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Three Minute Thesis (3MT©) competition

This spring, graduate and professional students at UT are invited to participate in our own Three Minute Thesis (3MT©) competition. Three Minute Thesis (3MT©) is a research communication competition originally developed by The University of Queensland in 2008, and now has been widely adopted at universities around the world. The exercise challenges masters and doctoral students to present a compelling talk on their Thesis/Dissertation topic and its significance. Many theses and dissertations can be over 80,000 words and take hours to present, but students in this competition have just three minutes and one slide to convey their often highly-technical research to a lay audience. Judging criteria are focused on two core competencies:

Comprehension & Content: did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
Engagement: did the oration make the audience want to know more?

Eligibility of Participants

All participants who are preparing a master’s thesis, doctoral dissertation, or who play a major role in research-based projects (including case studies) are eligible to apply and be selected to participate in the 3MT© presentations. The final selection of the 3MT© participants in each college will be determined by that college in a manner suitable for the faculty time and resources.


A single static image or 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 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 movement or speech.
The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


Semi-final competitions will take place in early March, and during Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (April 3-7), finalists will compete for cash prizes, provided by the Graduate School and participating colleges.

Students who are interested in participating should contact one of the following associate deans for their college/program:

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources—John Stier (
College of Architecture and Design—Katherine Ambroziak (
College of Arts and Sciences—Todd Moore (
Haslam College of Business—Bruce Behn ( or Charles Noble (
College of Communication and Information—Joan Rentsch (
College of Education, Health and Human Sciences—Jeffrey T. Fairbrother (
Tickle College of Engineering and the Bredesen Center—Masood Parang (
College of Law—Alex Long (
College of Nursing—Mary Gunther (
College of Social Work—Sherry Cummings (
College of Veterinary Medicine/Comparative and Experimental Medicine—Claudia Kirk ( or Stephen Kania (

We will be announcing available workshops for participants soon, to help presenters understand the rules and what criteria will be used to evaluate their presentations.

The Graduate School and UT colleges look forward to seeing these presentations, and we hope that many students will take this opportunity to gain valuable experience in sharing the research that they are engaged in here at UT to audiences outside of their field.