3 Minute Thesis (3MT®)

3MT 2021

An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take 9 hours to present: their time limit is 3 minutes! 3MT® was first developed by the University of Queensland, and is now a global initiative with around 80 UK universities taking part in the Vitae 3MT® national competition each year. Participation in the competition helps PhD researchers to build their confidence and hone their presentation and communication skills.  It is also a great way for others to find out about the exciting and varied research going on across the University at doctoral level.

The 2021 3MT Final will take place on Thursday 3 June at 4.00pm.

Registration details will be issued on 17 May 2021.

Previous Winners

2020 - Emma Nolan

2019 - Oluwashina Akinsanmi

Oluwashina Akinsanmi won the Ulster 3MT competition and went on to win the national 3MT® UK People's Choice Award in September 2019 with an outstanding and expertly timed presentation.

2018 -Temilola Olanrewaju

In 2018 the 3MT Winner at Ulster, Temilola Olanrewaju, made it through to the last 12 semi-finalists out of 77 UK universities.

About the Competition

Participants will submit a video recording of their presentation and a panel of five judges will review each entry, along with their slide and 100 word summary.

Eight competitors will be selected to compete in the Ulster University 3MT Final in June 2020. The Finalists will submit their video for review by a further judging panel who will select the winner of the 2020 Ulster 3MT competition. There will be an opportunity for people to vote online in the People's Choice Award.

The overall winner of the Ulster competition will then go through to the semi-final stage of the 2020 Vitae 3MT national competition -a video recording is submitted online to be judged by a panel.

Why do the 3MT


You can register online here - deadline is 8 March 2021.


The key competition dates are:

Competition Dates
Competition DetailsDatesVenue
Registration Form Deadline 8 March 2021 Online

Initial Heat for all PhD Researchers - to submit video online

Judging Panel to review videos and 8 Finalists will be selected.

29 April 2021

20 May 2021



8 Finalists to submit videos

Judging Panel to review and select winner
17 May 2020 Online

Ulster 3MT® Final - (streamed online)

Online Voting for People's Choice Award

3 June 2020, 4pm


Semi Final of National 3MT Competition (video to be submitted)

Winner announced in mid-August

By 2 July


Final of Vitae 2021 3MT National Competition



Rules and Criteria

  • Eligibility

    Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their Confirmation of Registration assessment, i,e. at the end of first year (or part time equivalent) (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in the 3MT® competition.

    If you are competing, or thinking of competing this year, please check out the full competition details, including rules and judging criteria.

  • Competition Rules
    • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
    • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
    • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
    • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
    • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Judging criteria

    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 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 and 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?


Winner of Ulster 3MT

£300 and trophy

Runner Up

£100 and trophy


£50 Amazon Voucher

The People’s Choice Award

£100 and Trophy

How we will help you

The Doctoral College will offer support to 3MT® entrants.

This includes the workshop on Communicating Your Research to a Non-Research Audience (offered as part of your Researcher Development Programme). This will help you get started with planning and developing your 3MT® presentation.

The Doctoral College provides you with access to online training for the 3MT®.

Further support will be available for the Finalists and the winner who will progressing to entry in the Vitae national 3MT® competition.

Please also visit the 3MT® Competitor Guide

Last year’s finalists of the UK national 3MT competition

View the finalists

Further details and Useful Resources

Ulster University 3MT Final 2019: presentations by some Finalists are available on YouTube: