The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by Master's and PhD students. Developed by the University of Queensland and the national competition hosted in South Africa by the University of the Free State, the 3MT cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

The competition supports your capacity to effectively explain your research in three minutes in a language appropriate to an intelligent but non-expert audience.

The North-West University hosted the first competition in 2021 and is celebrating our second competition


Entries open on 8 April 2022.

Abstract and Video submission for evaluation closing on 20 July 2022.



The idea for 3MT came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought.

To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom.

The then Dean of the Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.

Why Participate?

Participating in the 3MT competition provide you with the ability to:

  1. A skills development opportunity for research candidates to develop academic, presentation and research communication skills while at the same time developing research candidates’ ability to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
  2. Building research culture in universities where candidates can come together (live or virtually) to get to know one another and talk about their research. It provides a supportive environment where schools, institutes and universities can provide presentation skills training.
  3. Building external relations for the university

3MT winners may go on to represent their university at the national 3MT competition, which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity.

How to Enter

  1. All registered enrolled masters and doctoral students at their confirmation milestone are eligible to participate

  2. We encourage students from all faculties to participate!

    • Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

    • Faculty of Education

    • Faculty of Engineering

    • Faculty of Health Sciences

    • Faculty of Humanities

    • Faculty of Law

    • Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

    • Faculty of Theology

  3. Past competitors may compete again.

  4. Abstracts may not exceed 250 words explaining the background to the problem, the problem statement’ your methodology and results.

  5. Create a 3-minute video displaying the 1 (one) PowerPoint slide.

  6. One PowerPoint slide needs to be displayed for the duration of the presentation.

  7. Faculties will evaluate the video in collaboration with the submitted abstract.

  8. Only the Winner and Runner-up of the Doctoral competition will proceed to the National Competition, hosted by the University of the Free State.

Competition Dates

20 July 2022 - Submission of videos close at midnight.

21 Jul - 4 Aug 2022  - Faculty Competition

30 August 2022        - Institutional Competition [Masters Students]

31 August 2022        - Institutional Competition [Doctoral Students]

28 October 2022      - National Competition University of the Free State

Competition Rules

  1. A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (e.g., one slide only) with no slide transitions, animations, or movement of any description; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the presentation and will remain in view for the duration of the oration.

  2. No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.

  3. No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.

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

  5. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs, other than those that may be the target of research)

  6. Presentations to commence either from the stage or virtual

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

  8. Presentations must be made by memory; notes may not be used.

  9. The competition will be administered in English.

  10. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

  11. Students who want to enter need to upload proof of registration.

Judging Criteria

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

  1. Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question.

  2. Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research.

  3. Presentation clearly described the conclusion, outcomes, and impact of the research.

Engagement and Communication

  1. The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for non-specialist audience.

  2. The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation.

  3. The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience attention.

Prize Money

North-West University       - Institutional Competition Prize Money


Masters Students

Doctoral Students




1st Runner up



2nd Runner up




University of the Free State - National Competition Prize Money


Doctoral Students



1st Runner up


2nd Runner up



2021 NWU Winners Video’s


Master Student


Ms Samantha Ramsay


1st Runner up

Ms Lize-Mari de Lange

Economic and Management Sciences

2nd Runner up

Ms Keshenaa Fakir

Health Sciences

Doctoral Students


Dr Anneke Lincoln Schoeman

Natural and Agricultural Sciences

1st Runner up

Dr Anitia Lubbe


2nd Runner up

Ms Jacqui-Lyn McIntyre-Louw

Economic and Management Sciences


Additional Information Downloads

Please ensure that you have read and completed the following documents:

  1. Competition Guidelines [PDF]
  2. 3MT Presentation
  3. 3MT Presentation template

Submit Abstract

Please complete the form to submit you abstract. Please sign in with your NWU gmail address (e.g. to access the form.

Submit Video

Please complete the form to submit your video. Please sign in with your NWU gmail address (e.g. to access the form.

Contact Us

Doret Kruger

018 285 2076