3MT Three Minute Thesis, Founded by the University of Queensland

The symposium features a special adaptation of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition for PhD and professional degree students from McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner institutions.

Adapted for the Symposium, 3MT® presentations will be focused around one of the thematic areas listed below:

  • Big Data and Emerging Technologies: How can big data and new technologies improve the human condition?
  • Unlocking Human Potential: How do we create a world with opportunities for all?
  • Our Planet at Risk: Can we humans save the planet from ourselves?

The university is tracking COVID-19. Get updates at coronavirus.wustl.edu.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person proceedings of the 8th International Symposium will be postponed to fall 2021. We will, however, hold a virtual session on the original dates this October 2020. Please check back regularly for updates.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Active graduate student (PhD and Master’s degree) at a McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner institution enrolled in a full-time graduate degree program at the time of entry into the competition and at the time of the symposium
  • Able to deliver a 3MT® presentation focused on one of the three thematic areas

Entering the Competition & Selection Process

  • Eligible students use the online entry form to submit a 3-minute video with one static PowerPoint slide explaining their research on a topic related to one of the three core themes of the symposium. 
  • Submissions must meet all rules and presentation requirements. Failure to meet the specified guidelines will result in disqualification.
  • Following the close of the submission period, all entries will be evaluated for eligibility. Virtual heats will take place to determine semi-finalists (up to 6 per partner institution; maximum 2 per theme) and finalists (5 finalists per theme across all partner institutions). Panels of judges for each round of the competition assess contestants using the official 3MT® judging criteria.  
  • Before submitting an entry, contestants are expected to review the competition handbook for full information on eligibility, entry submission requirements, competition rules, judging criteria, and selection timeline.

Finalists & Winner Prizes

Students selected as finalists from partner institutions will be awarded up to $2,000 (USD) to cover travel costs to attend and present at the symposium. Winners in each theme selected by the panel of judges will receive a prize of $1,000 (USD); winners chosen by the audience (People’s Choice) will receive a prize of $500 (USD). Prizes are subject to U.S. tax withholding.


Additional resources for students interested in the 8th International Symposium 3MT® Competition may be added. Please check back regularly for updates.

Questions? Contact: 

Angie Rahaman
Communications and Alumni Relations Coordinator, McDonnell International Scholars Academy
Washington University in St. Louis

As the competition schedule is developed updates will be posted.  Please check back regularly for the most current information.

Watch McDonnell Scholar Po-Cheng Lin delivering the winning presentation at the 3MT competition during the McDonnell Academy 7th International Symposium in Beijing.

About 3MT®

UQ’s internationally recognized Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) research competition was developed in 2008 and showcases the unique research conducted by PhD and professional degree students. Persuasively presenting their research topics before a live, non-specialist audience in less than three minutes using a single static PowerPoint slide, participation in the competition strengthens students’ academic and presentation skills while promoting cross-disciplinary understanding. Finalists selected after virtual heats will present live at the symposium in October 2020 to compete for cash prizes.