University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

University of Calgary 3 Minute Thesis (UCalgary3MT)

Submitted by tloehr on Thu, 12/03/2015 - 4:26pm


Do you want to practice your communication skills? Do you want to build your network? Do you want to learn about cool research being done in different departments across campus? Compete in UCalgary3MT and you'll get all this and more.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) is an internationally recognized research communication competition. 3MT™ was developed by The University of Queensland in 2008 to challenge thesis-based graduate students to deliver a compelling presentation on their research and its significance in three minutes or less.

Congratulations to the 2017 UCalgary3MT Heat Winners and Finalists

Heat 1

Susann Lagore, Environmental Design (First Place, Finalist)
"All Aboard: Public Transit for Individuals with Autism" 

Samadhi Gunasekera, Civil Engineering (Second Place, Finalist)
"Methane Biofiltration - One step closer to prevent global warming!" 

Simone De Gannes Lange, Educational Research (Third Place)
"Leadership in Action"

Jing Zhao, Geoscience (People's Choice)
"A new method of dating oil residence time in reservoir: How long did I sleep" 

Heat 2

Cynthia Kahl, Medicine: Neuroscience (First Place, Finalist) (In Finals: Third Place, People's Choice)
"Turning down the tics: Using transcranial magnetic stimulation as a potential treatment for Tourette's syndrome in children" 

Ghada Nafie, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering (Second Place, Finalist)
"Nanoparticle Technology - Tomorrow's Wastewater Solution" 

Lazaro Sanchez -Rodriguez, Biomedical Engineering (Third Place)
"Controlling brain networks: What we can do with optimal brain stimulation" 

Michael Herrmann, Electrical & Computer Engineering (People's Choice)
"Internet of Things: Making Smart Decisions to Extend Battery Life" 

Heat 3

Tona Pitt, Medicine: Community Health Sciences (First Place, Finalist)
"Determining the Cause of Motor Vehicle Related Paediatric Bicyclist Injuries"

Nancy Adam, Medicine: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (Second Place, Finalist, People's Choice) (In Finals: Second Place)
"The aging clock: capping the lifespan of our cells"

Austin Nguyen, Biological Sciences (Third Place)
"Metabolomics: A Diagnostic Method for Infectious Disease"

Heat 4

William Andrew Thompson, Biological Sciences (First Place, Finalist, People's Choice)
"The Environmental Cost of Pursuing Happiness"

Stephanie Hladik, Electrical & Computer Engineering (Second Place, Finalist)
"Using an Engineering Education Framework to Introduce Elementary Teachers to Computational Thinking"

Amanda Chan, Biomedical Engineering (Third Place)
"PRG4: Lubrication for our dry eyes"

Heat 5 

Aprami Jaggi, Geoscience (First Place, Finalist) (In Finals: First Place)
"The ultimate fate of oil in the marine environment following spillage"

Supun De Silva, Electrical & Computer Engineering (Second Place, Finalist)
"Efficient Antennas for Your Smart Phone"

Annie Hoang, Chemistry (Third Place, People's Choice)
"Core-Shell Nanoparticles: An Ace in the Hole for Clean Energy Conversion "

2017 UCalgary3MT Schedule

2017 Schedule Summary:

  • Registration: February 20, 2017 to March 10, 2017
  • UCalgary3MT Practice & Feedback sessions: March 22 to 24, 2017
  • UCalgary3MT 2017 Heats: March 28 to 30, 2017
  • UCalgary3MT 2017 Finals: April 5, 2017

Heats and Finals are open to the public for viewing. Join us at these interesting and exciting events to learn more about the research being performed at the University of Calgary. Play a part in the competition by voting for your People's Choice! 

 2017 UCalgary3MT Heats:

  • Heat #1: March 28, 2017, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Gallery Hall, TFDL
  • Heat #2: March 28, 2017, 3 pm to 5 pm, Theatre 4, HSC
  • Heat #3: March 29, 2017, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Theatre 4, HSC
  • Heat #4: March 29, 2017, 3 pm to 5 pm, Gallery Hall, TFDL
  • Heat #5: March 30, 2017, 3 pm to 5 pm, Gallery Hall, TFDL

2017 UCalgary3MT Finals:

April 5, 2017
2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Husky Oil Great Hall, Rozsa Centre

Can you participate in UCalgary3MT?

All University of Calgary graduate students who are active/enrolled in a thesis-based Masters or PhD and in good standing with their graduate program and the Faculty of Graduate Studies are eligible.

A few things to note:

  • A student whose thesis is under submission on the date of their first competition is still eligible to compete
  • A student whose thesis is under submission, and whose degree is conferred while they are still competing in 3MT™ is still eligible. In this case, the student must have competed in their first competition heat prior to their degree conferral
  • Presenters must register for the event and be eligible to present in person on the day of their first competition.
  • To advance in the competition presenters must be available to present in person at the finals. If the winner is not  available, the runner up will take their place if they fulfill all requirements.

A student whose degree is conferred before they compete in their first competition heat, and who has therefore graduated, is not eligible to compete. Students become ineligible, in this case, upon receiving notification of degree conferral, even if they have not attended a graduation ceremony.

Visiting students are not eligible.

