Three Minute Thesis Competition

Developed by the University of Queensland in 2008 and designed originally for Ph.D. students, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT ®) is a research communication competition in which students have just three short minutes to present a compelling speech about their research and its significance. The competition gives students valuable practice in editing and condensing difficult research, and an opportunity to excel at a public presentation of that research using non-specialist language to their peers, professors and the public.

The 3MT competition and all Research Week activities have been canceled due to the COVID 19 situation. If the competition is rescheduled, information will be available on this page. 

About 3MT ® Competition

Who is Eligible to Participate?

  • Must be a currently enrolled student at the University of the Incarnate Word.

The 3MT is a research-based competition. Students carrying out research-intensive master's capstone project, thesis research, doctoral research or a professional doctoral project project may be eligible. If you think this is the case, complete the participant registration form and you will be contacted by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies to confirm your eligibility. Otherwise, your eligibility is based on your program of study and course enrollment.

Participation Requirements

To participate in the 3MT competition, you need:

  • One well-prepared PowerPoint slide.
  • One concise and well-rehearsed oration timed to last no more than 3 minutes.

Competition Rules for the 3MT ®

  • The presentation limit is three minutes. Competitors who exceed three minutes are disqualified.
  • Must be spoken word only. Cannot be song, dance or musical presentation.
  • One static PowerPoint slide is permitted. The slide is to be presented at the beginning of the student's speech. The slide cannot contain any animations, movements or transitions of any kind.
  • No other kind of electronic media are permitted, nor are any other props including note cards, mobile phones, notebooks or tablets, laser pointers, costumes, lab equipment or musical instruments.
  • Presentations begin when the competitor is on stage and begins the presentation through movement or speech.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.

Judging Criteria


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize the research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for the research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience's attention?


  • Was the presentation topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace and have a confident stance?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation, or did the presenter elaborate for too long on one aspect, or was the presentation rushed?
  • Did the slide enhance the presentation—was it clear, legible, concise and not a distraction?

Awards and Prizes

Special awards will be given to winners of
  • Best Presentation
  • Runner-up
  • UIW Spirit of Research Audience Award
Winners of the Best Presentation and Runner-up awards are decided by a panel of judges. The Spirit of Research award is determined by a poll of audience members.

Preparing Your 3MT Presentation

Many universities run comparable competitions. It is a good idea to view videos from those competitions to learn presentation techniques and strategies. Check out this information from the University of Queensland, where the 3MT competition began.  This 2014 article from The Scientist magazine offers some history and context for the competition. Here are links to 3MT competitions held at several other Texas universities.

Previous Competitions


Click on this link to view all the presentations: 2018 - 3MT Presentations.

Melinda Fuller was selected the Winner of the 2018 3MT Competition Award with her presentation "Collective Memory: Using Action Research To Improve the PhD Integration Experience." Melinda is a PhD candidate in Education in the Dreeben School of Education.

Valentina Rada was named runner-up. Her presentation was titled "Let's Talk About Social Media." Valentina was a Master of Business Administration candidate in the School of Professional Studies.

Patrich Matulich, Spirit of Research award recipient, presented "Antimicrobial Properties of Extracts From Microalgae Commonly Used in Wastewater Treatment and Biorefinery Applications." Patrick was a candidate for the Master of Science in Biology degree in the School of Mathematics,Science and Engineering.