Three Minute Thesis Competition

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 encourages research candidates to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries.

Why should l take part?

Click on the video links below to watch our 3MT stars talk about why they entered 3MT and what happened when they did! 

3MT Development Series: Workshops

Participating in your Faculty's 3MT Heat? Give your confidence and communication skills a boost with the Researcher Development Unit's 3MT Development Series. This year the Development Series will be held online with interactive practice based workshops to support HDRs in preparing for this virtual competition. The skills you will learn from the series will not only support you in preparing for this virtual competition, they will also give you the chance to develop your online communication skills which can be utilised in future collaborations and opportunities.  Now is an opportune time to invest in this essential skill in 2020.

For more information, visit 3MT Development Series.

UNSW 3MT 2020 Prizes
  • First prize $3,000 plus entry into the 2020 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.

3MT - 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 (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 either movement or speech.

  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final


Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?

  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?

  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?

  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

  • 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 and 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 enough 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?

2019 UNSW 3MT Final Winners


Congratulations to all of our 2019 contestants on their wonderful presentations!

Watch a clip about 3MT on UNSWTV and see pictures on the GRS facebook page.

  • First Prize: John Kokkinos, Igniting a Civil War within the Fortress of Pancreatic Cancer

  • Runner-Up: Georgina Carson, Computers of the future: Using tiny particles to solve big problems

  • Third Prize and People's Choice: Liam Cheney, Where did my cholera come from?

  • ASPIRE Prize: Simon Lloyd, Reclaiming urban rivers: is it clean enough to swim?

Faculty Heats

Faculty of Art and Design 29 July

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 7 July

Faculty of Built Environment 16 July

Business School 4 August

Faculty of Engineering 31 July

Faculty of Law 29 July

Faculty of Medicine 31 July

Faculty of Science 22 July

UNSW Canberra TBA

Click here for more information on Faculty heats


Why Enter 3MT?
After 3MT
2016 3MT Final