Ontario Three Minute Thesis

Thursday, April 17, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. (Reception), 10a.m. to 12 p.m. (Presentations)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an international research competition where graduate students have 3 minutes to present their research and its impact to a panel of non-specialist judges and peers. The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills. It also supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. 

3MT Ontario is a public event and is free to attend. 

Event Background

The first 3MT competition was held at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 with 160 Research Higher Degree students competing. In 2009 and 2010, the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 600 universities and institutions across more than 60 countries worldwide.

Beginning in 2013, Ontario hosted it's first provincial 3MT competition featuring representatives from 16 graduate schools. Now an annual event every spring, McMaster University will be hosting 3MT Ontario in 2019.

Have a question about 3MT Ontario? Please email grad3mt@mcmaster.ca and we will get back to you promptly!

Important Dates

Thursday, January 17

  • Deadline for universities to register to participate. If you are the primary 3MT coordinator for your university, please visit the Coordinator Guidelines tab for more information.

Thursday, April 3

  • Deadline to submit participant information and supporting media to McMaster University. Please visit the Coordinator Guidelines tab for more information.

Wednesday, April 16

  • Participating Deans and presenters dinner (voluntary attendance). Information to be annouced.

Thursday, April 17

  • 3MT Ontario reception begins at 9:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 12 p.m. Lunch to follow to competitors and university representatives.

Coordinator Guidelines

The following information is for 3MT coordinators at their respective universities.

University Registration

Ontario universities interested in participating must register by Thursday, January 17, 2019. The registration fee is $550 per school. You do not need to register your participant at this time, this registration is for each university to indicate their intention to participate and pay the registration fee.

  • Register via iModules
    • The registration link was emailed to Ontario Graduate Studies Deans and Provosts in mid-December
  • Each Ontario university may register one (1) eligible participant in 3MT Ontario. That participant is determined by the winner of their respective university event. If they are unable to attend 3MT Ontario, the runner-up becomes eligible.

Participant Information

The deadline to submit participant information and supporting media to McMaster University is Thursday, April 3. Required information and files include:

  • Participant information:
    • Name
    • University
    • Degree
    • Program
    • Contact information (email, cell phone number)
    • Supervisor(s) name
    • Proposed thesis or MRP title
    • 3MT presentation title
    • Brief profile (personal and/or research), preferably in the 3rd person and limited to 150 words or less
  • Supporting media:
    • Headshot photograph (original file size is preferred)
    • 3MT slide (slide must be formatted as a 16:9 PDF file)

Note: Please submit all information via our electronic form at the conclusion of your internal event: TBA


There are no guest rooms available on campus at this time. However, there are hotels close to campus. We have secured a room block for the competition, with a special group rate, at the Visitors Inn for April 16.

  • $119 per room, per night plus HST, based on single occupancy
  • An additional $10 fee per room, per night for double occupancy
    • The block number is under “Ontario Three Minute Thesis Competition.”
    • Call 1-800-387-4620 to book your room.
    • Rooms must be booked by March 16, 2019, to ensure the room and the rate.

Other hotels available in downtown Hamilton that include:

  • Sheraton Hamilton
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Homewood Suites
  • Hamilton Plaza Hotel

If you have any questions of require further information, please contact: grad3mt@mcmaster.ca

Information to come

  • Cover accommodation, travel, and meal expenses for their own competitors and University representative(s) (except for the post-competition lunch described below).
  • Attend the post-competition lunch.
  • Fully register for the competition by the deadline date.
  • Provide the host institution with media contact information for their region.
  • Provide the host institution with all required participant information by the deadline.
  • Provide the host institution with their University’s logo and the URL for their main internal competition web page.
  • Include a link to the Ontario 3MT website on their internal web pages.
  • Ensure that all competitors meet the eligibility requirements of the competition.
  • Ensure that all competitors understand and agree to abide by the rules of the competition.
  • Ensure that all competitors understand that it is their responsibility to seek advice should they have concerns about intellectual property or confidentiality.
  • Ensure that all competitors agree to be photographed, video-recorded, audio-recorded and/or transcripted, and that all competitors permit all of these to be presented in the public domain (e.g., in print, in audio, in video, on University websites, and on other social media sites).
  • Agree that the presentations at the Ontario 3MT competition may be live streamed during the competition.
  • Make all arrangements for the post-competition lunch for all competitors and their University representative (1 competitor + 1 University representative), judges, and VIPs (to be determined by Host university). Additional lunch tickets may be purchased for $35 each, and can be done by emailing grad3mt@mcmaster.ca. Universities will be invoiced for the extra lunch tickets.
  • Provide participating Universities with a list of nearby hotels/B&Bs with competitive rates, as well as recommended transit/parking options.
  • Coordinate a dinner for all competitors and their University representative the night before the event, in partnership with the Council of Ontario Universities.
  • Coordinate media coverage both locally and regionally.
  • Select and liaise with all judges.
  • Provide promotional materials for participating Universities’ use.
  • Update the competition manual to assist future host Universities.
  • Create a ‘host’ website for the Ontario competition.
  • Run the competition in accordance with published guidelines, and post videos with closed captioning of all presentations on the ‘Host’ website.

