Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition
The TMU Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition is an annual, university-wide competition where graduate students from all disciplines present their scholarly research and creativity in three minutes or less to a panel of non-specialist judges. The challenge is to communicate complex research in an engaging, accessible way, using only one static slide.
2023 3MT® Competition
- Anita M. Abraham, Director, Experiential Learning, Office of Vice-Provost Academic
- Dr. Kiaras Gharabaghi, Dean, Faculty of Community Services
- Dr. Jennifer Simpson, Special Adviser to the President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (Curriculum Transformation)
2022 3MT® Competition
Congratulations to Vanessa Ruscetta on placing second at the Ontario 3MT©! Vanessa represented TMU at the National 3MT© Showcase (external link) hosted by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) in November, 2022.
2019 3MT® Competition
2015 3MT® Competition: Runner-up
Zainab Al-zanbouri, Computer Science MSc
“Green and Sustainable Computing”
2015 3MT® People's Choice Award
Aaron Berhane, Immigration and Settlement Studies MA
“You Must Obey Me, Even in Canada”
- A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or “movement” of any description allowed). The slide is to remain in view for the duration of the oration.
- No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and/or video files) are permitted.
- No props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, phones, etc.) are permitted.
- Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are automatically disqualified. Participants will be able to see a countdown timer and be given a 30-second visual or audio warning.
- All presentations must be spoken (i.e., no poems, raps or songs).
- Presentations are considered commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
- The decision of the judges is final.
- To participate in the TMU 3MT® Competition, students must currently be registered in a master's (thesis or major research paper) or PhD program and have made substantial progress on their research and analysis.
- Presentations must be based on research directly related to the student’s current graduate program thesis/dissertation/major research paper (MRP).
- Presenters must agree to be videotaped (details on the registration form).
- The 3MT® presentation must represent the current thesis research of the presenter.
- Presenters must be available to present, in person, on the day of the competition, and if successful, on the day of the Ontario 3MT® Competition (if there is one).
- Please refer to the Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Considerations on the registration form before applying to compete.
- PhD and master's students who have defended but have not yet graduated are eligible.
- Competitors must be registered TMU graduate students at the time of the TMU 3MT® competition.
- Postdoctoral fellows can compete in the TMU 3MT® Competition. However, due to Ontario and national rules, they are NOT eligible to compete in the Ontario and national competitions.
- Previous winners are not eligible.
Presentations are judged according to the following criteria, each of which is equally weighted.
- Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
- Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of the research?
- Do you know what is significant about this research?
- Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?
- Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
- Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or “dumb down” their research?
- Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
- Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
- Would you like to know more about the speaker’s research?
- Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
- Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace and have a confident stance?
- Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain applicable terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
- Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation? Or did they elaborate for too long, or were rushed?
- Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract from, their presentation – was it clear, legible and concise?
Students must understand that the presentation of their research in the 3MT® competition will be publicly accessible (i.e., in the public domain).
The presentation of the research will not affect any pre-existing rights prior to and following the competition except as stated below:
- Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to sign non-disclosure statements. If your research is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, please discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and intellectual property with your supervisor(s) before participating in this competition.
- All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media, including the internet.
- Any data or information discussed or presented in public sessions should be considered “public.” If your research includes confidential or culturally sensitive material, we advise that you discuss your competition entry with your supervisor(s) before entering the 3MT® competition.
- Toronto Metropolitan University and/or any other 3MT® event-related person may take photographs, video and/or audio recordings of the presentations, or material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT® for promotional purposes and to support knowledge mobilization.
- Winner: $1000
- Runner-up: $500
- Participants’ Choice Award: $250
The first-place winner will also have all expenses paid to travel to the Ontario 3MT® Competition to represent Toronto Metropolitan University in April, 2023.
Please let us know if you require any accessibility accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event.
3MT® information/coaching workshop: January 27, 2023 / 12-1:30pm
Want to find out more before you decide to sign-up? An information session & coaching workshop will be held via Zoom on January 27 at noon. REGISTER (external link, opens in new window)
Registered participants are strongly encouraged to attend also.
