Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Criteria for your 3 Minute Thesis

About the criteria your 3 Minute Thesis presentation must meet.

The criteria for the completion, at all levels, is the same. It is simple - but strict!

  • You should present information on your current PhD research topic
  • You should present for an intelligent lay audience
  • ALL presentations for the 3 Minute Thesis will be NO MORE than 3 minutes, competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • You will only be allowed 1 SLIDE (with no transitions)
  • 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 to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs)
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final
  • You should tell us what your research is, how you are doing it, what you have discovered and why it is an important contribution to knowledge

You should present information on your current PhD research topic

  • This is a subject where you are the expert. Hopefully you are passionate about what you do. Remember to show that enthusiasm.

You should present for an intelligent lay audience

  • An intelligent lay audience is usually pretty smart, but might not know anything about your field. They will usually be members of the University, but not necessarily academics.
  • That means you should avoid the use of technical terms, jargon and specialist knowledge.
  • It also means you will have to translate your complex ideas into something much simpler. This is not about dumbing down, but gradually developing complex ideas to take the audience on a journey through your topic.
  • You will be timed, and stopped if you run over…so make sure you have timed yourself.
  • Practise, practise, practise!
  • Practise in front of a mirror so you know what you look like when you are delivering your message.
  • Practise in front of people to get feedback and to find out if you speed up when you are nervous.

You will only be allowed 1 SLIDE (with no transitions)

  • One slide isn’t much so make it engaging.
  • Use pictures and diagrams, but don’t over fill it or people won’t be able to see what you have written.
  • You won’t be allowed any transitions or animations. It really is ONE SLIDE.

You should tell us what your research is, how you are doing it, what you have discovered and why it is an important contribution to knowledge

  • Remember to keep this simple and short.
  • If your research has an obvious application then use it to engage us early.