Three Minute Thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) is an academic competition like no other. Participants have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research projects to a non-specialist audience.

Want to learn more? View the items below, and check out the "Program and Schedule" link for information about workshops and other elements of the competition.

Meet Our Winners!

Congratulations to all of our 2024 finalists, who did a spectacular job at the U of A finals event on March 27. We’re pleased to announce the winners:

Alexandra Gagnon

Alexandra Gagnon

Overall Winner, People’s Choice Award Winner

Meet Alexandra

Ron Miguel Bertenshaw

Ron Miguel Bertenshaw

Runner Up

Meet Ron Miguel

Be sure to cheer for Alexandra at the Western Canadian Regional Competition at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on May 8.

Information + Livestream

Want to view the 2024 U of A finals event?

Watch the Livestream »

Program + Schedule


In late January and early February, we offered an information session and two workshops to help you craft a competitive Three Minute Thesis (3MT) entry.

What is a Three Minute Thesis? | Online info session | Not for PD credit
Wednesday, January 24
Time: 12 - 1 p.m. MST

U of A geared up for another 3MT competition to get you involved! You would have learned how you could challenge yourself and get creative while refining your skills in communication and knowledge translation.

How to hook the audience in 30 seconds | Online workshop | 1.5 hr PD credit
Tuesday, January 30
Time: 12:30 - 2 p.m. MST

This workshop reviewed the importance of capturing your audience's attention in the first 30 seconds. We considered how to do this creatively, and how to set the stage for a more engaging presentation.

The structure and delivery of a good 3MT | Online workshop | 1.5 hr PD credit
Tuesday, February 6
Time: 12:30 - 2 p.m. MST

After having a solid first 30 seconds, what about the next 150? This workshop offered you tools to structure your 3MT effectively, time it perfectly, and make it engaging from beginning to end.

Registration Period

  • Registration is now closed.
  • Registration ran until Friday, February 23 at 12 p.m. MST


People joined us to support graduate student research...three minutes at a time!

U of A 3MT Preliminary Round (in-person)
Monday to Friday (every day), February 26 to March 1
Time(s): 2 - 3:30 p.m. MST
Location: South Academic Building, U of A Campus (rooms vary by day)

U of A 3MT Finals (in-person)
Date: Wednesday, March 27
Time: 4:30 - 6 p.m. MDT
Location: 2-190 ECHA, North Campus

Who Can Participate?

All University of Alberta graduate students who are active/enrolled in a Master's or PhD graduate program and in good standing with their graduate program and the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies are eligible.

A few things to note:

  • A student whose thesis is under submission on the date of their first competition is still eligible to complete;
  • A student whose thesis is under submission, and whose degree is conferred while they are still competing in 3MT™ is still eligible. In this case, the student must have competed in their first competition heat prior to their degree conferral;
  • Presenters must register for the event and be eligible to present in person on the day of their first competition; and
  • To advance in the competition presenters must be available to present in person at the finals. If the winner is not available, the runner-up will take their place if they fulfill all requirements.

A student whose degree is conferred before they compete in their first competition, and who has therefore graduated, is not eligible to compete. Students become ineligible, in this case, upon receiving notification of degree conferral, even if they have not attended a graduation ceremony.

Visiting students are also not eligible.

Why Compete at 3MT?

There are many benefits to competing in a 3MT competition. See a few benefits listed below:

  • Be able to share your research with the public
  • Learn how to frame your thesis topic
  • Generate an easy to understand statement for scholarships
  • Get your name known
  • Develop presentation skills
  • Have a 'pitch' ready for a job interview
  • Meet other people who are part of the larger research community
  • Be part of a research community who is having impact
  • Add to your resume/CV
  • Monetary prizes are available
What Are the Rules?
  • 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). Please note that using a slide is optional as the presentation focus is on your oration skills. Images used in the slide must be your own, or you must have permission from the owner of the photo(s) and provide proper credit(s).
  • 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.
  • Presentations that go over 3 minutes will have marks removed in the heats, and will be disqualified in the final.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations must be based on research directly related to the student's graduate program thesis. Research performed for employment should not be presented.
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • Presenters must agree to be video-taped for the Finals only.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
How Does Judging Work?

Who are the judges?

Presentations in the semi-finals and finals will be judged by a panel of judges from the University of Alberta and the Edmonton community.

What are the judges looking for?


  • Was thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a general/non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
  • Did the speaker avoid jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long or were they rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract, from their presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research and research methods?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of the research?
  • Was the significance and impact of the presenter's research clearly defined?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?


  • Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or overly generalize the research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention
What Is the History of 3MT?
This fun, highly informative and very entertaining event was developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, and is now held in more than 85 countries around the world. Our winners will move on to Western finals and possibly the Canadian national event.
Contact Information

Questions regarding the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition can be directed to:

Dr. Rob Desjardins
Professional Development Instructional Designer
Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies 

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