3-Minute Thesis Competition (postponed until further notice)

What is 3MT?

The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, or concours Ma thèse en 180 secondes (MT180) is simple: in no more than three minutes (and not a second more!), you must communicate the key concepts and significance of your own research to a non-specialized and diverse audience, and to a panel of judges.

The 3MT® and MT180 competitions can be tremendously enriching and is the perfect opportunity for you to develop your academic and personal communication skills. Members of the audience must be able to understand the passion behind your research and how your research can be useful in today's society.

The 3MT® and MT180 competitions will be comprised of preliminary heats per each faculty*, where the winners will move on to compete at the uOttawa final on Monday, March 16, 2020. The finale of both the English 3MT® competition and the French MT180 competition will be held at the same event on this day.

The top competitors of both competitions will represent the University of Ottawa at the Ontario 3MT® competition held at the University of Windsor on April 15, 2020, and at the National MT180 competition held at Bishop’s University on May 6, 2020.

* The number of competitors moving into the uOttawa Final will depend entirely on the number of participants in each faculty preliminary heat.


University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University graduate students must be registered in a master's (thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the 3MT® and MT180 competitions, and must have made substantial progress in their research and analysis. Course-based master’s students are ineligible.

PhD and Master’s students who have defended, but have not yet graduated, are eligible. Competitors who are eligible on the date of their first presentation shall remain so for the Provincial, National and International competitions.

3MT® and MT180 presentations must represent the primary research the student is conducting in his/her current graduate program.

Your presentation must be given in the language requested; in English for the 3MT® competition and in French for the MT180 competition.

Competitors must present in person, agree to be recorded and allow those recordings to be made public.

Competitors must be available to attend the Ontario 3MT competition at the University of Windsor on April 15, 2020, and the National MT180 competition on May 6, 2020 at the Bishop University.


A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed), and the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration and remain in view for the duration of the oration. Please also note that you may NOT include the title of your thesis on your slide.

The required format of this slide for the uOttawa Final competition is 4:3. Format dimensions may differ from one faculty to another during the preliminary heat (to be confirmed by your faculty).

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 notes or cue cards are permitted.

Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.

Presentations are to be spoken in standard oratory prose (i.e., no poems, raps or songs).

Presentations are to commence from the stage.

Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech. A chronometer will be readily displayed in order for you to monitor your time, and a signal (coloured flag) will be given when there are 30 seconds remaining. A buzzer will indicate the end of each presentation.

Judging criterias

The decision of the adjudicating panel, composed of four non-specialist judges, is final.

Each competitor’s presentation will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Kindly note that each criteria is equally weighed.


  • Did the presentation provide a background to the research question being addressed?
  • Was the significance and context of the research clearly explained?
  • Did the presentation clearly state the key results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?


  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communication in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range while maintaining a steady pace?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate too long on one aspect?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it legible, concise and relevant?
Important dates
  • The deadline to submit a candidature is Friday, December 6, 2019.
  • A confirmation of your eligibility to participate will be sent by Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
  • Your Faculty will communicate with you by Friday, December 20, 2019, to confirm the details of your preliminary heat.
  • The Grad Mentor Centre Communication Workshops will be held on the week of January 20, 2020 (additional information to come).
  • The deadline to submit your PowerPoint slide to your Faculty is Monday, February 10, 2020.
  • The uOttawa Final will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020.
  • The Ontario 3MT Competition will be held on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at the University of Windsor.
  • The National MT180 Competition will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at Bishop University in Sherbrooke.

Cash prizes

1st place prize: $ 1,000

2nd place prize: $ 500

3rd place prize: $ 250

Confidentiality and intellectual property

Competitors must agree to be video-recorded, and to allow those recordings to be made public and posted on the University of Ottawa graduate studies website. Posting of these videos are strictly for recruitment and exemplary purposes.

Any information discussed or presented should be considered "public". If your research deals with confidential or culturally sensitive material, we advise that you discuss your participation with your supervisor before proceeding with your registration to the 3MT competition.

Past winners

Discover the 2018 winners at the following links:

Discover the 2017 winners below!

Thesis supervisor: Mamamoud Fall

Thesis supervisor: Joseph De Koninck

Thesis supervisor: Gilles Comeau

Thesis supervisor: Ian Lorimer

How to register

If you wish to register for the 3MT or the MT180 competitions, please complete the following e-form: 3MT/MT180 Competition Registration. All fields are mandatory and your registration will be deemed incomplete otherwise.

The deadline to register is December 6, 2019.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Notice of Collection of Personal Information

In accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act of Ontario and with University Policy 90, your personal information is collected under the authority of the University of Ottawa Act, 1965. The personal information you provide on this form will be used by the University for purposes consistent with administrating and carrying out University services and activities, and the provision of performance of functions including registration and participation in the 3-minute My Thesis competition. If you have questions about the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information in this notice, please contact the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at 613-562-5800 extension 1234 or at gradadm@uOttawa.ca.  

2020 Jury members

Richard l’Abbé

Member of the Board of Governors, philanthropist and entrepreneur

Dan Wayner

Departmental Science Advisor and Chief Science Office, National Research Council Canada

Sandrine Prasil

Assistant Director, Statistics Canada

Aline Germain-Rutherford

Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs and Professor at the Faculty of Education

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