Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

3MT - Three Minute Thesis

3MT banner

Western's 2017 3MT Final:  Wednesday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m.

The top 20 students from our six heats will present in the final competition on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 in the Davenport Theatre, Talbot College at 10:00 a.m.  A lunch reception for all 3MT participants and guests will follow in the atrium of the International and Graduate Affairs Building.

The first-place winner from Western's final will attend 3MT Ontario 2017 taking place at the University of Waterloo on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.


2017 Winners: (from left) Gregory Wallace, third place; Tamara Tavares, first place; and Shane Smith, second place.

What is 3MT?

3MT (Three Minute Thesis) is a research communication competition where graduate students have 3 minutes or less to present their research and its impact to a panel of non-specialist judges and peers. The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

The competition was developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. The first 3MT was held at UQ in 2008 with 160 graduate students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT concept grew and its adoption in numerous universities led to the development of an international competition in 2010. Western University was one of the first Canadian universities to host a 3MT competition in April, 2012.

This fun and challenging academic competition is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to improve their communication skills. Whether it be networking, a job application, research opportunity or scholarship application, the ability to effectively communicate complex research and its impact using open language is a valuable skill set.

Faculty Heat Schedule 2017 - Select Your Faculty and REGISTER Below

Heats will be hosted by each Faculty. Some faculties are grouped together based on historic participation rates. Please register under your corresponding Faculty.  Registration will close one week before your faculty heat date listed below. There will be no exceptions for missed deadlines.

Arts & Humanities, Education, FIMS, Ivey, Law, Music

Date: Friday, March 17, 2017
Time:  9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Arts and Humanities Building (AHB), Room #1B06

Last Day to Register: Friday, March 10, 2017


  • Arts & Humanities
  • Education
  • FIMS
  • Ivey
  • Law
  • Music

Faculty Coordinators: Julia Beltrano and Gabbi Whitlock


Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017
Time:  11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Spencer Engineering Building (SEB) Room #1059

Last Day to Register: Thursday, March 2, 2017


Faculty Coordinators: Whitney Barrett and Karen McDonald

Health Sciences

Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Somerville House (SH), The Great Hall

Last Day to Register: Wednesday March 22, 2017


Faculty Coordinators: Ruth Martin and Nicole Chabot

Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

Date: Monday, March 20, 2017
Time:  12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Health Sciences Addition (HSA), Room #H101

*NEW for 2017*
Schulich will be hosting a pre-heat on Monday, March 13.  The pre-heat will take place from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building, Room# 148.

The top 10 students from this pre-heat will be invited to participate in the Faculty heat on Monday, March 20. The top 10 students MUST register and upload their slide using the "Register Now!" link below by Friday, March 17, 2017 at 12:00 noon.

Last Day to Register: Friday, March 17, 2017


Faculty Coordinator: Janelle Cobban


Date: Monday, March 6, 2017
Time:  9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Physics & Astronomy Building (PAB), Room #100

Last Day to Register: Monday, February 27, 2017


Faculty Coordinator: Stephanie Attardi

Social Science

Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
Time:  10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Social Science Centre (SSC), Room #9420

Last Day to Register: Friday, March 3, 2017


Faculty Coordinator: Paul Minda

Faculty Heat Coordinators - Resources


Preparation Workshops

Teaching Support Centre

The Teaching Support Centre is pleased to offer workshops to help students prepare for the 2017 competition.

3MT Preparation for Engineering and Science Students

This session will review the major components of good presentation skills and 3MT. It will also provide participants with an opportunity to practice their 3MTs, and receive feedback on their presentations.  This workshop is offered for 3MT preparation by Engineering and Physics Lead TAs.

DATE:  Wednesday, February 22, 2017
TIME:  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: SEB 1059, SEB 2099, SEB 2100


  • More workshops TBA

Competition Details


Current Western graduate students may participate in 3MT:

  • Presentations must be based on research that is directly related to the student’s graduate program thesis, major research paper, or dissertation.
  • PhD and Master’s students who have defended but have not yet graduated are eligible to participate.
  • Presenters must be available to present, in person, on the day of their heat, and must also be available to present, in person, at the 3MT final on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.


  • A single static 4:3 PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description)
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted
  • No laser pointers are permitted
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs) in English
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be judged on the basis of three criteria:


  • Was the thesis topic communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, and maintain a steady pace?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of the presentation – did the presenter elaborate for too long or rush?
  • Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the presentation; was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of research?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what was significant about this research?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?


  • Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or 'dumb down' the research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for the research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Would the audience want to know more about the speaker's research?


Prizes will be distributed at the 3MT Reception in the atrium of the International and Graduate Affairs Building on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. All participants are encouraged to attend the final and post-competition reception to celebrate the achievements of all presenters. Cash prizes are given to assist winners in attending conferences in order to promote their research and further their academic network.

  • 1st place: $1,000
  • 2nd place: $500
  • 3rd place: $250


What will the room setup be like for presentations?

Heats take place in rooms located across the university.  Some rooms have a podium, but most participants prefer to stand and move around as they present.  Microphones are generally not used for the heats. For the final, all participants will be wired with either a lapel microphone, or a headset-style microphone similar to the technology used for TED Talks.

Am I allowed to use cue cards during my talk?

Cue cards are acceptable, however this option may detract from the delivery of the 3MT and is not recommended.

Will I be able to see my scores?

Unfortunately, all scoring is confidential and not provided to participants. Many judges make comments on their judging sheets, and you can email your faculty contact to receive this feedback.

Will my talk be videotaped?

The 3MT finals will be photographed and videotaped; preliminary heats may or may not be photographed or videotaped based on the needs of each faculty.  All 20 participant videos will be posted on Western's 3MT Youtube Channel for all to view. London's local television station, RogersTV, is also scheduled to videotape and broadcast the event.

I submitted my slide for my faculty heat, but would like to make changes. Is this possible?

Yes, it is possible to make changes BEFORE your faculty heat REGISTRATION DEADLINE, no later than ONE WEEK before your heat. In the confirmation email you received when registering, you can log back into the 3MT system and simply upload a new slide. The slide that will be used will be the slide you upload closest to your faculty heat deadline.

Are there any opportunities to participate in a public speaking event prior to 3MT?

Yes, the Western Research Forum is an annual event hosted by SOGS that traditionally takes places a few weeks prior to 3MT, with several opportunities to discuss your research in a public, non-specialist setting.

Helpful Links

Questions regarding this event can be directed to Mark Wolfe.