Three Minute Thesis

One slide. Three minutes.  Cash prizes.  Give voice to your thesis in SFU's annual 3 Minute Thesis competition.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges graduate students to present their thesis and its significance in just three minutes and one slide. The competition cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills, and celebrates exciting graduate research taking place at Simon Fraser University.

2020 3MT Winners

First Place Winner

  • Elana Varner, Biological Sciences doctoral student: A bumblebee nest-site roadmap: The saving grace of of mouse pee?

Elana went on to compete at regionals where was the First Place and People's Choice winner!

Second Place Winner

  • Milad Parpouchi, Health Sciences PhD student: Housing First

People's Choice Winner

  • Kady Tishyadhigama, Health Sciences PhD student: Stop the Spread

Watch the 2020 Finalists →

Last Year's 3MT Finalists

2020 3MT Western Regional Finals

September 23, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM (MST)

Congratulations Elana Varner, who won First Place and People's Choice in the Regional Finals.

Why Participate?

Not only can you win some cash prizes, but the 3MT also helps you build professional skills and get noticed. It's a great way for graduate students to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate for a general audience.

  • Improve your presentation skills
  • Share your work and make connections with other SFU graduate students
  • Develop knowledge translation strategies for your research
  • Have an answer ready the next time a relative asks about your work


Ready to present?

Head to our schedule to sign up via Faculty Heats or in a Wildcard Heat.

Sign up now →


1st Place


2nd Place


People's Choice


Faculty Heats

  • An overall winner and a People's Choice winner will be chosen to move forward to the university wide final. 
  • Prizes for faculty heats will vary according to each faculty:
    • $300–$400 for the winner
    • $100–$150 for the People's Choice prize 

I wanted to let you know about a phone call I had today. A previous contact was looking for information on my work, and Googled my name. He found the 3MT video and watched it, and shared it at his office. The company he works for is now asking if I would be interested in consulting with them, and if there are other people in my department with similar skills.

His comment was that it was excellent advertising for me, as well as excellent marketing for my research lab, and for our whole department.

— Mary Ann Middleton, 3MT 2013 competitor

History of 3MT

Developed by The University of Queensland in 2008, the competition challenges higher-degree research students to present a compelling oration on their thesis and its significance in just three minutes in language appropriate to a general audience. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or ‘dumbing-down’ research but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallize their research discoveries.

Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 200 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.


Our prizes have been generously donated by:


If you have any questions about the 3MT, please contact Stevie Benisch.

Send us your questions →