The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Ph.D. students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

Due to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, increasing social distancing measures and restrictions on public gatherings, The University of Alabama at Birmingham's Graduate School has made the decision to move the 2020 Three Minute Thesis Competition to a virtual format (video submission) in the best interests of public health.

This temporary move to a virtual video submission format will continue to allow doctoral students to participate in 3MT, hone their communication skills, receive peer review, and gain skills surrounding the presentation of their research to a wider audience. 

 3MT logo.


Active Ph.D. and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone—including candidates whose thesis is under submission—by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in 3MT competitions at all levels. Graduates are not eligible.

  • Professional Doctorate (Research) (program composed of at least 2/3 research) and funded via the Research Training Scheme (for Australian students). Professional Doctorate (coursework) students are not eligible for the 3MT® Asia-Pacific competition.

Dates and Deadlines

  • Finals judging: November 2-6
  • People's Choice voting: November 2-6
  • Virtual Watch Party for 2020 Finals: November 5, 2020 at 6 p.m. via Zoom
  • Virtual Awards Reception: November 9, 2020, at 5 p.m. via Zoom

2020 Virtual 3MT Process 

The key requirement will be that students must pre-record their presentation for consideration by the judges. This will ensure participants are not disadvantaged due to technical issues during a presentation. 

Video Submission

  • Competitors record and edit their 3MT presentations (using any available recording or mobile device) and upload to a YouTube account (competitors to set up a personal YouTube account) and provide the presentation link to Kim Eaton (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The UAB Graduate School will upload competitors 3MT video to the Graduate School website for audience viewing.
  • The UAB Graduate School will email 3MT video links and 3MT PowerPoint presentations to the judging panel.
  • Judging panel review all videos and conduct a Zoom meeting to discuss judging and final placement of winners – First and Second Place. Our Third Place winner is People's Choice.
  • The competitors moving to the Finals round will be announced online and via newsletter/social media.

Virtual Competition Rules

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).
  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute.
  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Submissions via video format (only video link provided to Kim Eaton). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.

Video Criteria

Videos must meet the following criteria:

  • Filmed on the horizontal;
  • Filmed on a plain background;
  • Filmed from a static position;
  • Filmed from one camera angle;
  • Contain a 3MT title slide (which will be provided to you);
  • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)
  • Please note: Competitors will not be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.




Competition Prizes

WinnerRunner-upPeople's Choice
$1000 $750 $500

Watch videos of the 2020 3MT Virtual Winners

1st Place: Zoya Anderson (Vitiligo: More than a Cosmetic Issue)

2nd Place: Sara Sims (Not Acting Your Age)

People's Choice: Keyur Savla (Giving insight to the blind eye-doctor)



Watch videos of the 2020 Virtual 3MT Finalists

Maheshika Somarathna (Surviving Without Kidneys)

Marlon Goering (Delinguent Outcomes of Adverse Pubertal Experience)

Monica Abdul-Chani (Solo)

Nicole Diaz (Super Helpers: The Key to Better Vaccines)

Shameka Phillips (Go to Bed! Household Chaos & Sleep in Children)

Raoud Marayati (Knocking out the villain in cancer metastasis)



2019 3MT Winners

1st Place

Katherine Sims Thompson
1st Place

Watch Video

2nd Place

Christina Glenn
2nd Place

Watch Video

People's Choice

Saleh Alhirsan
People's Choice

Watch Video


Learn More


Please email Kim Eaton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions you may have.