Three Minute Thesis Competition

3MT Canada

Congratulations to Richard Kil from the Department of Chemistry for winning second place in Canada's 3MT Competition! After winning the 3MT Ontario Competition and Competitor's Choice Award, Richard was entered into the National Finals, where his video was judged by a panel including the Tragically Hip's Rob Baker, CBC Radio producers Nicola Luksic and Tom Howell, and entrepreneur and PhD supporter Ian Baines. Shantanu Krishna Kumar (University of Guelph) won both the National title and the People's Choice Award. Congratulations to all!

Read more on the CAGS website.

Read the U of T News interview with Richard Kil.

3MT U of T Finals

We also congratulate Jessica Maxwell from the Department of Psychology and Wendi Zhou from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who tied for second place at the U of T Finals on April 5, 2017. The People's Choice Award went to Ravin Alaei from the Department of Psychology. Watch their videos:

Richard Kil (Chemistry) - winner
Jessica Maxwell (Psychology) - runner-up (tie)
Wendi Zhou (Electrical and Computer Engineering) - runner-up (tie)
Ravin Alaei (Psychology) - People's Choice COMING SOON

What is the 3MT Competition?

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is open to doctoral students enrolled in Canadian universities. Participants have three minutes or less to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges, and competitions are held at local, provincial, and national levels. The challenge is to present complex research information in an engaging, accessible, and compelling way.

3MT Ontario winner Richard Kil (Photo: UofT News)

Watch the Top Three Entries from 2016

About the 3MT® Competition

This competition is a unique opportunity for graduate students to showcase their innovative and significant research to a wider audience, across disciplines within the University, and to the broader public. It is open to the public and advertised within the community.

Three preliminary heats by division. Division I (Humanities) and Division II (Social Sciences), Division III (Physical Sciences) and Division IV (Life Sciences) will be held in March.

  • Each divisional heat will consist of no more than 25 competitors.

  • From each heat, the top competitors will go forward to compete at the U of T Final.

  • The winner from the U of T Final will go on to represent U of T at the Ontario 3MT® competition.

The 3MT® events are open to the public; we encourage to you to bring your family and friends. Participants and guests are asked to arrive well before the competition starts, as space is limited and access to the rooms will be closed during the presentations.

Eligibility & Rules


All entrants must be doctoral students (PhD, EdD, SJD, DMA) who have reached candidacy (completed all course work) by the registration date and must have made substantial progress on their research and analysis.

  • Presentations must represent the primary research of the student's graduate program thesis.

  • Students are required to inform their supervisors of their participation in the competition.

  • Presenters must agree to be photographed and videotaped and to allow those recordings to be made public.

  • Winner of the University of Toronto competition must be available to attend the provincial finals.


  • 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.

  • 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 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, other than those that may be the target of research).

  • Presentations are to commence from the stage or at the podium.

  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.

  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

  • The competition will be administered in English.

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.


  • 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" their research?

  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?

  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?

  • Would the audience want to know more about the speaker's research?


  • Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate for a non-specialist audience?

  • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace and a confidence stance?

  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology that needed to be used, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?

  • Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation or did the presenter elaborate for too long or was the presenter rushed to get through the presentation?

  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract from, their presentation; and was it clear, legible, and concise?

Past 3MT® Winners

U of T Maintains its Top-Three Position at the 2015 3MT® Ontario

Stephen McCarthyCongratulations to Stephen McCarthy, a PhD candidate in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, who placed second runner-up at the Provincial 3MT® at Western University on April 23. Stephen competed against 19 other Ontario university students and earned a place in the coveted top-ranking positions. Watch the Ontario 3MT® presentations.

Stephen and the other provincial finalists represented Ontario in the Canada competition in May.


2015 3MT® University of Toronto Finalists

Stephen McCarthy and Elissa GurmanStephen McCarthy (Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology) won the U of T 3MT with his presentation, "Towards an Ebola Cure." Stephen's research has attracted international media attention. Read the full CNN story.

Elissa Gurman (Department of English) placed second with her talk on Consent and the Love Plot in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Fiction.�


2014 3MT®​ U of T Finals

Congratulations to winner Daiva Nielsen​ (Nutritional Sciences) and runner-up Joseph Bondy-Denomy (Molecular Genetics) who took top honours in the University of Toronto 3MT® Finals held in March 2014.

Daiva moved on to compete and win the 2014 Ontario Final last April at McMaster University in Hamilton—successfully defending U of T's title in Ontario. Read more about Daiva's big win.

2013 3MT® U of T Finals

Bravo to winner Jasdeep Saggar (Medical Biophysics) and runner-up Abraham Heifets (Computer Science) who placed first and second in the University of Toronto's first 3MT® competition held in March 2013.

Jasdeep went on to represent U of T at the 2013 Ontario Finals in April at Queen's University in Kingston, successfully winning the first 3MT® Provincial Final.Read more about Jasdeep's triumph.

Subsequently, Abraham went on to co-found the startup company Chematria, housed at U of T's Impact Centre. Chematria made news by launching a search for a new Ebola treatment using artificial intelligence. Read more about Chematria in the U of T news.

Canada 3MT® Competition

The 2017 Canadian champion will be chosen from 11 finalists from three regional competitions. Both master's and doctoral-level students are eligible. For more information, visit the Canada 3MT website.

The 2015 regional finalists' videos are posted on the Canada 3MT website.


2016 Ontario 3MT Competition

2015 Ontario 3MT Competition

2014 Ontario 3MT® Competition

2013 Ontario 3MT® Presentations

Making the Most of Your Three Minutes by Simon Clews, Director, Writing Centre, University of Melbourne

How to Talk About Your Thesis in 3 Minutes by Inger Mewburn (RMIT)

Communicating Your Research in Lay Language by Christian A Linte, IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Magazine, May/June 2009.


If you have questions about this award competition, please contact:

Liam O'Leary