Pitt Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition

3MT Three Minute Thesis Logo

Pitt Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition

The 2023 Pitt 3MT Competition is now open to ALL eligible PhD and SJD students. Pitt 3MT presentations will return to the in-person format and be held on Monday, April 3. 

View the event listing on the University Events Calendar.

School Competition Dates and Times

School Date and Time Contact
Arts and Sciences Friday, March 17; 2 p.m.–3 p.m. Jennifer Sadecky
Engineering Monday, March 20; 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Bob Parker
Medicine Friday, March 17; 3 p.m.–5 p.m. Deepti Ramadoss
Pharmacy Thursday, March 23; noon–2 p.m. Kerry Empey
Public Health Friday, February 24; 3 p.m.–5 p.m. Mike Dolinger
SCI Friday, March 24; Time noon–1:30 p.m. Wes Lipschultz

For eligible students from GSPIA, Katz, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Education, SHRS, the School of Law, the School of Nursing, and the School of Social Work, who would like to qualify for the April 3 University-wide competition, you will need to do the following:

  • Record your 3MT presentation and upload it to a YouTube account. Note that if you do not already have a YouTube account, you will need to set one up. Please remember that video style and recording quality will NOT be considered when judging, as this competition was intended to be an in-person event. Your 3MT slide does NOT need to be visible in the video.
  • Use this Qualtrics survey to provide the YouTube link and upload your presentation slide in .PDF format. Pitt 3MT presentations must be submitted by no later than Wednesday, March 15.
  • After entries have been received and judged, we will announce winners from each competing school.
  • Winners will be notified via email by Friday, March 24.

What is a 3MT competition?

The 3MT competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), 3MT cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. 

Who is eligible to enter?

PhD and SJD students who have successfully completed the dissertation proposal defense (candidate status) and are actively in the dissertation stage of training are eligible.

Preparation workshops are being conducted on January 24, 2023 and February 8, 2023. These workshops will review the rules and eligibility requirements and provide helpful tips to prepare a 3-minute oration and a presentation slide. Registration is required.

Preparation Workshops

Pitt Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition: Speaking to Non-specialists Workshops

Tuesday January 24, 2023, 3-4 p.m.
Virtual Event
Register for the January 24 workshop 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, 4-5 p.m.
Virtual Event
Register for the February 8 workshop

Come and learn all you need to know to compete in the 2023 virtual Pitt Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. In this workshop, Treviene Harris (Office of the Provost) will review the rules and eligibility requirements for the 3MT Competition, and Dr. Joel Brady (Center for Teaching and Learning) will provide students with helpful hints and tips to prepare a three-minute oration and an accompanying presentation slide of their research. Registration is required.

Note that participation in the workshop is not required to enter the Pitt 3MT competition.

3MT Rules for the Pitt Virtual Competition

We are following the 3MT rules suggested by the University of Queensland, which founded the event.  

A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or movement of any description; 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 three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage or front of the room.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Prizes for the Pitt 3MT Competition - sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University Library System and Center for Teaching & Learning

First place prize: $1,000 travel/research grant
Two runner-up prizes: $500 travel/research grant
People's Choice prize: $1,000 travel/research grant

Judging Criteria

Check back to see who our celebrity judges will be—and who will hear our competitors talk about their research.

Judging will take place over two rounds. At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. 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 trivialize or generalize 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?

Past Pitt 3MT Competitions

Presentation Resources

To learn more about the competition history, rules, and to gain valuable preparation tips, visit the official 3MT website.


Email VPGodley@pitt.edu