, with $2000 going to the runner-up and $500 going to the People's Choice awarded by the audience.

The Deakin winner’s virtual presentation will represent Deakin in the 2023 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition.

The Asia-Pacific winner will receive $5000 research grant.

Why do it?

We are sure many of you have learned by now, it is always handy to be prepared when faced with the inevitable "so what is your thesis about?" questions from curious family and friends (who usually want the three-minute version, not the extended one). More particularly, you might get asked the same question in a future job interview!

The 3MT is an invaluable opportunity to practise your communication skills in a supportive environment and it gives you the chance to distil the essence of your research into a succinct and engaging sound bite. Overall, past participants have reported several benefits of participating in the 3MT competition including increased recognition of the research, more networking opportunities with peers, and positive impact on structuring their thesis.

In addition, participation in 3MT can be included in your Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement as an AHEGS-worthy training through your Individual Learning Plan. AHEGS is a standardised format for Australian Higher Education qualifications that enables the qualifications to be recognised and renowned throughout the world. You need your supervisor approval to add this competition to your ILP.

And of course, there will be some extremely generous prizes as mentioned above.

Who is eligible to enter?

Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels, including the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition. Graduates are not eligible.

Please Note:

  • Competitors must be active PhD candidates and must have successfully completed confirmation of candidature.
  • Previous first-place winners of the Deakin 3MT event are NOT eligible to enter again.
  • Students enrolled in any of the following programs are not eligible to enter: Masters (MPhil and coursework) and Professional Doctorate (less than 2/3 research).

Judging criteria

At each stage of the 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

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.
  • Presentation provided clear positionality* of the presenter to the research and research approach.
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience.
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation.
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

*Positionality is the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability status. Positionality also describes how your identity influences, and potentially biases, your understanding of and outlook on the world.

3MT/VYT Research communication skills program

Research communication involves talking about your research and its benefits and impact to various audiences, including people who know nothing about research.

Deakin’s annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) and Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) competitions and supporting communication skills program are a chance to learn how to do just that.

The 3MT and VYT research communications skills program will support you every step of the way from School, Faculty and Institute heats and finals to Deakin’s Grand Final.

Tap into individual coaching, workshops, online resources and opportunities to practice your presentation and receive feedback before competition heats and finals in your School, Faculty or Institute. Meet your peers and get to know them and their research. Showcase your research and expand your networks.

Bookmark the 3MT/VYT research communication skills program page to register for upcoming events, access resources and schedule an individual consultation with a researcher developer.

In the VYT competition, graduate researchers showcase their project in a 60-second, eye-catching video, building their digital literacy and visual storytelling skills. Go to the VYT page for more information about the Deakin competition and how to enter.

How to enter

You must enter your School/Faculty/Institute heats to participate in the Deakin Finals. Please register your interest by contacting your Faculty/Institute Coordinator.

If you have any questions please contact Deakin Researcher Development team or consult your HDR Coordinator for details of the initial rounds of the 3MT competition in your area.

2022 finals results

Image og the 2022 3MT finalists

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