Competition Rules

Developed by The University of Queensland, 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.

  • Students must be registered in a master's (Thesis or MRP) or PhD program at the time of the 3MT competition, and must have made substantial progress on their research and analysis. Course-based master's students are ineligible.
  • PhD and master's students who have defended, but have not yet convocated, are eligible to participate.
  • 3MT presentations must represent the primary research the student conducted in their graduate program.
  • Competitors must present in person and agree to be video-recorded and photographed. They must also allow those video-recordings and photographs to be made public.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) is permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and 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.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

Presentations will be judged on the basis of the following:

  • Communication
    • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
    • Was the pace of the talk effective?
    • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e. eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
    • Did the slide enhance, rather than detract from, the talk – was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Comprehension
    • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research and creativity?
    • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of the scholarly research and creativity?
    • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is interesting about the scholarly research and creativity?
    • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?
  • Engagement
    • Was the talk engaging?
    • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
    • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
    • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?
  • 1st place – $1,000
  • 2nd place – $500
  • 3rd place – $250
  • 4th place - CAGS national finalist
  • 5th place - CAGS national finalist
  • Participants' Choice Award - $250

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners are also selected as CAGS national finalists.

Intellectual Property and Confidentiality

Students must understand that the presentation of their research in 3MT will be publicly accessible (i.e., in the public domain).

The presentation of the research will not affect any pre-existing rights following the competition, except as stated below:

  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to sign non-disclosure agreements. If your research is being/has been conducted under contract with an outside sponsor, students should discuss the related contractual terms of confidentiality and intellectual property with their supervisor(s) before entering the 3MT.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through a variety of media, including the internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or presented in public sessions should be considered ‘public.’ If your research includes confidential or culturally sensitive material, students should discuss your competition entry with their supervisor(s) before entering the 3MT.

McMaster University, in coordinating the 3MT Ontario competition, may take photographs, videotapes, and/or audiotapes, or make transcripts of the presentations, material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT, and any 3MT related events for promotional purposes and to support knowledge mobilization.


Meet the judges of the Ontario 3MT.

More information to come.


Meet the presenters at this year's 3MT.

More information to come.

Details for Visitors

3MT Ontario is a public event and is free to attend.

The 3MT will be held in the Concert Hall which is located in the L.R. Wilson Hall, building 74 on the campus map. The competition will be held on Wednesday April 17, 2019 at 9:30am (reception), 10:00 am to 12:00pm.  There is limited parking available underneth the building, the next available lot closest to the building is parking lot B. Cost for parking for the day is $20.00.

Public Transit:

McMaster University is serviced by several GO Transit routes and the Hamilton (HSR) bus system.  


From Toronto, Oakville, and Burlington

  1. Travel westbound on the QEW or Highway 407 
  2. In Burlington, take Highway 403 to downtown Hamilton 
  3. Exit Highway 403 at the Main Street West off ramp 
  4. At the traffic signal turn left on to Main Street West, and then:
  5. For Central Campus, L.R. Wilson Hall After turning left onto Main Street West, turn immediately right on Newton Avenue. As this street crosses King Street it becomes Sterling Street. Proceed up Sterling Street onto the McMaster campus.

From Kitchener/Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge

  1. Take Highway 401 to Highway 6 South. From Highway 6, exit on Highway 403 toward Hamilton, and exit Highway 403 as described in the directions for coming from Toronto. 
  2. From the south Cambridge area, take Highway 8 to Hamilton. Proceed through Dundas along King Street, which becomes Cootes Drive. As you approach McMaster and see an overpass, exit on the right for west campus.

From Brantford, London

  1. From Brantford and London travel on Highway 403 to the Aberdeen Avenue exit.
  2. Turn left at the first traffic signal and proceed along Longwood Road
  3. Turn left onto Main Street West
  4. For Central Campus, L.R. Wilson Hall After turning left onto Main Street West, turn immediately right on Newton Avenue. As this street crosses King Street it becomes Sterling Street. Proceed up Sterling Street onto the McMaster campus.

Watch 3MT Live

Come back here on April 17 for the livestream.