The rules of UCalgary3MT

  1. 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). Please note that using a slide is optional as the presentation focus is on your oration skills. Images used in the slide must be your own, or you must have permission from the owner of the photo(s) and provide proper credit(s).
  2. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  3. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, laser pointers or note cards) are permitted.
  4. Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum.
  5. Presentations that go over 3 minutes will have marks removed in the heats, and will be disqualified in the final.
  6. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  7. Presentations must be based on research directly related to the student’s graduate program thesis. Research performed for employment should not be presented.
  8. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  9. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  10. Presenters must agree to be video-taped.
  11. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Check out UCalgary3MT Workshops & Resources below for more help.

How is UCalgary3MT judged?

Who are the judges?

Heats: Presentations in the heats will be judged by a panel of judges from the University of Calgary, the Calgary community, and our UCalgary3MT 2016 finalists. 

Finals: The 2017 Finals Judges are:

  • David C. Bonk, Founder of Hearts & Hammers and Social Impact Entrepreneurs , David C. Bonk is Calgary entrepreneur, accomplished speaker, recent winner of a Fast Pitch competition and one of Avenue Magazine’s 2016 top 40 under 40.
  • Fabiola MacIntyre, Manager, Green Line, City of Calgary, and engineer who recognizes the importance of communicating clearly among multidisciplinary teams. She is one of Avenue Magazine’s 2016 Top 40 under 40.
  • Nuvyn Peters, Vice-President (Development and Alumni Engagement), University of Calgary, a passionate community leader skilled in conflict resolution and negotiation, and one of Avenue Magazine’s 2016 top 40 under 40.

What are the judges looking for?

Each of the three judging criteria has equal weight. Note that each criterion has an emphasis on the audience.

Communication style:

  • Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long or were they rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract, from their presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of the research?
  • Was the significance of the presenter's research clearly outlined?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?


  • Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or 'dumb-down' the research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the presentation make me want to know more about the speaker's research?

Resources & workshops to help you

One of the best ways to prepare for UCalgary3MT is to watch videos of past winners.

3MT Resources:

These workshops focus on pronunciation, fluency, grammatical accuracy, vocabulary development, formal academic presentation skills, and graduate-level discussions/debate.

NOTE: there is a fee for these workshops. Further details may be found on the Werklund School of Education website.

While this handbook contains information specific for UQ graduate students, there is some useful information at the end (starting at page 9) such as how to prepare for the 3MT, examples of previous slides, and key points to remember when refining your 3MT™ presentation.

3MT Workshops

All you need to know about the UCalgary 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) – Info and Practice Session

Attend this workshop to learn about the 2017 UCalgary3MT competition including rules and regulations, how to register, and the process of the competition at UCalgary. You will also have the opportunity to practice speaking about your research to a non-specialist audience.  

Main Campus: February 28,  2017, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, MT 215
Foothills Campus: March 1, 2017, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, HSC G750

Email to register. 

Presenter: Tara Christie, PhD, My GradSkills Program.


Effective Presentation Skills - Vocal Presence 

This workshop focuses on presentation skills, in particular voice. It will include consideration of the things that get in the way of delivering an effective, engaging and expressive vocal presentation and cover some of the strategies useful in overcoming these challenges.

Emphasis will be placed on your confidence, presence and intention as primary qualities required for communication.

As much of the workshop will be practical in nature, involving breathing, relaxation and voice exercises, you will need to wear loose comfortable clothing in which you can move and stretch.

In order to apply the introduced practices to relevant performance situations and receive individual feedback, participants you should arrive at the session with a short (2-3 minute) prepared presentation or section of a presentation. 

Registration is limited. UCalgary3MT 2017 registrants will have the first opportunity to register, with any additional spots being opened up to all UCalgary graduate students. 

March 20, 2017, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, Gallery Hall, TFDL
Workshop sign up available to 3MT participants

Presenter: Dawn McCaugherty, Associate Professor of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary.

Awesome UCalgary3MT prizes

Heat Prizes

All heat participants: Certificate of participation

Heat finalists: Engraved medal in display case

Finals Prizes

All participants: framed certificate of participation & YouTube video

First place: $1000.00 cash prize, trophy

Second place: $500.00 cash prize, trophy

Third Place: $250.00 cash prize, trophy

People's Choice: $100 University of Calgary bookstore gift certificate & trophy

History of 3MT™

The first 3MT™ was held at The University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 with 160 students competing. Enthusiasm for the 3MT™ concept grew and its adoption by numerous universities led to the development of an international competition in 2010.

The inaugural Trans-Tasman 3MT™ was held at UQ in 2010 with 33 universities participating. In 2011, 43 universities were represented in the Trans-Tasman 3MT™ that was hosted by The University of Western Australia. Today students from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hong Kong take part in their own regional events.

The University of Calgary held the first UCalgary3MT competition in 2013 with 44 participants from 14 departments. The following year participation went up with 61 graduate students participating in 5 heats.

The University of Calgary hosted the first Western Canada 3MT competition on May 2, 2014. Many people came out or tuned-in to the live feed to watch the first Western Canada 3MT competition, where the top 3MT winners from the West competed against each other for a chance at participating in the first Canadian National competition at the end of May. A big congratulations to all the participants for their engaging talks, with big congrats going out to the three participants who represented Western Canada at the first ever virtual event hosted by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS). *Participation in this competition is open to Western Deans Agreement participating Universities hosting a local 3MT competition. Eligible participants are the winner of their local competition, and are Masters or PhD candidates in graduate programs eligible for Tri-Council funding.

For more information on the history and mission of 3MT, visit the official 3MT website. 

Have questions about UCalgary3MT that aren't answered here? Email for more info.