About the Competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition is an academic competition that challenges research postgraduate (RPg) students to explain their research within three minutes to a general audience.

3MT® was developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, in 2008. Enthusiasm for the 3MT® concept grew and 3MT competitions are held in over 170 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

3MT® celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages skills development in communicating the importance of research to the broader community. It is emphasized that 3MT® is not an exercise in trivialising or ‘dumping-down’ research but encourages students to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries to engage a non-specialist audience.

The Graduate School and Knowledge Exchange Office (KEO) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) launched the 3MT Competition in 2011. HKU has been the first university in Hong Kong to launch the 3MT Competition. It is now run annually.

The assistance of UQ in launching the 3MT Competition at HKU is deeply appreciated.

  • PhD / MPhil / PD* students whose candidature have been confirmed and who are in their final year of study (i.e. within one year prior to the end of their candidature or who have already submitted the “Notice of Intent to Submit a Thesis”)
  • MPhil or PhD students who have submitted their thesis may also enter the Competition if they have not yet received the confirmation letter from the Graduate School that they have already completed all the requirements for the conferment of the degree sought.
  • Students are permitted to enter the competition only once during their candidature.

*Professional Doctorates (PD) include Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Nursing (DNurs), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in the field of Clinical Psychology, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in the field of Educational Psychology, and Doctor of Public Administration (DPA).

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, neither the champion nor any other winners of the HKU 3MT Competition will be automatically eligible to represent the University in any regional/international 3MT competitions.  HKU’s participation in any such competitions in a particular year will depend on the arrangements of the hosting institution or organizer concerned, and the University may participate in a virtual competition rather than one that is held overseas. In any case the candidate to represent HKU in such a competition must meet the eligibility criteria set by the hosting institution or organizer concerned.  In case where the hosting institution or organizer concerned only allows PhD candidates to participate in its competition, the highest ranking PhD candidate among the HKU 3MT candidates may be given the chance to represent the University in that competition.

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.

  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).

  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movements’ of any description)

  • The 3-minute audio must be continuous – no sound edits or breaks.

  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.

  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).

  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.

  • Presentations should be delivered in English.

  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Please note: competitors *are not* judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience and the 3MT PowerPoint slide.

The Presentation Rules are based on those developed by The University of Queensland.

Participants must present their own research, and should note that due to the nature of the competition, any data or information presented or discussed in the Competition should be considered information that will likely enter the public domain, for example, in media coverage, in subsequent University publications for the public in print and/or digital formats, and/ or on the University’s websites, etc. Interested students should discuss with their research supervisors before registering for the Competition.

Comprehension & Content:

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question;

  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research; and

  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research.

Engagement & Communication:

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience;

  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation; and

  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention.

The Judging Criteria are based on those developed by The University of Queensland.

Cash Prizes

  • Champion: HK$10,000

  • First Runner-up: HK$6,500

  • Second Runner-up: HK$3,500

  • Online People’s Choice Award
    (by being voted the most ‘LIKE’s on YouTube): HK$1,000