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 forces 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

The Researcher Development Unit has developed a 3MT Workshop Series to develop Higher Degree Research Candidates in enterying their faculty heats prior to the UNSW Interfaculty Final on 13 September 2017. For more information, visit RDU 3MT Development Series.

UNSW 3MT 2017 Prizes
  • First prize $3,000 plus entry into the 2017 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 2017 Faculty Heat details






UNSW Art and Design

Jo Elliot

Tuesday 8 August


Research Commons

Level 4, F Block
Art and Design,
Paddington Campus

Arts and Social Sciences

Angela Bradburn

Tuesday 1 August

5pm - 7pm

John B Reid Theatre, AGSM

UNSW Business School

Jenny Hislop

Wednesday 19 July

11.30am Sharp

The Place

G21, Business School Building

Built Environment

Suzie Scandurra

Judith O’Callaghan

Thursday 20 July

G001 Lecture Theatre

Red Centre, West Wing (H13)


Lynne O'Sullivan

Wednesday 2 August

2pm - 5pm

CSE Seminar Room (113)

Level 1, K17 (Computer Science)


Jenny Jarrett

Thursday 3 August

5pm - 6pm

Staff Common Room

Level 2, Law Building 


Kattrin Gloeckler

Thursday 3 August 


John B Reid Theatre, AGSM


Morgan Sutton

Tuesday 25 July

2:45pm - 7pm

Leighton Hall, Scientia

UNSW Canberra

Elvira Berra

Friday 4 August

2pm - 4pm

LT01, Lecture Theatre South


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 (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?


The UNSW 2016 3MT Interfaculty Final Winners

Congratulations to all of our 2016 contestants for their wonderful presentations!

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

  • 1st place: Patrick Tung, Desirable defects: Nano-scale structures of piezoelectrics. Click here to see the presentation on UNSW TV.

  • Runner-up and ASPIRE Award: Nancy Mourad, Cancer: Bad to the bone. Click here to see the presentation on UNSW TV.

  • 3rd place: Vera Newman, “Stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”: Understanding the cognitive impact of stress and how to turn it around. Click here to see the presentation on UNSW TV.

  • People's Choice Prize: Benjamin Walker, A saucy talk about performance-based identity. Click here to see the presentation on UNSW TV.




UNSW 3MT 2017 Interfaculty Final

13 September,  4:30pm to 7:30pm

Leighton Hall, Scientia

Click here for event detail

Click here for the UNSW 3MT Interfaculty Judges and MC


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