BEL Faculty 3MT® Competition

An 80,000-word PhD thesis would take nine hours to present.

Their time limit? Just three minutes.




Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a global competition that celebrates the exciting research conducted by higher degree research students (MPhil and PhD) and cultivates students' academic presentation and research communication skills.

The competition challenges students to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

About the competition

As a higher degree research student, this is your opportunity to raise your profile, practice your presentation skills and communicate your research to the broader community in three minutes. Registrations are now open for the business, economics and law school heats, which will be held in July (see dates below), before the top two students from each heat will progress to the BEL Faculty Final on 6 August. Register to attend the BEL Faculty Final either virtually or in-person.

Although it might be daunting, presenting in a 3MT competition helps develop a number of lifelong skills that go well beyond university. In addition to building your confidence and presentation skills, it also increases your capacity to summarise your research succinctly and communicate it effectively to a non-specialist audience.

To register as a competitor for the 2021 Three Minute Thesis Competition you will need to complete the registration form.

Your 3MT Event Coordinator will contact you to confirm your participation and provide additional details about your school's heats.  Please contact your School/Institute's HDR Liaison Officer if you have any questions about participating in the 3MT.

Congratulations to our 2020 BEL Faculty winners!

Winner and People's Choice:  Sabrina Lenzen, School of Economics.  'Be active, prevent dementia!'

Runner-Up:  Vitor Sobral, UQBS. 'Leveraging regular sport team events for tourism'

Watch the 2020 individual competitor entries.

Why participate?

Develop academic, presentation and research communication skills

Build these skills in a supportive environment and hone your ability to effectively explain your research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Build a research culture in schools and institutes

3MT provides a valuable opportunity for HDR candidates to come together, get to know one another and talk about their research.

Build your professional network

Gain exposure for your research among other researchers, businesses and the media and build your professional network.


"3MT has given me an amazing opportunity to develop myself both professionally and personally. Through the competition, I was able to share my research with a broader audience and expand my professional network. I have also gained so much more confidence in public speaking which, I believe, is a critical skill in both academic and non-academic environments. I truly enjoyed the experience and I strongly encourage other HDR students to participate in the 3MT this year."

Michelle Tran, BEL Faculty 3MT winner, 2019

How it works

Active MPhil or PhD candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone are eligible to participate in 3MT.

1. School Heats

Business | 2 July, 11am, online, via Zoom. 
Register to attend by 27 June.

Law | 19 July, 11am, online, via Zoom.
Register to attend by 12 July.

Economics | 20 July, 11am, School of Economics Boardroom, Level 6, Colin Clark building, St Lucia campus (with option to Zoom in).
Register to attend by 12 July.

BEL Faculty students compete first in the school's heats in July.

  • Competitors must register to compete via student hub and submit their recorded presentation to their HDR coordinator
  • Videos will be shared with the judging panel in advance and a decision made before the event
  • Videos will be played on the day with questions from the judges in between each video
  • People’s Choice voting will occur via a zoom poll for audience members before the winners are announced

2. BEL Faculty Final (Friday 6  August)
The winner and runner up from each of the school heats are entered into the BEL Faculty Final. Register to attend the final online.

3. UQ 3MT Wildcard Competition (Wednesday 25 August)
The People's choice from the Faculty Final competes in the Wildcard Competition.

4. UQ 3MT Final (Wednesday 15 September)
The Winner of the Faculty final competes against winners from other UQ faculties and institute.

5. Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition (27 September - 20 October)

The winner of the UQ 3MT final progresses to the 2021 Asia-Pacific 3MT competition.

For a detailed rundown of dates and venue locations, see the UQ 3MT Competition page.

Delivering a virtual presentation requires just as much preparation and finesse as an in-person one. Check out this helpful guide for writing, practicing and delivering your presentation and the links below to get ready for your 3MT presentation.

Resources for Competitors
Download the 2021 3MT Handbook for UQ HDR Students.
Download the PowerPoint slide - 3MT Identifying Details (Wide)

Information Session
Download the 2021 3MT Information Session for HDR Candidates PowerPoint slides.

  • If you would like a copy of the session recording please email (UQ HDR candidates & staff only)

CDF Session
Click here to register to attend the Presenting for 3MT training session as part of the Career Development Framework.

Other useful links

For a detailed rundown of dates and venue locations, see the UQ 3MT Competition page.

This presentation includes Q&A between the judges and each competitor and to further explore their thesis. Introduction by Prof Brent Ritchie, BEL Faculty Associate Dean (Research).

3MT BEL Faculty Final 2020 from UQ Law on Vimeo.

Presentation timestamps

09:08 - Rebecca Barber
The competence of the UN General Assembly to better respond to human rights and humanitarian crises.

15:43 - Yvonne Breitwieser-Faria
The Prevention of Atrocity Crimes - Legal Obligations and State Responsibility: 'We can, and we must, do better'.

22:30 - Sabrina Lenzen
Be active, prevent dement!

29:20 - Vitor Sobral
Leveraging regular sport team events for tourism

36:02 - Kieu My Tran (Michelle)
How healthcare should be distributed?

48:23 - Feedback from the lead judge, Jocelyn Bosse.

Winner's presentation, Michelle Tran - 3MT BEL Faculty Final 2019

Runner up's presentation, Jocelyn Bosse - 3MT BEL Faculty Final 2019

2018 BEL Faculty Winner & People's Choice

More than 250 UQ HDR students participated in the competition in 2018. Here’s what our BEL 2018 winners, Jocelyn Bosse and Maria Golubovskaya had to say.

It was interesting to hear about what other PhD candidates are doing, especially because I don’t interact often with people in the Business School. Even people in my own School – I know vaguely what they’re working on but it was fantastic to learn more.

The competition helped me unpack my own research and work out how to communicate what it is that I’m doing in a very short time frame to people who aren’t in my field. Now I have something I can go to as a framework to explain it really quickly – I have my elevator pitch ready!”

- Jocelyn

Jocelyn Bosse | Fruitful partnerships: Science, law, and the Kakadu plum

Watch Jocelyn's 3MT presentation below or read her story.

2018 BEL Faculty Runner-Up

Maria Golubovskaya | Tell us what you really think! The voice of youth at work

“I enjoyed the exercise of having to communicate what my thesis was about in very general and succinct language. The 3MT is great for your research portfolio, but it’s also an opportunity to see whether you can convince others of the importance of what you’re doing, and whether you understand it well enough to be able to explain it in a short amount of time to a broader audience.”

- Maria

Watch Maria's 3MT presentation below or read her story.

About 3MT®

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) was developed here at UQ in 2008 and has spread to over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide. 

Visit 3MT website