Three Minute Thesis competition

Three Minute Thesis competition

Three Minute Thesis competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition for research students that provides an excellent opportunity for them to consolidate their ideas and methods for a non-specialist audience in order to practice their public engagement skills.

"I'm now a much better speaker and it gave me the confidence I needed."   Previous Participant

Anyone who is active in a PhD, MPhil or MRes or any other research programme (at any stage, including thesis under submission) will be eligible to participate in 3MT, as long as the degree is at least two thirds research. Taught postgraduate students and graduates are not eligible.

Participants present their research verbally in just three minutes with related content presented on one PowerPoint slide. Heats take place in each of the four colleges and one winner and two runners-up from each of the four heats go through to the Grand Final. In their presentations, participants should explain:

  • What your research is about
  • How you intend to carry out your research
  • Why your research matters or/and who it affects.


The competition was initially developed at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia and has since spread to other universities, with Glasgow's being the longest running version of the competition in Scotland. If you require any further details about 3MT at Glasgow, contact Elizabeth Adams.

2017 Competition

This year's competition took place in March. The Grand Final took place on 17th March 2017, with an audience of nearly 100, including students, friends, family, supervisors and alumni.

  • Overall winner: Hannah Martin, 'Acting FAST to Cure Stroke'
  • Runner up: Jade Halbert, 'Marion Donaldson: The Business of Fashion in Post-War Glasgow, 1966-1999'
  • People's Choice: Scott Jess, 'Why is Greenland so high?'

Why take part?

This event gives an opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills which are necessary within academia and outside, such as, presenting, speaking in front of a public, communicating complicated ideas and concepts in an understandable manner. It provides an opportunity to think creatively about how to communicate your research and to learn from the approaches of other participants.

Not convinced? Watch Jamie Gallagher, winner of the 2013 3MT Thesis Competition at the University of Glasgow, explain why 3MT is a great opportunity for PhD researchers.

Jamie Gallagher, Winner of 3MT 2013.

Format and prizes

The winners and runners-up of each heat win a small prize and everyone who takes part receives a certificate. The 12 finalists then perform their presentations at the Grand final to a wide-ranging audience, including invited guests and alumni, thus showcasing the wide diversity of ground-breaking research taking place at the University of Glasgow. The overall winner of the competition wins a £1000 travel/research grant, while the runner up wins £500, again for travel/research purposes. The audience also votes for its favourite presentation so that one finalist receives a People's Choice Award of a £100 book voucher.

Previous competitions

Follow the links on the drop-down menu to view the films of presentations by participants from previous years of the competition at Glasgow, as well as the Finalists from this year's competition. These films give you an idea of the rules and regulations of the competition, which you can read more about in the 3MT Handbook 2017.