Three Minute Thesis competition

What's this?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition for research students, challenging them to present their research to a non-specialist audience and giving them the opportunity to practice their public engagement skills. 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. 

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.

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 voucher.

How do I take part?

Are you up for the challenge of explaining your research to a general audience in just three minutes? Or do you want to come hear about the research of UofG PGRs in understandable, bite-sized presentations? Good news! Three Minute Thesis 2020 is ready for you, and here are the dates you need to know to either participate in or enjoy watching the event.

  • Registration to participate opens on Monday 13 January 2020 and closes Friday 21 February 2020. 
  • An Information Session will take place on Wednesday 19 February 2020, at 2:00PM in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club seminar room.
  • The preliminary heats will take place on Monday through Thursday 2-5 March 2020, 2:00PM each day in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club seminar room.
  • The Three Minute Thesis Finals will take place on Friday 13 March 2020, at 3:00PM in the Senate Room.

For more information and to register please head to the Three Minute Thesis Moodle.

 Any questions, please email