3 Minute Thesis (3MT®)

The Doctoral College is delighted to announce that Ulster University will be running the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition for the the third time in 2020.

3MT® was first developed by the University of Queensland, and is now a global initiative with 77 UK universities taking part in the Vitae 2019 3MT® national competition.

An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take 9 hours to present

Your time limit is 3 minutes!

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.

Previous Winners

2019 - Oluwashina Akinsanmi

Oluwashina Akinsanmi won the 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 compete in campus-based Initial Heats during April for a place in the Semi-Finals that will take place during the Festival of PhD Research in May.

Eight competitors will be selected to compete in the Ulster University 3MT Final in June 2020.

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


The registration for PhD Researchers who would like to participate in the 2020 Ulster University 3MT® competition is now open.

The deadline for submission of the Registration Form is 6 March 2020.

Register Now


The key competition dates are:

Competition Dates
Competition DetailsDatesVenue
Registration Form Deadline6 MarchOnline

Initial Heat: Jordanstown and Belfast PhD Researchers

27 April

Jordanstown campus

Initial Heat: Coleraine PhD Researchers

28 April

Coleraine campus

Initial Heat: Magee PhD Researchers

29 AprilMagee campus

Campus Semi-Final: Coleraine and Magee PhD Researchers

12 May

Coleraine campus

Campus Semi-Final: Jordanstown and Belfast PhD Researchers

14 MayJordanstown campus

Ulster 3MT® Final - (filmed)

4 June

Belfast (tbc)

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

Winner announced in mid-August

from 8 July


Final of Vitae 2019 3MT National Competition


Vitae Conference, Birmingham

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 at: https://threeminutethesis.uq.edu.au/resources/3mt-competitor-guide

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


Further details and Useful Resources

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


For further information and queries about the 3MT® competition please contact Lisa Thompson.