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(Three Minute Thesis)

Three Minute Thesis

3MT® returned on June 10th 2020!

The University of York research student finalists had 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 - to win a prize. 

Take a look at our 2020 3MT winners

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 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?

Join the audience!

The University of York 3MT 2020 final is still going ahead! The final will now take place Online on Wednesday 10 June 2020, remaining as part of the Festival of Ideas.

More information on how to join the audience will be provided shortly!


How do I prepare for 3MT®?

RETT offer “So you want to enter 3MT?” sessions bookable through SkillsForge

You can view finalists from previous years here


How do I enter 3MT?

Applications for 2020 are now closed.

Please stay tuned in the next academic year for details on how to apply to our 2021 competition!

Timeline 2020

  • 05 & 25 February: So you want to enter 3MT? workshops

  • 28 February: Applications open

  • 01 April: Closing date for entries

  • 08 April: Short-listed applicants informed

  • 23 April: 3MT Auditions

  • 30 April: Successful applicants informed

  • 13 May: Finalists’ Training session

  • 10 June: University of York 3TM® 2020 Final

  • July: Video submission to the UK 3MT® 2020 semi-final (online)

  • August: UK 3MT® 2020 semi-final (online)

  • 16 September: UK 3MT® 2020 Final

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