Office of the Provost

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Pitt Competition

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Pitt Competition
April 9, 2018 at noon 
in the Digital Scholarship Commons on the Ground Floor of Hillman Library

Co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and
the University Library System 


What is a 3MT competition?

The 3MT competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), 3MT cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.


Who is eligible to enter?

PhD students who have successfully completed the dissertation proposal defense (PhD candidate status) and are actively in the dissertation stage of training are eligible.


How do I become a finalist for the Pitt Competition?

  • Place in a school-level competition
    • The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences competition is being held on April 6, 2018.
    • The School of Computing and Information competition is being held on April 4, 2018.
  • Students who are not in the Dietrich School or the School of Computing and Information can enter the on-line competition
    • Record your 3MT presentation and upload it to a YouTube account. Note that if you do not already have a YouTube Account, you will need to set one up.  
    • Email the link to view your YouTube presentation to Vice Provost Nathan Urban at Provide your school and program. Deadline is noon, Monday, April 2, 2018.
    • You may find it helpful (but it is not required) to use the “One Button Video Recording Studio” available at Hillman Library to record your 3MT. For more information, see note that as of Monday, April 2, 2018, the studio is closed for repairs. 
    • Finalists of the on-line competition will be notified by the end of the day on April 6 that they have advanced to the Pitt Competition.


3MT Rules for the Pitt and On-line Competitions

  • Noted are a couple variations for the on-line competition.
  • 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. (For the on-line competition, simply attach a file to your email submission.)
  • 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. (Not relevant for the on-line competition.)
  • 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.


Prizes for the University Competition

First place prize:                 $ 1,000 travel grant

Two runner-up prizes:         $   500 travel grant


Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?                                                                                               
  • 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?


Presentation Resources

To learn more about the competition history, rules, and to gain valuable preparation tips, visit the 3MT Web site.

We are folloing the 3MT rules suggested by the University of Queensland,who founded the event.  

For questions, send email to