3 Minute Thesis

Graduate Studies

3 Minute Thesis


3 Minute Thesis

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  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted 
  • PowerPoint slide should be created using an aspect ratio of 16:9
  • 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) is permitted
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers or note cards) are permitted
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • Presentations are to be delivered in regular prose (eg no poems, slam poetry, raps, songs, or spoken word presentations)
  • Presentations must commence from and remain on the stage
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter initiates either movement or speech
  • The decision of the judging panel is final

Judging Criteria

Please remember that the 3MT is a communication exercise and the point of the event is to give students the opportunity to communicate their scholarly research and creativity.

At every level of the competition each competitor’s presentation will be assessed according to the criteria listed below.  Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.


  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (ie. eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc) effectively?
  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear, jargon free and understandable to general audience?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation? Did they elaborate for too long on one aspect, or did the presentation feel rushed?


  • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research and creativity being undertaken?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of their research?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate the fascinating or compelling aspects of their research?
  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?


  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain the audiences attention?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise? 


  • To participate in 3MT®  @ Queen's you must currently be an active Masters (Thesis or MRP), PhD Or DSc program at the time of the competition and must have made substantial progress on your research and analysis.  
  • Course based Masters students are ineligible
  • PhD and Masters students who have defended, but have not yet convocated, are eligible to participate.
  • Post-Docs are invited to participate as guests and will be judged separately to the graduate students . The top postdoc in each heat may go through to the final, but are ineligible for the prize money and are not eligible to compete in either the Ontario 3MT, National 3MT or Matariki 3MT.
  • Visiting grad students and Exchange grad students may participate in the Queen's 3MT competition as guests, but will not be eligible to represent Queen's in either the Ontario 3MT, National 3MT or Matariki 3MT, and are not eligible for the prize money. 
  • Presentations must be based on the primary research the student has conducted in their graduate program.
  • Presenters must agree to be video-taped and if in the final, give permission to have the video available on our website/Queen's YouTube
  • Presenters must agree to be photographed and give permission for the photos to be used for promotional purposes.
  • Presenters must have registered, completed the information form, sent in a photograph of themselves and received confirmation of participation from the School of Graduate Studies.
  • Presenters must be available to present, in person, on the day of their heat.  To advance in the competition, heat winners must also be available to present, in person, at the School of Graduate Studies final.
  • The Winner will be expected to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT® competition

It is understood that by registering, you have discussed your participation with your Supervisor and have agreed that you fulfill the eligibility requirements set out above.

NOTE: Past winners & Runner Up will not be eligible.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Considerations

The 3MT® must represent the thesis\project research of the presenter. Students must understand that the presentation of their research in a 3MT setting will be publicly accessible and 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, judges, reviewers, staff or the audience  will not be asked 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 before participating in the 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 which may include the Internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or presented in public sessions should be considered in the public domain.
  • 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®
  • The School of Graduate Studies, Queen's University and the 3 Minute Thesis Competition may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations or material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT®



  • Prizes for the top three graduate participants and best post-doc in each heat.


  • Winner: $1000 cash
  • Runner-up: $500 cash
  • People's Choice: TBA

Graduate Winner to represent Queen's at the Ontario 3MT and the Matariki 3MT
Runner Up and 3rd place to represent Queen's at the Matariki 3MT


If you have any accessibility requirements or special needs, call Colette at 613 533 6000, ext 78776 or email grad.recruitment@queensu.ca