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Three-Minute Thesis Competition

3MT - Three Minute Thesis - Founded by the University of Queensland

What is the 3MT® Competition?

The Ryerson 3MT® (Three Minute Thesis) is an annual, university-wide competition for graduate students in which participants communicate their scholarly research and creativity in three minutes or less to a panel of non-specialist judges. The challenge is to present complex research in an engaging, accessible and compelling way, using only one static slide.

Graduate students from all disciplines are encouraged to compete! This fun but challenging competition offers a great chance for graduate students to refine their communication, presentation, and research skills.

The Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition, held on March 27, 2018, was won by Lama Al Faseeh, a Civil Engineering PhD student!

Lama will go to the Ontario 3MT® Competition at York University on April 19, 2018, and compete against other Ontario universities for a chance to win $1000 and compete in the Canadian 3MT® Competition, external link in June 2018.


  • Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau, Special Advisor & Executive Lead, Social Innovation
  • Deborah Brown, Vice-President, Administration and Operations, Ryerson University
  • Dr. Miljana Horvat, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, FEAS
  • Dr. Hong Yu, Interim Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Programs, TRSM


The three-minute thesis competition provides graduate students with an opportunity to improve skills that can be used after graduation. The ability to communicate research in a clear and creative way, without over simplifying or making it overly-complex, is an important skill to carry into post-graduate employment.

The competition also enables students to showcase their research to a wider audience, across disciplines within the university, and to the broader public. The competition is open to the public. This is a unique opportunity to communicate the innovative and significant research undertaken by graduate students. Participants are encouraged to invite colleagues, friends and family!


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.

2018 Ryerson 3MT® Competition


Lama Al Faseeh, Civil Engineering PhD: “The Real Future: Mixed Traffic with Human-Driven Vehicles (HDV) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV)”

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are 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 and competitors exceeding three minutes are automatically disqualified. (Participants will be able to see a countdown timer and will be given a 30-second visual or audio warning).
  • Presentations are to be spoken (i.e. no poems, raps, or songs)
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judges’ panel is final.
  • To participate in the Ryerson 3MT® students must currently be registered in a Master's (thesis or MRP) or PhD program and have made substantial progress on their research and analysis.
  • Presentations must be based on research that is directly related to the student’s graduate program thesis/dissertation/MRP.
  • Presenters must agree to be video-taped (details on registration form).
  • The 3MT® must represent the 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.
  • Please ensure you refer to the Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Considerations on the registration form before applying to compete.


Please note:

  • PhD and Master's students who have defended but have not yet graduated are also eligible.
  • Post-Doctorate Fellows can compete in the Ryerson 3MT® Competition. However, due to Ontario and national rules, are NOT eligible to compete in the Ontario and national competitions.
  • Previous winners are not eligible.

Presentations will be 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 I 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 terminology that needed to be used, 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® 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, which may include 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.
  • Ryerson University, Waterloo University and/or any other event 3MT® related person may take photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes 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

People's Choice Award: $250

The first-place winner will also have all expenses paid to travel to York University to represent Ryerson at the Ontario 3MT® Competition on April 19, 2018.

Please let us know if you require any accessibility accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event. 

Registration for the 2018 3MT® Competititon is now closed.


For queries about Ryerson's 2018 3MT® Competition contact:

Leslie Mutic
Yeates School of Graduate Studies
416-979-5000 x 3480


Please let us know if you require any accessibility accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q – What proportion of my degree has to have a research component for me to be eligible to compete?

A – You are eligible to compete in the Ryerson competition if your degree involves a thesis, dissertation or MRP. You must have a supervisor and have submitted your proposal.

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?

A – 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?

A – As long as you are not a previous winner, you are welcome to enter again.

Q – Can I present my oration via Skype?

A – No. Also, the winner will also be expected to attend the Ontario competition in person.

Q – Can I present my oration as a poem, rap or song?

A – No.  The 3MT® is primarily about developing students’ oration skills.

Q – Can I use a laser pointer or note cards?

A – No.

Q – Does my slide have to be in PowerPoint?

A – 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?

A – 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?

A – No, the slide is optional as the emphasis is on the oration.

Q – What happens if my presentation is longer than three minutes?

A – In all finals, a 30-second warning will be provided to competitors (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?

A – There is no stipulated dress requirement such as “smart casual”. Please wear whatever is comfortable. NO COSTUMES (including hats, masks, etc.)

Q – Will I be able to see a countdown timer at my final?

A – Depending on the room and AV that is provided we will attempt to provide a countdown timer.

Q – Can I win more than one category?

A – Yes, it is possible to win a place (1st or runner up) and win the People’s Choice Award (or for the Ontario Competition, the Participants’ Choice Award).

Q – What is the People’s Choice Award?

A – This is a winner that is selected by either the audience or the competitors (not the judges).

Q – What happens if I cannot attend the Ontario 3MT®?

A – The winner of the Ryerson 3MT® is expected to represent Ryerson University at the next stage of the competition. If the winner is unable to attend the Ontario event, the runner-up will proceed to the next round of the competition.

3MT® Coaching Workshop   

An information session and two-part coaching workshop will be held for students registered for the Ryerson 3MT®. All participants are strongly encouraged to attend.

