3 Minute Thesis

We are excited to hosting the Three-minute Thesis Heats for 2021 as part of DocFest 21

Each year 1000’s of doctoral students from over 900 universities across 85 countries come together in 3MT © to explain to a non-expert audience in plain language the premise of their research and 80,000-word thesis.

This would normally take over 9 hours-but not at 3MT!

In just 3-minutes, with one PowerPoint slide, doctoral students for across all faculties and disciplines at Charles Sturt will share their exciting research projects: research that will help to build stronger, healthier and more resilient communities for our future.

The 3MT@CSU Heats will be held online via zoom in three rounds with one round held on each day of DocFest.  The heats will be judged by a guest panel and finalists will be chosen to progress to the Charles Sturt Finals to be held in Wagga in June/July.

We look forward to having many of our HDR candidates participate and invite you all to join us in the audience at DocFest to support them and be amazed by their work.

Interested in finding out more or entering?

You can find out more by visiting the 3MT@CSU Homepage and you can register to participate here.

I would like to enter but need some help to prepare?

The Academic Literacy Coordinator and the Professional Development team from the Office of Research Services and Graduate Studies will be running a series of workshops this year to help you prepare your 3MT presentation pitch and slides.

Read the details and/or register for these on the PD calendar. Here is a brief summary…

17 March

3MT – A panel of finalists share their experience
Hear about experiences from previous 3MT finalists.
(2 hours, 0900-1100 AEST)

26 March

Research Pitching Skills
Specifically for candidates who are considering entering the 3MT competition
(2 hours, 1300-1500 AEST)

3MT Training Cafes

These workshops are for people who have registered for the 3MT competition to hone the presentation and presentation skills for all 3MT candidates.

Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all of these workshops. Registrations for these close on the 5th of April.

Read the details and/or register for these on the PD calendar. Here is a brief summary…

7 April

3MT Training Café 1 – Create a winning pitch
A workshop focussing on 3MT skills and the opportunity to start to work on creating your own winning pitch. (2 hours, 0900-1100 AEST)

9 April

3MT Training Café 2 – Pitch to persuade
This interactive workshop, facilitated by Dr Peter Copeman. Learn about story telling, slide design,
performance craft, connecting with an audience and get some great feedback.  (3 hours, 1000-1300 AEST)

30 April

3MT Training Café 3 – Scripts in progress
Bring your best draft of your pitch and slide, share it and receive feedback from Peter and from other group members. (3 hours, 1000-1300 AEST)

21 May

3MT Training Café 4 – Presentations in progress
This session is the final and this one is GOLD!  Come with your best, fully prepared presentation,
including your slide.  (3 hours, 1000-1300 AEST)

Useful links


From Michelle Toutounji, the 2018 Charles Strut 3MT winner about what participation in the 3MT meant to her:

“Today, there is growing scepticism of science. Scientific progress has allowed us to live longer and more comfortable lives, but amazingly a large proportion of the public has a negative perception of science. As scientists, we need to do a better job of promoting ourselves and our work. The three-minute thesis (3MT) competition is all about effective scientific communication and building trust in scientists.

As a predominantly detail-oriented person, this competition gave me the opportunity to exercise my right brain. While I was writing my speech, I was able to take a good step back and see the big picture impact of my research. This helped me articulate how my research can help the everyday person. I can’t stress how much easier it is to answer a friend or family member when asked what my PhD project is all about.

I highly recommend participating in the 3MT competition. I was a last minute sign up and didn’t think I would get very far. But with enthusiasm and lots of practice, I got to represent CSU in the Asia-Pacific Finals. I’m now more confident with public speaking and the whole experience was really fun”.

We look forward to your involvement in this exciting initiative.

Further Information

Please contact the Charles Sturt 3MT organisers via CSU3MT@csu.edu.au

Competition Rules

Candidates MUST have had their candidature confirmed/passed their endorsement of candidature milestone to be eligible to enter.

  • One PowerPoint slide only (no animations or slide transitions allowed)
  • No additional media is allowed (e.g. audio or video files, paper hand-outs)
  • No additional props are allowed (e.g. costumes, instruments, tools or equipment)
  • Presentations are strictly limited to 3 minutes maximum. Presentations over 3 minutes will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the two judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

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?

Judging criteria taken from the official 3MT(c) handbook.

Congratulations to 2020's finalists!

Congratulations to all finalists in Charles Sturt University 2020 Three Minute Thesis competition.

Winning the Judges’ Choice was Jennifer Schwarz from the Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences / School of Psychology and who will compete at the UQ final in Brisbane.

Presenter 3MT Presentation

Jennifer Schwarz - School of Psychology

Understanding and supporting adults who ask ‘Am I Autistic?’

Mandy Cooke - School of Education

It’s not just physical: Understanding risk-taking in early childhood education

Tabita Tan  – School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Saving the goats: Why we need an outbreak response plan for Q fever

Debra Metcalf - School of Psychology

Defining our foods for the future

Jonathan Hewis - School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Surviving the tunnel: The lived experience of distress in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Mitchell Kunnen – School of Exercise Science, Sport & Health

Determining psychological readiness after ACL injury