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Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a university-wide competition for graduate students in which participants present their research and its wider impact in three minutes or less to a panel of non-specialist judges. The challenge is to present complex research in an engaging, accessible and compelling way, using only one static slide. 

This fun and challenging academic competition enables students to showcase their research to a wider multidisciplinary audience, within the university and to the broader public. The competition is open to the public, and is advertised within the community. 3MT® is a unique opportunity to communicate the innovative and significant research undertaken by graduate students.


The 3MT® competition was developed initially by the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2008. 3MT® competitions are now held in over 600 universities and institutions across 65 countries.

The first University of Ontario Institute of Technology 3MT® competition was held in 2013. The inaugural provincial 3MT® competition was also held in 2013, followed by the first Canada-wide competition in 2014.


Gold sponsor:


Bronze sponsor:


Our thanks to Scotiabank and GSK for generously supporting our graduate students!

Learn more

Three Minute Thesis

Important dates - 2019



Friday, January 11 3MT® registration opens
Friday, January 25 Early bird registration deadline
Monday, February 11 Registration closes at 11:59 p.m.
February to March Coaching sessions
Friday, March 1 Deadline for supervisor consent form
Monday, March 11 Deadline for presentation slide
Tuesday, March 19 3MT® heats
Wednesday, March 20 3MT® finals
Wednesday, April 17 Provincial 3MT® competition at McMaster University


Build your skills and confidence through a variety of coaching sessions. From individual consultations to interactive workshops, each session is designed to help you make the most of your three minutes and put your research into the spotlight.

Each participant is expected to attend at least one coaching session.

Tuesday, February 19 2 to 4 p.m. Selling Your Research John (Mac) MacMillan, former Director of Communications and Marketing
Wednesday, February 20 2 to 4 p.m. (15-minute individual consultations) Visual Components Lesley D’Souza, Manager, Communications and Assessment, Student Life Operations
Wednesday, February 27 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tame Your Inner Critic Karen Martin, speaker, trainer and coach
Thursday, February 28 1 to 2 p.m. (15-minute individual consultations) Visual Components Andrea Brown, Graduate Communications Coordinator and Kate Oakes, Graduate Student Engagement Coordinator, SGPS
Wednesday, March 6 Noon to 2 p.m. 9¾ Tips to Add Pizzazz to Your 3MT® Presentation Karen Martin, speaker, trainer and coach
Tuesday, March 12 1 to 4 p.m. (15-minute individual consultations) Coaching feedback Lesley D’Souza, John (Mac) MacMillan, Karen Martin

Register for coaching sessions


Tips and resources for your presentation

Three Minute Thesis


To participate in 3MT®, students must meet the eligibility criteria outlined below:

  • At the time of the 3MT® competition, students must be registered in a master's or PhD program and must have made substantial progress on their research and analysis. Students in programs with a major research project, paper or portfolio may participate. Course-based master's students are ineligible.
  • PhD and master's students who have defended or have submitted their project, paper or portfolio, but have not yet convocated, are eligible.
  • 3MT® presentations must represent the primary research the student conducted in their graduate program.
  • Presenters must agree to be video-recorded and to allow those recordings to be made public.

Confidentiality and intellectual property (IP) considerations

Students must understand that the presentation of their research in 3MT® will be publicly accessible, i.e., in the public domain.

The presentation of the research will not affect any pre-existing rights following the competition, except as stated below:

  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to sign non-disclosure statements. If your research is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, you are required to discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and IP with your supervisor and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) before participating in this competition.
  • All public sessions of the competition including, but not limited to, oral presentations are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media, which may include the Internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or presented in public sessions should be considered public. If your research includes confidential, contractual, newly created IP or culturally sensitive material, you are required to discuss your competition entry with your supervisor(s) before entering the 3MT® competition. Please submit the 3MT® supervisor consent form signed by your supervisor(s) to the SGPS as evidence of this discussion.

In coordinating 3MT®, the university and any host institutions for the province-wide competition may take photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes; make transcripts of the presentations; and/or copy material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT® and any related events for promotional purposes and to support knowledge mobilization.

Testimonials will be requested of all participants after the events.


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or movement of any description, and the slide is to remain in view for the duration of the oration).
  • Competitors must present in person.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and/or video files) are permitted.
  • No props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are to be spoken (i.e., no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations must be made by memory; notes may not be used.
  • The competition will be administered in English.
  • The decision of the judge's panel is final.
Three Minute Thesis


Provincial competition

Sarah Habibi will represent Ontario Tech at the provincial finals.

Wednesday, April 17 at 10 a.m.
McMaster University

Watch livestream on the McMaster website

Finals (March 20)


Sarah Habibi
Program: Applied Bioscience (PhD)
Can we save livestock from parasites? Overcoming a global drug resistance problem


Elysabeth Reavell-Roy
Program: Applied Bioscience (PhD)
Biofuel production: small changes, big impact

People's Choice 

Nadia Laschuk
Program: Materials Science (PhD)
Chemistry is in Fashion


Daniel Abdel-Malek
Program: Health Sciences (MHSc) - Kinesiology
Can a period of familiarization improve ratings of perceived fatigue?

Jackie Brown
Program: Health Sciences (MHSc) – Community, Public and Population Health
Foodbot Factory: The Making of a Gamified Nutrition Education Intervention

Leanne Elliott
Program: Health Sciences (MHSc) - Kinesiology
Parents’ Perspectives of the Secondary Effects of an Early Motor Skill Intervention for Their Four Year-Old Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Watch finalists' presentations

Heats (March 19)

Watch heats livestream


The following prizes will be awarded at the university's internal competition:

Top finalist
Runner-up $500
People's Choice winner $250


Gold sponsor:


Bronze sponsor:


Our thanks to Scotiabank and GSK for generously supporting our graduate students!

Three Minute Thesis

Contest for students

We encourage all students to attend our 3MT® Final on Wednesday, March 20 to learn more about the exciting research taking place at the university. All current students (undergraduate, professional and graduate) will be entered in a draw for a fantastic prize.

People's Choice Award

You be the judge! All audience members at the 3MT® Final on Wednesday, March 20 will have the opportunity to vote for their choice of best presentation. 


We encourage you to park in the Founders 2 lot. To gain entry and to exit gated lots, you must obtain a ticket from the machine at the vehicle entrance. Tickets must be validated before you approach the exit (paying by cash or credit card) at the payment kiosk located in the Founders 2 lot.

Once parked, walk past the Student Life Building and the Energy Systems and Nuclear Science Research Centre (ERC) to the Business and Information Technology (UB) Building.


Gold sponsor:


Bronze sponsor:


Our thanks to Scotiabank and GSK for generously supporting our graduate students!