Three minute thesis competition

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

Deakin University 2020 3MT competition results

Winner and People's Choice Award: Nguyen Phuong Tran - Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion
Runner Up: Cracking the Case: How Milk Caseins Impact on Mental Health

Due to the current circumstances both the Deakin 3MT finals and the Asia-Pacific competition this year will be held in a virtual format. The rules have been modified to accommodate a virtual format. For further information/assistance on how to create your video or hold your faculty heats please see 3MT 2020 Guide (PDF, 2.2MB)

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What is it?3MT logo

The 3MT is an exercise in developing academic and research communication skills. Higher degrees by research students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

  • Initial rounds of the competition are organised by Schools and Faculties. The finalists from each Faculty/Institue will go through into the University final.
  • The Deakin winner will receive $2000, with $1000 going to the runner-up and $500 going to the People's Choice awarded by the audience.
  • The winner will be sponsored to travel to represent Deakin in the Asia-Pacific competition. The Asia-Pacific winner will receive a $5000.

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.

And of course, there will be some extremely generous prizes and travel opportunities on offer as mentioned above.

Who is eligible to enter?

Anyone who is actively enrolled in a PhD at Deakin University (including candidates whose thesis is under examination) can enter the 3MT competition. Competitors who are eligible on the date of their first presentation in their local competition will be considered eligible for the duration of that year's competition. So if a competitor graduates before the date of the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition they will still be eligible.

Competitors must be active PhD candidates and must have successfully completed confirmation of candidature. Please note previous first place winners of the Deakin 3MT event are NOT eligible to enter again.


  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • Videos must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal;
    • Filmed on a plain background;
    • Filmed from a static position;
    • Filmed from one camera angle;
    • Contain a 3MT title slide;
    • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description).This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute or submitted via email if not included in the presentation.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Event Coordinators). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.
  • Entries submitted for final adjudication the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition are to be submitted from the university 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

Please note: After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or re-record and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round.

Judging criteria

  1. Communication style: was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  2. Comprehension: did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  3. Engagement: did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  4. Further elaboration on the judging criteria can be found on the 3MT rules and judging criteria web page.

How to enter

Please complete the Deakin 3MT 2020 entry form and submit via email to your Faculty Coordinator.

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

Deakin University 2019 Winners

Winner: Isabella Bower, Deakin 3MT – “Building for Emotion

Runner up and People’s Choice: Larry Reyes – “High strength and lightweight epoxy-carbon fibre composite materials

All videos of the top ten presentations can be viewed on YouTube.

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