3MT Competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland in Australia in 2008. The premise of the competition is to develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills. It supports the development of students’ capacities to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but nonspecialist audience. Doctoral students have three minutes to present compelling orations on their dissertation topics and their significance. 3MT™ is not an exercise in “watering down” research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and concisely explain their research discoveries.


The 2016 Winners include:
FIRST PLACE  Monica McNerney Bioengineering Bacterial Biosensors: Low-cost, Field-friendly Nutrition Tests
RUNNER-UP  Tesca Fitzgerald Human Centered Computing Teaching Robots to Reuse Skills
THIRD PLACE  H.M. Bharath Physics Reading Out the Geometry from an Atom's Memory
PEOPLE'S CHOICE  Aravind Samba Murthy Electrical and Computer Engineering Recovering Kinetic Energy Using Electric Motors
PEOPLE'S CHOICE  H.M. Bharath Physics Reading Out the Geometry from an Atom's Memory

**we had a tie for the People's Choice Winner

See videos of the competition here.


Doctoral students currently enrolled at Georgia Tech and actively engaged in dissertation research are eligible. The student must be graduating in a term later than Fall 2016. Graduates of Georgia Tech and previous winners of 3MT™ competition are not eligible to participate. A competitive candidate should have a well conceived dissertation project, compelling data collected, and a novel story to share.


Winner: $2,000 research travel grant 
Runner-up: $1,500 research travel grant
Third Place: $1,000 research travel grant
People’s Choice: $500 research travel grant

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be judged based on the following: 

Engagement and Communication 

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more? 
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize 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?

Comprehension and 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 nonspecialist 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 the presentation — or did he/she elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
  • 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., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum, and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts his/her presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Registration for the next round of competition is TBD.

For More Information

Questions? Contact Tatianna Richardson or visit Three Minute Thesis (3MT™). (Videos of the presentations from the inaugural 2015 competition at Georgia Tech are available here. Also, a selection of videos of award-winning presentations from a variety of universities is available on the 3MT™ website.