Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis

The latest University of York Three Minute Thesis event took place in June 2019. Find out about the students who took part and watch their presentations.

Three Minute Thesis

Ten University of York research students will have just three minutes each to communicate the impact of their research to an audience made up of university staff, members of the general public and industry, and win a prize. 

What is 3MT®?

3MT® competitions challenge participants to explain their research effectively and concisely to a non-specialist audience in three minutes, helping to develop their presentation and research communication skills. Communicating to different audiences helps demonstrate the contribution that research makes to wider society and the economy. The University of York 3MT® is a chance for our research students to engage and enthuse a range of learners about their research.

Who can participate?

University of York PhD students, who have passed their first formal review of progress, and have not yet completed their viva.

The rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound or video) or props (e.g. costumes, artefacts, instruments, etc.) are permitted
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs)
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage and are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final

The judges

The judges for the 2019 event are to be confirmed.

The judging criteria

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?

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?

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

How do I prepare for 3MT®?

RETT offers sessions on Preparing for 3MT and Public engagement of Research, bookable through Skillsforge.

You can view finalists from previous years here.


How do I enter 3MT?

Complete the online 3MT Entry Form, which must include a proposal title and a short lay summary (500 words) describing your research and its potential impact on the economy/society.

The closing date for entries is 15 April 2019.

20 applicants will be invited to audition on 2 May 2019 with a 3 minute presentation and a slide representing their message, and 10 finalists will be selected to participate in the final on 11 June 2019.

3MT 2019 Information for Applicants (PDF , 516kb)

Timeline 2019

  • 28 February: 'Preparing for 3MT' workshop
  • 01 March: Competition opens
  • 06 March: 'Public Engagement of Research' workshop
  • 15 April: Closing date for entries
  • 18 April: Shortlisted applicants informed
  • 02 May: Audition event
  • 09 May: Successful applicants informed
  • 17 May: Finalists' training session 
  • 11 June: University of York 3MT® 2019 final
  • 28 June: Video submission to the UK 3MT® semi-final (online)
  • July & August: UK 3MT® 2019 semi-final (online)
  • 16 September: UK 3MT® 2019 final