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 entering their Faculty Heats prior to the UNSW Interfaculty Final on 17 September 2018. For more information, visit RDU 3MT Development Series.

UNSW 3MT 2018 Prizes
  • First prize $3,000 plus entry into the 2018 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

  • Third prize $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 (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 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 & 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 2017 3MT Interfaculty Final Winners
2017 UNSW 3 Minute Thesis Winners

Congratulations to all of our 2017 contestants for their wonderful presentations!

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

  • First Prize: Alice Russo, 'A Novel Solution to a Warty Problem: Ancient viruses can Help us find a cane toad killer. Click here to see the presentation on UNSW TV.

  • Runner-Up: Mayooran Namasivayam, 'Don't Stop the Beat'. 

  • Third Prize and People's Choice Prize: Antoni Tsaputra, 'Disability Inclusive Budgeting: Enabling people with disabilities to have a say in Indonesia's development planning'. 

  • ASPIRE Prize: Jonathan Horlyck, 'Strength in Numbers: Solving global warming with the power of nanoparticle technology'.




UNSW 3MT 2018 Interfaculty Final

Monday 17 September, 4.30pm

The Roundhouse

Register here 


UNSW 3MT Faculty Heats

Click here for details of the 2018 UNSW 3MT Faculty Heats


Click here for the 2017 UNSW 3MT Interfaculty Judges and MC


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