Three-minute thesis

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a competition established by the University of Queensland in 2008 that has since spread to more than 600 universities across the world.

Could you explain your thesis in 180 seconds?

Official logo for the Three-Minute Thesis competition

Doctoral students are challenged to condense their research into a talk of three minutes or less that is engaging, inspiring and entertaining for a non-specialist audience.

One static PowerPoint slide, no other resources or props, and a three-minute countdown timer.

This is a great opportunity to develop your confidence at presenting your research to a general audience, enhancing your presentation and communication skills and now with the added bonus of developing your digital presentation skills.

Visit the 3MT website to learn more about the competition history and rules, gain valuable preparation tips, and check out videos.

3MT 2021 Competition is now open!

We are excited to announce the University of Surrey will once again be participating in the national Vitae 3MT® competition 2021 process.

Along with the opportunity to win prizes, the competition provides Postgraduate Researchers with an opportunity to develop presentation and communication skills, raise the profile of their research and act as a career-booster. (Vitae, 2020)

Key Dates for 2021:

3MT Briefing Session:

  • Fri 19th March 10-11am. To find out more about the Surrey 3MT 2021 Competition PGRs are invited to register for a 3MT briefing session which will provide plenty of opportunity for questions. Please register here

3MT Training Workshop:

To support the development of communication and presentation skills, knowledge of the competition and to help build confidence PGRs are invited to participate in one of the following 3MT skills workshops:

  • Mon 29th March 14.00-16.00
  • Thurs 15th April 10.00-12.00

For full workshop details and to register please log into Surrey Self Service.

Deadline for recorded 3MT first round submissions:

  • Fri 7th May 10am UK Time

To submit your recording please complete the 3MT submission form where you will be asked to upload your video file.

Surrey Finalists Announced:

  • 24th May

One to one professional performance coaching provided for all Surrey Finalists.

Final Submission:


  • 9th June 10am

Winners Announced:

  • 23rd June – The Surrey 3MT Judges’ winner and the People’s Choice Winner will be announced at the 2021 Doctoral College Conference – Shaping Futures.
  • 2nd July – The Judges’ overall winner will be entered into the national semi-final competition, coordinated by Vitae and national finalists will have the opportunity to present at the 2021 Vitae Researcher Development International Conference mid-September.


Six Surrey Finalists will each win £50 worth of Amazon vouchers and the overall Judges’ winner will win £100 voucher, with the Judges’ Runner up and the People’s Choice Winner each receiving £50 worth of vouchers.

Further Information and to help prepare for the 2021 competition see the links below:

Click here to watch the recordings of the 2020 Surrey 3MT Competition Finalists.

Watch the recording of the whole Vitae 3MT® 2020 final broadcast 

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition website

The Surrey 3MT competition was a game changer for me. It can be definitely nerve-wrecking as you are engaged in public speaking under time pressure, but being forced to condense my PhD thesis down into the most essential three minutes has been absolutely invaluable. Without a doubt, the 3MT allows you to hit the right level of complexity in explaining your research to a diverse audience, and this completely redefined my approach to research.

Hashini Thirimanne - Research Fellow, ATI and 2017 Surrey 3MT Winner

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