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3 Minutes, 1 Slide…..Your Thesis! An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present; how about in just 3 minutes with the aid of a single slide?

We are inviting DPhil students to do just that. The 3 Minute Thesis competition challenges doctoral candidates to present a compelling spoken presentation on their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a non-specialist audience.

The Benefits

The competition will help you to develop your communication skills, vital to raise awareness of your work, seek support and obtain funding. You will be able to develop ways of explaining complex ideas in a way that is accessible and engaging for a non-specialist audience, raise the profile of your work, enhance your CV, and network with like-minded researchers.

The Oxford Competition

Oxford will run a two-stage competition, first the heat to select four finalists. Next the final to find the overall winner. The winner of the Oxford final will be entered into the national semi-finals, and if they are successful they will go on to the national final in Birmingham, with their expenses paid to attend.

Up to 4 finalists will all be awarded a prize:

  • 1st prize: £200
  • Runner-up prizes: £100

There are also prizes for winners in the national final: last year’s winner was awarded a £3,000 grant to spend on public engagement activity, sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to promote their research and to enhance their professional development.

View the finalists for the 2016 competition.

Register for the heat

Thurs 30 May, 3-4pm, Manor Road Buildingregister

At the heat you will deliver your Three Minute Thesis to a panel of judges. See rules below. Finalists will then be selected to present at the final on 19 June, 5-6pm at the Manor Road Building.

By registering for the heat you confirm that you are available to attend the final on 19 June and are eligible.

If you don’t want to compete or want to invite your colleagues, please just show up.


Specialist training is available for all to help you develop your pitch. You will be taken through the key ingredients to craft a compelling three minute presentation, and have the chance to get feedback on your presentations. Simply register for a session to suit:



Active DPhil 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. Post-doctoral Graduates are not eligible.


  • Training, either 25 or 27 March
  • 28 May: Heat registration deadline
  • 30 May: Heat
  • 19 June: Final
  • 5 July 2019: national semi-finals (video judging)
  • Mid-Aug: National finalists announced
  • 16 September 2019: national final, Birmingham


  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

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?

Further links:

FAQ for competitors

Competitor guide