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USP Three Minute Thesis


This event has been postponed. 

The Research Office is once again organising the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) which is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia for research higher degree students. This year, the USP 3MT event is scheduled for the 30th of September.

Masters by Research and Doctoral students of the university are invited to participate.

What is it?

It is an exercise aimed to develop academic and research communication skills. Postgraduate research students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.


  • Anyone who is active [registered] in a PhD or Masters Program (provided a letter of endorsement is given from supervisor that the student has completed a substantial portion of fieldwork and has sufficient results to share).
  • Students who have submitted thesis for examination but have not yet been awarded are eligible.
  • USP staff who are near completion of their program are eligible.

Please note that scholars doing postgraduate study by coursework or supervised research projects are ineligible.

Presentation Guidelines

  • An abstract of the thesis has to be submitted before the 11th of September.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning 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 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 movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final. 

Judging Criteria

Comprehension & Content
  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated 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 presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?
Engagement & Communication
  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise? 

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • The presentation is to be made on original research of the presenters own work.
  • It is advisable that each participant attends the preparatory workshop [date TBC]
  • Sessions will be open to the public and may also be broadcasted.
  • USP will have the right to take photographs or to film the sessions. This will include publishing the material for promotional purposes on its website as well.


The prizes for the winners will be announced closer to the competition date.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN (closing on August 23rd)!

Please click here to register now!


How-to videos:

For further information and queries contact:

Research Student Coordinator

Ms Shaiza Janif
Research Office
The University of the South Pacific
Phone: (+679) 323 2403
Fax:  (+679) 323 1504
Email: shaiza.janif(at)usp.ac.fj [preferred]