About 3MT

Sandipa Bhattacharjee smiling and holding her Three Minute Thesis pennant that reads: One slide. Three minutes. Explain your thesis!

Developed by the University of Queensland, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students by cultivating students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills.

Participants are judged on the ability to effectively convey the essence and importance of their research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes, with one PowerPoint slide.

The University at Buffalo 3MT Competition is co-hosted by the Graduate School and the Startup and Innovation Collaboratory (CoLab) powered by Blackstone LaunchPad.


Currently enrolled UB doctoral students actively engaged in dissertation research who have been admitted to candidacy are eligible to participate. UB 3MT finalists who competed in previous years are not eligible.

A competitive candidate should have a well-conceived dissertation project, compelling data collected and a novel story to share. The work presented must have been conducted at the University at Buffalo for the student’s current degree program. Participants must be available to present on the day of the competition. All presentations will be videotaped and appear on the Three Minute Thesis website and Graduate School YouTube channel.


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. If material for public use is included on a slide, the reference(s) must be clearly cited on the slide. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Notes are strongly discouraged at the dress rehearsal and prohibited during the final competition.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • Decisions made by the adjudicating committee are final.

Judging Criteria

  • Communication style: Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate for an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Comprehension: Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?


  • First place: $2,000
  • Second place: $1,500
  • Third place: $1,000
  • People's Choice Award: $500 (Determined by a viewer vote using a smart device, during the event.)