Three Minute Thesis Competition

The 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition developed by the University of Queensland for PhD 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 virtual heats this year?

Give your confidence and communication skills a boost and develop your online communication skills at the same time by entering the 3MT competition this year.  Now is an opportune time to invest in this essential skill in 2020.

Researcher Development Unit will be offering a new webinar to support preparing for your 3MT faculty heat.  For more information, visit the 3MT Development web page.

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

3MT - Eligibility, Rules and Judging Criteria


Active PhD and Professional Doctorate (Research) candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under submission) by 15 September are eligible.

Please Note: Australian students enrolled in any of the following programs are not eligible to enter the Asia-Pacific 3MT competition:

  • Professional Doctorate (Research) (program composed of at least 2/3 research) funded via the Research Training Program;

  • Masters (Mphil and coursework);

  • Professional Doctorate (coursework)


  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.

  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through speech (timing does not include the 3MT title slide and commences from when the competitor starts speaking, not the start of the video).

  • A single static slide is permitted in the presentation (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). This can be visible continuously, or ‘cut to’ (as many times as you like) for a maximum of 1 minute.

  • The 3 minute audio must be continuous - no sound edits or breaks.

  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment and animated backgrounds) are permitted within the recording.

  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).

  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording.

  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

  • Submissions via video format (mp4). Files sent in other formats will not be accepted.

  • Entries submitted for final adjudication to Wildcard or University Final are to be submitted from the School/Faculty/Institute 3MT Event Coordinator. Competitors should not submit their videos directly to 3MT

Videos must meet the following criteria:

  • Filmed on the horizontal;

  • Filmed on a plain background;

  • Filmed from a static position;

  • Filmed from one camera angle;

  • Contain a 3MT title slide;

  • Contain a 3MT PowerPoint slide (top right corner/right side/cut to)

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/recording quality or editing capabilities (optional inclusions). Judging will focus on the presentation, ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide.

After each competition round competitors have the option to either submit their current presentation or re-record and submit a new presentation for entry into the next round

Click here for more tips and tricks on how to participate in this year's virtual 3MT competition.


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 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?

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 10 August

Click here for more information on Faculty heats


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