Three-minute Thesis Competition

What it is:

The Three Minute Thesis Competition is an exercise in developing academic and research communication skills. Students pursuing graduate level research degrees (PhD, Master’s by Research) have three (3) minutes in which to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

The competition supports a common and important attribute for graduate research degree candidates – namely, the capacity to disseminate research/scholarship results via oral and written communication. The competition also: 

  • Promotes the value of doctoral and master’s level research
  • Promotes research culture and camaraderie throughout the university
  • Offers prize money to the top three students, plus audience favorite

 The original Three Minute Thesis competition was developed in 2008 by The University of Queensland, Australia.

What it’s not: 

The Three Minute Thesis is not an exercise in trivializing or “dumbing-down” research. Each student presentation should engage the audience without reducing research to entertainment value alone.


  • Single, static computer-projected slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations, or movement of any sort).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound or video files) are permitted.
  • No props (e.g., costumes, instruments) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three (3) minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding three minutes will be disqualified.

Previous Year Videos:

Videos of the 2016 Three Minute Thesis Competition
Videos of the 2012 Three Minute Thesis Competition

Videos of the 2011 Three Minute Thesis Competition