Texas Tech University

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research you are doing as a graduate student. Developed by The +University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008, this exercise cultivates your academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports the capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes or less, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience while using just 1 static PowerPoint slide.

2016 Winners

First Place: Amanda French - Arts and Sciences – Environmental Toxicology
2nd Place: Mandana Pahlavani – Human Sciences – Nutritional Sciences
3rd Place: Sara Calandrini – Arts and Sciences – Mathematics and Statistics
People's Choice: Sara Calandrini – Arts and Sciences – Mathematics and Statistics


L - R: Ron Roberts, Amanda French, Mandana Pahlavani, Dr. Mark Sheridan, Dr. Wendee Langdon, Dr. Lynn Huffman, Jeff Klotzman, and Sara Calandrini


The following chart* shows the progression of students through the local 3MT® competition. The winner of each morning heat will then compete in the final heat in the afternoon to determine the winner. Some winners may have the chance to advance to the final UQ 3MT® or Asia-Pacific 3MT® competitions.


*Chart is an example of heats. Number of heats and number of students per heat will depend on number of participants and may change.


Active doctoral degree or master's thesis students are eligible to participate in the 3MT® competition. Participants must be working on a dissertation or thesis and be able to share key results and research significance from their research. Previous graduates are not eligible to compete. Winners may advance past Texas Tech 3MT® competition.


First, second, and third prizes will be awarded to the top students in final heat of the competition. A People's Choice award will also be awarded. Prize may be used for travel or research purposes for the prize winner.

First Prize - $300
Second Prize - $200
Third Prize - $100
People's Choice Award - $100

Judging Criteria

Comprehension & Content

  • 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?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • 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 & 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?


  • Students are eligible to compete in the 3MT® provided that they are currently enrolled in a thesis master's or doctoral degree program.
  • The topic of the presentation must be directly related to the student's thesis or dissertation research.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word and cannot consist solely of a poem, rap or song; however, a few lines of a poem, rap or song can be included in the presentation (if these are directly related to the research topic).
  • Reading the presentation from hardcopy notes or electronic devices is not permitted.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. laser pointers, costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Making the Most of Your 3MT®

Please review the following resouces for 3MT® to make the most of your presentation.

Making the Most of Your Three Minutes by Simon Clews, University of Melbourne

Three Minute Thesis®

Submitting Your 3MT® Abstract

Please click below to submit your PowerPoint slide, abstract, and three key words.  Applications must be received by 12:00 Noon on October 16, 2017.  Late applications will not be considered. 


If you have any questions, please email cari.carter@ttu.edu