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Academic Skills

A student presenting on stage

Academic Skills

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) at Trent

Thank you for supporting 3MT at Trent University

Trent News: 2019 Three Minute Thesis Winner Crowned At Market Hall

Three Minute Thesis - registered logo, founded by the University of Queensland

What is the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)?

The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®)  presents Masters and Ph.D. students with the ultimate challenge: to explain their complex and highly specialized research and ideas to a general audience in just three minutes, using only one Power Point slide.

3MT® was begun at the University of Queensland in 2008 as part of an effort to encourage graduate students to develop their skills in communicating their research. It has spread to universities throughout the world with students participating in a wide range of university, regional, and international competitions.

This event is generously sponsored by The Pan Colleges Fund, Trent Community Relations, the Trent Graduate Students Association, the School of Graduate Studies, The Office of the President, and the Office of the Provost.

College logos and crests: Champlain College, Lady Eaton College, Peter Gzowski College, Otonabee College, and Catharine Parr Traill College

Why Three Minute Thesis (3MT®)?

The skills developed while preparing for and competing in 3MT® are central to graduate students' growth as professionals. From job interviews, to networking with colleagues at conferences, to conversations with family and friends, graduate students are often in situations where they must describe their research, and its larger importance, in language accessible and engaging to a non-specialist audience. Forcing participants to balance complexity and depth with clarity and concision, 3MT® hones skills that will benefit graduate students as they move toward professional careers.

3MT® also provides an excellent opportunity for conversation across disciplines and with the general public. The event is advertised widely and participants share key insights from their research with a diverse audience.


  • President’s First Prize -$500 and GSA Travel Stipend
  • School of Graduate Studies First Runner Up - $250
  • Catharine Parr Traill College Honorable Mention -$250
  • Provost’s People’s Choice Award -$250

Thanks to generous funding from the Trent Graduate Student Association and the School of Graduate Studies, the 2019 President's First Prize winner will have the opportunity to compete at the Ontario Provincial Finals.


  • Students must be registered in a Trent Masters (Thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the 3MT® competition, and must have made substantial progress on their research and analysis.  Course-based Masters students are ineligible.
  • PhD and Masters students who have defended but have not yet graduated are eligible to participate.
  • Presentations must be based on research that is directly related to the student’s graduate program thesis, dissertation or MRP. The 3MT® presentation must represent the research of the presenter.
  • Presenters must agree to be video-taped and allow the video to be shared publicly.
  • Presenters must consent to 3MT® confidentiality/intellectual property guidelines.
  • The winner of Trent's 3MT® should be available to attend the Ontario Provincial Final on April 17, 2019 at McMaster University. Expenses for this event will be covered by Trent.


  1. A single static Power Point slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any description). The slide must remain in view for the entire presentation.
  2. No additional electronic media (such as sound and/or video files) are permitted.
  3. No props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  4. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum, and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  5. Presentations are to be spoken (for example, no poems, raps or songs).
  6. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.
  7. No notes are allowed during the presentation.
  8. The decision of the judges' panel is final.

Judges and Judging Criteria

Trent's 3MT® Competition will be decided by 3- 5 esteemed judges, including members of the Trent and Peterborough communities and Trent Alumni. Together, the panel represents a diverse range of perspectives.

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 language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
  • Was the pace of the talk effective?
  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e. eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
  • Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the talk – was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is interesting about the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?


  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?

Videos: 2019 3MT prize winners

President’s First Prize and Provost’s People’s Choice Award

Katharine Viscardis, Canadian Studies, "Locked Away And Out Of Sight"

School of Graduate Studies Runner Up

Hannah Mackellar, Environmental and Life Sciences, "Characterizing Migration in Hudson Bay’s Whimbrel Population"

Catharine Parr Traill College Honourable Mention

Anna Currier, Sustainability Studies, "Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the City of Peterborough’s Civic Engagement Strategy"

Trent Three Minute Thesis is generously supported by the School of Graduate Studies, Trent External Relations, The Trent Graduate Student Association, Catharine Parr Traill College, the Academic Skills Centre, The Office of the President, and the Office of the Provost.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

Trent University would like to thank the University of Queensland and Queen's University for use of language and images included on this site.