- Introduction to the 3MT® Competition and what to expect
- How to uncover and talk about the “so what?” of your research topic
- How to prepare a killer PowerPoint slide (only ONE slide can be used)
- How to leave your audience wanting more!
- Effective presentation skills
3MT® one-on-one sessions (Feb. - March)
Schedule an individual session to review your presentation.
- For FEAS grad students: contact Ketan Marballi / postdoctoral and graduate student professional development specialist @ email@example.com (opens in new window)
- For all other grad students: contact May Haithem / career education specialist, Yeates School of Graduate Studies @ firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new window)
3MT® practice and feedback sessions (week of March 6)
Get some practice in front of a panel and receive feedback on your 3MT® presentation and slide before the competition!
Participants can choose to attend ONE session for a 15-minute time slot.
Please email your choice of Session 1, 2 or Session 3 to Leslie at email@example.com.
Date: March 7 / 9:30am-12:00pm
Date: March 9 / 9:30am-11:30pm
Date: March 10 / 2:00 - 5:00pm
Additional workshops (optional)
When: March 14, 2023 / 5:00pm
Where: SLC 451
2) Mitacs workshop (online): Writing and Presentations Skills (external link, opens in new window)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – What proportion of my degree must have a research component to be eligible to compete?
You are eligible to compete in the TMU competition if your degree involves a thesis, dissertation or major research paper (MRP). You must have a supervisor, have submitted your proposal and be working on your research. Generally speaking, first-year master's students in a two-year program will not have enough material to present by the competition date and should compete in the second year. PhD students must be in their second year or higher.
Q – I was a student at the time of my competition at my university but will graduate before the Ontario competition. Am I eligible to enter?
Yes. If you are eligible at the time of your university’s competition, you will remain eligible for the Ontario competition, regardless of your program status.
Q – I have participated in the 3MT® before. Can I participate more than once?
As long as you are not a previous winner, you are welcome to enter again.
Q – Can I present my oration via video call?
No, presenters must be available to present, in person, on the day of the competition. The winner is also expected to attend the Ontario competition in person.
Q – Can I present my oration as a poem, rap or song?
No. All presentations must be spoken. The 3MT® is primarily about developing students’ oration skills.
Q – Can I use a laser pointer or note cards?
No. Props of any kind are not permitted.
Q – Does my slide have to be in PowerPoint?
PowerPoint is the preferred format as all slides will be collated into a single PowerPoint presentation.
Q – How many transitions or animations can I have in my slide?
None. The slide must be static and not change in any way during the presentation. Your slide must be displayed for the duration of your presentation.
Q – Do I have to use a slide?
No, the slide is optional as the emphasis is on the oration.
Q – What happens if my presentation is longer than three minutes?
In all finals, competitors are given a 30-second warning, and a bell will sound at the three-minute limit. If a presenter continues to speak after the bell, they will be automatically disqualified.
Q – Is there a dress code?
While there is no stipulated dress requirement such as “smart casual,” you are encouraged to wear presentable, comfortable clothing — NO COSTUMES or props (including hats, masks, etc.).
Q – Will I be able to see a countdown timer at my final?
Depending on the room and AV provided, we will attempt to provide a countdown timer.
Q – Can I win more than one category?
Yes, it is possible to win both a place (first or runner-up) and the Participants’ Choice Award.
Q – What is the Participants’ Choice Award?
This is a winner that is selected by the competitors.
Q – What happens if I cannot attend the Ontario 3MT®?
The winner of the TMU 3MT® is expected to represent Toronto Metropolitan University at the next stage of the competition (the Ontario 3MT® Competition). If the winner is unable to attend the Ontario event, the runner-up will proceed to the next round of the competition.
The 3MT® Competition was developed by the University of Queensland, Australia in 2008, to promote effective communication of research. Since then, it has spread internationally. Queen’s University hosted the inaugural Ontario 3MT® Competition in 2013. The first Canadian National 3MT® Competition was held in 2014, hosted by University of Manitoba.