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Three Minute Thesis

An 80,000 word PhD thesis would take nine hours to present. Your time limit... three minutes.

The three-minute thesis (3MT) competition was developed by the University of Queensland to celebrate the exciting research conducted by doctoral research students. Since the inaugural event at the University of Queensland in 2008 the popularity of the competition has reached truly global heights with 900 universities holding events across 85 countries.

This year, we are launching our own competition to decide who will represent the University at the national 3MT competition run by Vitae.

Why should I take part?

  • Develop your presentation and public speaking skills
  • Develop your research communication and public engagement skills
  • Networking opportunities
  • The winner will represent the University of Liverpool at the National Vitae 3MT competition
  • Raise your own researcher profile
  • Prizes to be won

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 considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final

Key dates and information

24 March 2023: Three Minute Thesis workshop

Dr Jamie Gallagher, former international 3MT winner, will be providing a workshop open to all PGRs. The workshop will help to prepare PGRs to enter the UoL 3MT competition by offering expert guidance on presentation narrative, slide design, and presentation style. Register via Eventbrite.

Midday 14 April 2023: Deadline to submit entry video for faculty heats

See how to enter section (below) for more information and guidance.

Early May 2023: Faculty winners announced  

More information to follow

Mid-May 2023: 1:1 Individual coaching sessions for finalists

More information to follow

23 May 2023: University of Liverpool 3MT® Final 

More information to follow

June 2023: University of Liverpool Winner 3MT® enters national competition hosted by

How to enter

Find out how to enter the competition and eligibility requirements on our How to enter page.

Frequently asked questions

Back to: Researcher Hub

How will the competition be judged?

Judges will be selected from a variety of academic and professional roles across the University of Liverpool.

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

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question
  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research
  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience
  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation
  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention

*Judging criteria set by the University of Queensland

What are the prizes?

Faculty Heats

Judges' winners: (TBC)

Judges' runner-up: (TBC)


University of Liverpool Final

Judges' winner: (TBC)

Judges' runner-up: (TBC)

People’s choice award: (TBC)

What guidance and support are available?

University of Liverpool 3MT development opportunities

The Three Minute thesis workshop will be open to all PGRs. The workshop will help PGRs to enter the UoL competition by offering expert guidance on presentation narrative, slide design, and presentation style.

Finalists will be offered 1:1 coaching from an external expert.

External resources

How to prepare your 3MT- Competitor guide 3MT®, University of Queensland  

How to record your 3MT – Video recording competitor guide 3MT®, University of Q

Is it worth doing the three minute thesis?- By Mary Woessner, Victoria University

How to win the 3 minute thesis- By Dr Inger Mewburn (aka @thesiswhisperer)

Making the most of your 3 minutes- Simon Clews, University of Melbourne

Talk nerdy to me – Melissa Marshall’s TED talk

Presenting your research effectively and with confidence - By previous 3MT finalists (Taylor & Francis resource)

How a competition changed my academic life - By Jamie Khoo, 2018 UK People's Choice winner

3MT: Three Tips to Help You Prepare a Winning Presentation, Australian National University

The three most common 3MT mistakes from the Australian National University

Watch winning 3-minute thesis presentations from around the world

Watch the 2022 Vitae UK 3MT® competition

I have missed the deadline to enter the University of Liverpool’s 3MT competition, can I still enter?

The deadlines are there to enable us to meet the timeline for the national Vitae competition. Therefore, it is imperative for you to meet these deadlines for consideration in the competition.

I have submitted my thesis but I am yet to have my Viva, can I still enter?

If your viva will take place before the date of the university final you are not eligible to enter the competition.

Is there a dress code?

There is no stipulated dress requirement such as ‘smart casual’. Some have worn suits with ties, others t-shirts and jeans. Please wear whatever is comfortable for you, although no costumes are allowed.

What is allowed on the 3MT presentation slide?

One single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. In preparing the slide, remember that 'less is more'. It does not have to include text. Visual cues are very effective in assisting the presenter's explanation of their research (no slide transitions, animations, sound or 'movement' is permitted).

Can my presentation be a poem, rap or song?

Quotes can be included from a poem or song if it is relevant to the presenter's thesis topic. Poetry and song lyrics are not permitted to be used to present the entire 3MT and their use should be very limited.

Can I win in more than one category?

Yes, it is possible for you to win a place (first, second, etc.) and win the People’s Choice Award at the university finals.

What happens if I can't attend the final?

The top 3 entries from each Faculty heat are expected progress to the next stage of the competition. If a Faculty finalist is unable to attend the university final, the next runner-up will proceed to the next round of the competition.

Can I use notes in my presentation?

Yes, palm cards and/or speech notes are acceptable, however this option may detract from the delivery of the 3MT and is not recommended.

How many finalists will there be in the University of Liverpool final?

There will be up to nine faculty finalists (three from each faculty) that progress to the university final. At the university final a judges’ first prize and second prize will be awarded alongside the people’s choice award. Only the overall winner will be entered into the Vitae national competition.

Who do I contact if I need more information?

Please contact the Academy's Researcher Development team at researcher@liverpool.ac.uk.