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Three-Minute Thesis Competition

The 3MT will not be running in 2021. It will be back in 2022!

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.

Ryerson 2019 3MT® Competition Winner Alex Kjorven

Up for the challenge?

The 3MT® competition provides graduate students with an opportunity to improve skills to use after graduation. Communicating research clearly and creatively without oversimplification or making it overly complex is an important skill to carry into post-graduate employment.

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


Registration will open in 2022.

  • 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 Ryerson 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.
  • Please 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 eligible.
  • Competitors must be a registered Ryerson graduate student at the time of the Ryerson competition.
  • Postdoctoral fellows can compete in the Ryerson 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.
  • Ryerson 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 Ryerson University.

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

3MT® coaching workshops

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

Topics include:

  • 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 (January–March)

Schedule a 1:1 session with the Ryerson 3MT® team to discuss your presentation. Participants will be contacted with more information.

3MT® practice and feedback Sessions (March)

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

Participants can choose Session 1 OR Session 2 for a 15-minute time slot.

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

Additional workshops

Stay tuned for future updates.

Ontario 2019 3MT® Competition: Winner

Alex Kjorven, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

“The Gamification of Climate Change”

Ryerson 2019 3MT® Competition: Runner-up

Wai Ying Lam, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc student

“Salty Ponds, Salty Streams?”

Ryerson 2019 3MT® Competition: Winner

Alex Kjorven, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

“The Gamification of Climate Change”

Ryerson 2019 3MT® Competition: Participant’s Choice Awards 

Michael Zara, Biomedical Engineering MASc

“Breathe Easy”

Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition: Winner

Lama Al Faseeh, Civil Engineering PhD

“The Real Future: Mixed Traffic of Human-Driven Vehicles (HDVs) and Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)”

Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition: People’s Choice Awards (tied)

Laura Krieger, Psychology MA

“Virtual Tourism”

Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition: Runner-up

Cina Mehrvar, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering MASc

“A Better Way to Fix our Bones”

Ryerson 2018 3MT® Competition: People’s Choice Awards (tied)

Natasha Ramoutar, Professional Communication MPC

“Fight Like a Girl: Digital Storytelling for Self-Motivation”

Ontario 2017 3MT® Competition: 3rd place and People's Choice

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

“Singing for Your Brain”

Ryerson 2017 3MT® Competition Runner-up

Celina Yang, Biomedical Physics PhD

“Gold nanoparticles to improve cancer treatment”

Ryerson 2017 3MT® Competition Winner

Ella Dubinsky, Psychology MA student

“Singing for Your Brain”

Ryerson 2017 3MT® Competition People’s Choice Award

Hamza Asif, Media Production MA student

“How Network Technology Can be Used to Enhance Peer-to-Peer Learning.”

Ontario 2016 3MT® Competition: 2nd place

Ryerson 2016 3MT® Competition: Winner and People's Choice Award

Michael Moore, Biomedical Physics PhD

“Listening to the ‘seeds’ of cancer”

Ryerson 2016 3MT® Competition: Runner-up

Julie Robertson, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

“The Challenges of Representing Traditional Inuit Knowledge in a Geographic Information System”

Ryerson 2015 3MT® Competition: Winner

Jaclyn Ludmer, Psychology MA

“Understanding Infants' Genetic and Environmental Risk for Depression”

Ryerson 2015 3MT® Competition: Runner-up

Zainab Al-zanbouri, Computer Science MSc

“Green and Sustainable Computing”

Ryerson 2015 3MT® People's Choice Award

Aaron Berhane, Immigration and Settlement Studies MA

“You Must Obey Me, Even in Canada”

Ontario 2014 3MT® Competition: 3rd place and People's Choice

Ryerson 2014 3MT® Competition: Winner

Muhammad Ali Naqvi, Molecular Science PhD

“Milk. It does the body good...but how?”

Ryerson 2014 3MT® Competition: People's Choice Award

Fatima Hussain, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD

“Magic! or Machines?”

Ryerson 2014 3MT® Competition: Runner-up

Adrian Bulzacki, Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD

“Machine Recognition of Human Gestures Aided by Commercialization”

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 Ryerson 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 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.

For queries about the Ryerson 3MT® Competition contact:

Leslie Mutic
Yeates School of Graduate Studies
416-979-5000, ext. 553480

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

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.