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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? Dphil students are invited to apply to take part. Training and prizes are available!

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.

Training will take place on Tuesday 25 February and the final will be held on Wednesday 25 March.

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

After taking part in training (on Tuesday 25 February), participants will take part in the the final, which this year will take place during the Researchers Career Conference on Wednesday 25 March. 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 (last year 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.

Watch the national finalists from last year.


Specialist training is being provided to 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. By registering for this competition you will also be registering for training:

Tuesday 25 February | 10am-1pm | Career Lounge, Careers Services (56 Banbury Road)

If you are unable to attend the training, please let us know.

REGISTER for the final

The final takes place on:

Wednesday 25 March | 16.15-17.00 | Manor Road Building | as part of the Researchers Career Conference.

At the final you will deliver your Three Minute Thesis to a panel of judges. 

By registering, you confirm that you are available to attend the final on 25 March and are eligible.


If you decide you no longer want to compete you can withdraw at any time by giving notice via email.


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. If you have already sat the Viva Voce examination you are not eligible. Post-doctoral Graduates are not eligible.


  • Deadline to register: Monday 3 February
  • Training: Tuesday 25 February
  • Final: Wednesday 25 March
  • July: national semi-finals (video judging)
  • Mid-Aug: National finalists announced
  • Mid September: national final, location TBC


  • 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.


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