1 slide, 3 minutes, outstanding ideas

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges research-based graduate students to articulate the impact and breadth of their research in a 3 minute presentation, using just 1 static power point slide.

The Three Minute Thesis was first established in 2008 by the University of Queensland (UQ), as a research communication competition that cultivates students' presentation and communication skills and provides them with invaluable networking opportunities. 

Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities and institutions across 65 countries worldwide.

3MT at Waterloo

Since 2013 the 3MT competition has been going strong at Waterloo, with more than 1000 students taking part in the competition over the years. For a complete list of past 3MT competitors, check out our 3MT alumni page.

Each year University of Waterloo hosts the largest 3MT competition in Canada, and over the years we've produced provincial and even national champions.

How it works

  • Each year master's and doctoral students who are registered in research-based graduate programs at Waterloo are encouraged to participate.
  • Once registration closes, heats are organized at the faculty or departmental level.
  • Some departments/faculties provide financial incentives for participants and/or winners.
  • Winner are selected from among the department/faculty-based heats to advance to the university-wide final.
  • The university-wide final is hosted by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.  The event is held in a large theatre on campus, and is free to attend.  
  • The judging panel is frequently comprised of "special guests." Previous judges have included mayors, industry partners, radio personalities, etc.
  • Audience members at the university-wide event are encouraged to vote for their People's Choice winner by using their smart devices.
  • A Winner, Runner-Up and People's Choice are announced. Prizes are awarded.

Ontario Provincial and Canadian National 3MT competitions

  • The University of Waterloo champion advances to the Ontario Provincial 3MT competition. Universities across Ontario take turns hosting the competition each year.
  • At the provincial competition a Winner, Runner-Up and People's Choice Winner are named, in addition to "honourable mentions" who all advance to the Canadian National 3MT competition.
  • The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) hosts the Canadian National 3MT competition
  • Videos from finalists selected from universities across Canada are posted the CAGS website. Viewers are encouraged to vote for People's Choice.
  • The Canadian National 3MT champions are selected by a panel of judges (some of them celebrities!).
  • Winner are announced and prizes are awarded at the National level.
  • To date, our 3MT Canadian National Champions have not been invited to compete at the international level, but who knows what the future holds?