Rebecca Dirnfeld, Career Education Specialist-Graduate, will lend her expertise on how to prepare and present an engaging and effective three-minute presentation. In the second part of the workshop, she will cover presentation techniques such as voice, body language, and tips and tricks.

Topics to be covered include:

- Introduction to the 3MT® 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

Workshop Details:

Date: Friday, February 2, 2018
Time: 12-3 PM
Where: CED 701, Heaslip House

**Refreshments will be served **


3MT® One-on-One Sessions  

Luciana Longo, Career Education Specialist-Graduate, Faculty of Science will provide 1:1 sessions for FOS grad students. Contact her at:

Rebecca Dirnfeld, Career Education Specialist-Graduate, will provide 1:1 sessions for all other grad students. Contact her at:

3MT® Practice and Feedback Sessions

Get some practice in front of a panel and receive feedback on your 3MT® presentation and slide before the competition!

Please email your choice of Session 1 OR Session 2 to: Leslie at

Choose Session 1 OR Session 2. You will have a timeslot of 15 minutes.


Date: March 13, 2018

Time: 9:30 - 11:30 AM

Where: SLC  449



Date: March 14, 2018

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Where: SLC  516


Additional Workshops

Mitacs Workshop: Practice Your Presentation Skills

Date: February 13, 2018

Time: 9AM-5PM

Where: 1 Dundas St. West, 11th fl., YDI-1134



Introduction to Effective Oral Presentations

Date: March  13, 2018

Time: 12:00-1:00PM

Where: Student Learning Support, SLC 4th floor





2015 Canadian 3MT Competition Videos, external link

Past Trans-Tasman Competitions, external link

Winning 3MT Presentations from Around the World, external link

Past University of Queensland Competitions, external link

Additional Resources

Body language expert Mark Bowden, external link

In Praise of the Pitch (University Affairs, Dec. 2016), external link

Ontario 3MT Competition a Celebration of Innovative Research by Grad Students, external link

Academic and Professional Communication for New Researchers (, external link

PDF file“Making the Most of your 3 Minutes” (pdf)

“How to Win the 3MT”, external link

“How to Talk About your Thesis in 3 Minutes”, external link

"6 Components of Successful 3MT Speeches", external link

"3MT How-to Video", external link

Body Language Video, external link

“University of Queensland’s Overview of the 3MT Competition”, external link

Toronto Star#1, external link

Toronto Star#2, external link


For queries about Ryerson's 2018 3MT® Competition contact:

Leslie Mutic
Yeates School of Graduate Studies
416-979-5000 x 3480


Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition


Lama Al Faseeh, Civil Engineering PhD student, "The Real Future: Mixed Traffic of Human-Driven Vehicles (HDVs) and Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)"


Cina Mehrvar, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering MASc student, "A Better Way to Fix Our Bones", external link

People’s Choice Award (tied)

Laura Krieger, Psychology MA student, "Virtual Tourism", external link

Natasha Ramoutar, Professional Communication MPC student, "Fight Like a Girl: Digital Storytelling for Self-Motivation", external link


Ontario 2017 3MT® Competition

Ella Dubinsky, Psychology MA student, 3rd place and tied for the Ontario People's Choice Award., external link

Ryerson 2017 3MT® Competition


Ella Dubinsky, Psychology MA student, “Singing for Your Brain.”, external link


Celina Yang, Biomedical Physics PhD student, “Gold Nanoparticles to Improve Cancer Treatment.”, external link

People’s Choice Award

Hamza Asif, Media Production MA student, “How Network Technology Can be Used to Enhance Peer-to-Peer Learning.”, external link

> Ryerson Graduate Studies YouTube channel, external link


Ontario 2016 3MT® Competition

Michael Moore, Biomedical Physics PhD student, 2nd place., external link

Ryerson 2016 3MT® Competition

Winner and People's Choice Award

Michael Moore, Biomedical Physics PhD student, "Listening to the 'seeds' of cancer.", external link


Julie Robertson, "The Challenges of Representing Traditional Inuit Knowledge in a Geographic Information System.", external link

> Ryerson Graduate Studies YouTube channel, external link


Ryerson 2015 3MT® Competition


Jaclyn Ludmer, Psychology MA student, "Understanding Infants' Genetic and Environmental Risk for Depression.", external link


Zainab Al-zanbouri, Computer Science MSc student, "Green and Sustainable Computing."

People's Choice Award

Aaron Berhane, Immigration and Settlement Studies MA student, "You Must Obey Me, Even in Canada."

Ontario 2015 3MT® Competition

Ontario 2015 3MT Winner, external link

Ontario 2015 Finalists, external link

Canadian 2015 3MT® Competition

Canadian 2015 3MT® Competition, external link


Ontario 2014 3MT® Competition

Muhammad Ali Naqvi, 3rd place and winner of the Ontario People's Choice Award., external link

Ontario 2014 Finalists, external link

Ryerson 2014 3MT® Competition


Muhammad Ali Naqvi, Molecular Science PhD student, "Milk. It does the body good...but how?", external link


Adrian Bulzacki, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student, "Machine Recognition of Human Gestures Aided by Commercialization.", external link

People's Choice Award

Fatima Hussain, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student, "Magic! or Machines?", external link

Ryersonian Article

"Three minutes to change the world", external link


Ontario 2013 3MT® Competition

> Competitors (including Ryerson's finalist) from the 2013 Ontario 3MT® Competition., external link