Three Minute Thesis Competition

Graduate Research School

Congratulations to all of our 2015 contestants for their wonderful presentations! Watch a clip about 3MT on UNSWTV and see pictures on the GRS facebook page.

  • 1st place: Susan Ireland, Healthy or Happy? Finding the Best of Both with Alternative Sweeteners- Click here to see the presentation on UNSWTV
  • Runner-up: Kejia Wang, Striding towards fewer falls: new insights into elderly gait - Click here to see the presentation on UNSWTV    
  • People's Choice Prize and ASPIRE Award: Scott Youlten, Skeletal Marriage Counselling - Click here to see the presentation on UNSWTV    

What is 3MT?

The 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland for PhD and Research Masters candidates. With just three minutes to give a compelling presentation on their thesis topic and its significance, the 3MT competition forces research candidates to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries.

3MT: Where do I start?

Registrations have closed for this series of workshops for 2016.

UNSW 3MT 2016 Interfaculty Final

8 September
4:30pm to 7:30pm
Leighton Hall, Scientia
Click here for event detail

UNSW Prizes 2016 Prizes

  • First prize $3,000 plus entry into the 2016 Asia-Pacific Competition at the University of Queensland as well as the U21 final, a virtual event with judges watching video entries rather than live presentations
  • Runner-up prize $1,500
  • People’s Choice prize $1,000
  • ASPIRE prize $500

ASPIRE is a UNSW widening participation program that works with school students to support their educational aspirations. This year at 3MT we will have some of the school students from this program as VIP guests, and they will be awarding a special ASPIRE Prize for the presentation they enjoy the most.

UNSW 3MT 2016 Faculty Heat details

Faculty Contact Email When  Location
UNSW Art and Design Jo Elliot 4 August 3-4.30pm Room EG02, E Block, Paddington Campus
Arts and Social Sciences Jennifer Perkins  

28 July


John B Reid Theatre, AGSM Building
UNSW Business School Jenny Hislop 17 August
11:30am- 1:30pm

Business School Lounge, West Foyer, Level 6 Business School

Built Environment

Suzie Scandurra

Judith O’Callaghan

15 August



Old Main Building G31
Engineering Lynne O'Sullivan

25 July 

Engineering Design Studio, Level 5, Mechanical Engineering Building (J17)

Law Jenny Jarrett

26 July 


Staff Common Room, Level 2

Law Faculty Building

Medicine Sue Gerty 20 June
Wallace Wurth’s Lower Ground Theatre 3
Science Sally Forbes

2 August


Leighton Hall, Scientia
UNSW Canberra Elvira Berra Contact faculty LT1, Lecture TheatreSouth, Building 30

UNSW 3MT Interfaculty Final Judges and MC

UNSW 3MT 2016 - Eligibility, Rules and Judging Criteria


  • All active PhD candidates - from those who have passed their Confirmation review to those whose thesis is under examination - are eligible
  • Candidates must be on track for timely completion
  • Graduates are not eligible
  • Active Masters of Philosophy, Masters by Research and pre-confirmation PhD candidates are eligible to participate in the UNSW faculty heats BUT cannot advance to the UNSW Interfaculty Final.


  • 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) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. 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 adjudicating panel is final.


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?