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 must - in just three short minutes - 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 for UIW will be hosted in Fall 2021. 

Virtual 3MT ® Competition Rules

Who is Eligible to Participate?

To register, you will need the title of your 3MT® presentation, a 100-word summary, and your presentation slide.

Complete the participant registration form if

  • you are a currently enrolled student at the University of the Incarnate Word in a master's, professional or doctoral program, and,
  • you are carrying out a research-intensive master's capstone project, thesis research, doctoral research or a professional doctoral project.

You may register to participate even if you are uncertain if you meet the latter requirement. After your submission is received, a staff member from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies will contact you to discuss your eligibility. 

Competition Rules for the Virtual 3MT ®

  • The presentation limit is 3 minutes. Competitors who exceed 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when the competitor starts their presentation through speech - the timing of the presentation does not include the 3MT® title slide and begins from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video.
  • Because this is a virtual competition, video requirements are very specific and must meet the following criteria:
    • Filmed on the horizontal
    • Filmed on a plain background
    • Filmed from a static position
    • Filmed from one camera angle
    • Contains a 3MT® title slide
    • Contains a static 3MT® PowerPoint slide
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous - no sound edits or breaks.
  • The presentation must be spoken word only. It cannot be song, dance or musical presentation.
  • The presentation recording may not include any other props, including animated backgrounds, costumes, lab equipment or musical instruments.
  • The presentation recording may not include any additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files).
  • One static PowerPoint slide is permitted. The slide should be incorporated into the 3-minute video and may be continuously visible (e.g. located in the upper right corner, or the right side of the video) or may be "cut to" as you need for no more than 1 minute total. 
  • 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.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.

See the Virtual 3MT® Handbook for advice on 3MT® writing, the 3MT® PPT slide, practicing the 3MT® presentation, and recording and filming the 3MT®.

3MT® Handbook for Virtual Competitions 2020

Judging Criteria

All competitors are judged based on the same, equally weighted criteria with an emphasis on audience.


  • 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.