3 Minute Thesis


 An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present

Their time limit…3 minutes

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a National competition for postgraduate research students, run by research organisation Vitae. 3MT® challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes. The first 3MT® was held at The University of Queensland in Australia in 2008, and has been nationwide in the UK by Vitae since 2014. More information about the history of 3MT® can be found on the Vitae and 3MT® websites.

Our 2019 prize winners are as follows:

  • 1st Place – Jennifer Finlay (CLES) - Cleaning up salmon farming with lumpfish
  • 2nd Place – Hannah Meinertzhagen (CLES) - How does wind affect seabirds?
  • 3rd Place – Nina Van Volkinburg (UEBS) - Disruption to Destruction: The Effects of Digital Disruption on the Value Creation Processes within the Fashion Industry
  • People's Choice - Jennifer Finlay (CLES) - Cleaning up salmon farming with lumpfish

Jennifer Finlay will go on to represent the University of Exeter in the National Semi-Finals.

How to Apply

Registration will open for Three Minute Thesis 2019 at 10.00 on Monday 4 March 2019.  To enter, please submit a completed copy of the Three Minute Thesis Entry form 2019 by Monday 29 April 2019.

We have extended the deadline - please submit the application by midnight on Tuesday 7th/Wednesday 8th May 2019.

Shortlisting will be conducted based on abstract submitted on your entry form. Abstracts will be judged using the Three Minute Thesis criteria, with specific reference to how the abstract communications to a non-specialist audience. If your abstract is selected, you will be asked to present your Three Minute Thesis to a public audience on Friday 24 May 2019.

Postgraduate Researchers based at Cornwall campuses wishing to enter the competition should write to ResearcherDevelopment@exeter.ac.uk for financial support travelling to the Streatham Campus. A celebration at our Cornwall campuses will be announced in due course.

Three Minute Thesis Rules

Make sure you read the international 3MT® rules before applying:

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, 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.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Conditions of entry

All entrants must be a current ‘in progress’ doctoral postgraduate researchers at the University of Exeter – MRes students and students on interruption, are not eligible due to international rules.


We are delighted to welcome an esteemed panel of senior staff and external stakeholders to judge our 3MTs this year:

The final of the competition will take place on Friday 24 May, with our judges awarding prizes for First, Second and Third place using the international Three Minute Thesis judging criteria. Our Winner will go on to represent the University of Exeter in the National Competition in July 2019.

Three Minute Thesis Judging Criteria

Comprehension and content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Our 2018 prize winners are as follows:

  • 1st Place – Harriet Goodrich (CLES) – Using integrative physiology to optimise diets for sustainable aquaculture
  • 2nd Place – Joo Hou Ng (CLES) - How willingness to adapt to British culture shapes international students’ experiences of, and performance within, different spaces on campus
  • 3rd Place – Anne Blancflower (SSIS) - Kurdish cross-border, multi-party cooperation from the 1890s to the present

Harriet Goodrich will go on to represent the University of Exeter in the National Semi-Finals.

Read more at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/researcherdevelopment/research-showcase/3minutethesis/#Eut7PG1XofujxFkV.99

Our prize winners from the University wide final, were as follows:

Tim Gordon went on to represent the University of Exeter in the National Semi-Finals.

View our photos from the 2017 3 Minute Thesis competition here.  


2016 Winners

To view the videos of our prize winners please follow the hyperlinks.