Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)

3MT: Three Minute Thesis, Founded by the University of Queensland

What is a 3MT competition?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a competition for master’s and doctoral students to develop and showcase their research communication skills. Developed by The University of Queensland, 3MT cultivates students’ academic, professional, presentation and research communication skills. To be successful, competitors must effectively explain their research in three minutes, using language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Villanova's competition offers three prizes. Our panel of judges will select a first-place winner ($1,000 award) and a second-place winner ($500 award). In addition, audience members in attendance will select a "People's Choice" winner ($250 award). The first place winner of Villanova’s 3MT® competition is entered into the regional 3MT competition for the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools.

How do I enter the competition?

All students must submit a self-recorded video of their presentation according to the timeline listed below. All video submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee in their respective colleges and finalists will be invited to present live at the final competition on February 24, 2023. See below for specific submission details and submission form button.

What are the rules?

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or movements of any description are allowed. The slide will be presented from the beginning of the oration. For the initial video submission, the PowerPoint slide can be attached as a file along with the video recording 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 three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three 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.

What are the 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:

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and communication:

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or over-generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible and concise?

Who is eligible?

ALL graduate and law students who have engaged in research while at Villanova University are eligible to enter this contest. Whether you are a master’s, law, or doctoral student, writing a thesis or dissertation, completing research during an internship off-campus, or working on a research paper for a course, you are eligible to apply for this exciting competition.

NOTE:This competition is open to ALL graduate and law student researchers, regardless of whether they attend classes online, hybrid, or in person.

What is the schedule for 2023-2024?

Date Time Program
Wednesday, October 4, 2023 12:00 p.m. Virtual Information Session - Register here!
Wednesday, November 15, 2023 12:00 p.m. Virtual Information Session - Register here!
October - November, 2023 Various Research Communication Skill Building Workshops (see below for more information)
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
12:00 p.m. Virtual Information Session - Register here!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

11:59 p.m. Online Video Submissions Due
Friday, February 23, 2024 5:00 p.m. Notification of Finalists
Thursday, March 14, 2024
TBD Dress Rehearsal for Finalists
Friday, March 15, 2024
3:00 p.m. Villanova’s 3MT Competition, Register to Attend 3MT!
Friday, April 26, 2024
3:00 p.m.
Regional 3MT Competition organized by NAGS

Research Communication Skills Workshops

The Grad Center is partnering with centers, instititues, and departments across the University to offer graduate students skill building workshops in a variety of research communication areas, including:

  • Presentation Anxiety
  • Communicating the Value of Your Research to a Broad Audience
  • Data Visualization

Learn more and access registration links for the workshops that are offered this semester.


Online Video Submissions

Students are required to enter a video submission by Sunday, February 18, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Entries must be submitted through the form using the button below. Applicants are required to upload their three-minute video to OneDrive, Google Drive, or YouTube, and to share a link to the video.

Applicants are welcome to record their video on their own using whatever device they chose. If applicants would like to record their video on campus or require any other assistance, they should reach out to the Grad Center.

Notification of Finalists

Finalists will be notified if they are invited to present at the March 15 competition by Friday, February 23, 2024.

Villanova’s 3MT Competition

The 3MT campus competition took take place on Friday, February 24, 2023, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Topper Theatre of the John and Joan Mullen Performing Arts Center. The competition was judged by a panel of judges from university leadership, which will awarded prizes to first and second place. The audience  selected the winner of the people's choice award. View a full recording of the program!

Presentation Resources

Villanova’s Center for Speaking and Presentation (CSP) is an excellent resource as you prepare for your video submission as well as the final competition. CSP recommends scheduling several sessions with them as you prepare and perfect your presentation. Schedule your initial consultation.

See the videos from the Spring 2023, Spring 2022, Spring 2021,and Spring 2020 competitions.

Check out the videos of winning presentations from some of our peer institutions:

Check out the videos in the 3MT Hall of Fame:

Finally, here are some online resources to promote your success:

3MT is a professional and highly engaging international research communication competition

To learn more about the competition's history and rules, and to gain valuable preparation tips, visit the 3MT website.

Villanova 3MT Winner 2024

Claire Jones

Graduate biology student Claire Jones took first place in Villanova's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for their presentation, “How do chickadees communicate about the presence and absence of food?” Learn more.  

Villanova 3MT Winner 2023

Villanova 3MT Winner for 2023 competition.

Graduate chemistry student Eliana Uriona took first place in Villanova's 2023 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for her presentation, "Optimizing Biochar Conditions for Heavy Metal Immobilization in Contaminated Soils." Learn more.

Villanova 3MT Winner 2022

Villanova student presenting at the 2022 3MT competition.

Graduate psychology student Sam Sinemus took first place in Villanova's 2022 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for his presentation, "The Impact of Modeling Mental States on Goal-Directed Conversations." 

Villanova 3MT Winner 2021

Alec Tare video thumb: "Training Warehouse Managers to Decrease Turnover."

Alec Tare, a student in Villanova's online Human Resource Development master's program took first place in the University's 2021 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition for his presentation, "Training Warehouse Managers to Decrease Turnover." 

Villanova 3MT Winner 2020

Philosophy PhD student Katherine Kurtz qualified for nationals and took second place at the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT Research Presentation Competition for her work, "Deviant Bodies: Toward an Aesthetics of Feminine Monstrosity."