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Three Minute Thesis Competition


This entertaining event gives thesis students the chance to present their research to a large audience while competing for a number of generous prizes, with the overall University of Otago Doctoral winner going on to participate in the online Asia-Pacific 3MT® final. There may also be an opportunity for the best Master's contestant to represent the University at an online New Zealand Masters 3MT® National Inter-University Challenge. The overall Doctoral winner and runner up will be entered in the online Matariki Competition in October.

The competition is open to both thesis Master’s and Doctoral students, who must communicate their research in no more than three minutes, with the help of only one static slide, with the presentation aimed at a non-specialist audience.

See below for more on eligibility and rules.

Entries close on 19 June 2023.

Enter the 2023 competition

For more information please contact Carolyn Jenkins.


  • Humanities 3MT®; Divisional Heat: Tuesday 4 July, 10:00am–12:00noon, Moot Court, Richardson Building
  • Health Sciences 3MT®; Divisional Heat: Wednesday 5 July, 2:00pm–4:30pm, Barnett Lecture Theatre, Dunedin Hospital
  • Commerce 3MT®; Divisional Heat: Thursday 6 July, 10:00am–12:00noon, OBS 1.17, School of Business
  • Sciences 3MT®; Divisional Heat: Friday 7 July, 9:00am–11:30am, Seminar Room 2.02, Mellor Laboratories, Science 1 Building
  • Christchurch 3MT®; Local Competition: Monday 26 June, 1:30pm–3:30pm, Rolleston Lecture Theatre
  • Wellington 3MT®; Local Competition: Tuesday 27 June, 1:30pm–3:30pm, venue to be confirmed

Three Minute Thesis® preparation session

If you're planning on entering the Three Minute Thesis® competition, this one-hour session is the perfect place to help you prepare for a 3MT® presentation.

Date: Tuesday 30 May
Time: 11:00am–12:00pm
Campus: University of Otago, Dunedin
Cost: Free for students
Platform: via Zoom

Book the Three Minute Thesis® preparation session.


Active PhD and Professional Doctorate candidates who have successfully passed their confirmation milestone (including candidates whose thesis is under examination, but not graduates) by the date of their first presentation are eligible to participate in all levels of the 3MT® competition.

Master’s thesis (90 points of research or more) candidates who are active in a programme (including candidates whose thesis is under examination, but not graduates) are eligible to participate in all levels of the 3MT® competition.

Competition rules

The University of Otago 3MT® competition follows the official rules of the founder, the University of Queensland.

Read the full competition rules.


University of Otago, Dunedin - Divisional Heats:

  • Best Doctoral presentation $300 grant to assist with research
  • Best Masters presentation $300 grant to assist with research

Actual prize money for each divisional heat may vary, according to number of entries in each category received.

University of Otago Grand Final prizes 2023:

Date: Thursday 3 August, 5:00pm
Venue: Castle 2

  • Best Doctoral presentation $750 grant to assist with research
  • Best Masters presentation $500 grant to assist with research

Prizes will also be awarded for the Doctoral runner-up, and the people’s choice.

2022 Final

University of Otago grand final 2022

The 2022 annual 3MT® grand final was held on Thursday 4 August, at the Burns 1 lecture theatre full of enthusiastic supporters.

Congratulations to all our finalists for their outstanding presentations.

3MT Final 2022 group image

Congratulations to our 2022 Grand Final Award Winners

Yasmin Nouri – Best Doctoral Presentation

Yasmin Nouri 2022 imageCongratulations to Yasmin, a PhD candidate from the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington. Yasmin’s talk was titled “The nature of the beast.”

Yasmin won the Best Doctoral 3MT® award comprising a prize of $750, provided by the Graduate Research School and the opportunity to compete in the Asia-Pacific 3MT® Competition and Matariki Network of Universities 3MT® Competition, both to be held virtually in September and October in 2022.

Update: We are excited to announce that Yasmin was the winner of the 2022 Matariki 3MT® competition, taking home a £750 cash prize. Well done Yasmin!

View Yasmin's video presentation

Rajesh Nautiyal – Doctoral Runner-up Presentation and People's Choice Award winner

Rajesh Nautiyal 2022 imageCongratulations to PhD candidate Rajesh Nautiyal from the Department of Tourism for winning the Runner-up Doctoral award for his talk titled “Why (and should) I pay for ancient practice.”

Rajesh also took home two awards on the night, the Runner-up Doctoral and the People’s Choice Award, both prizes of $250 courtesy of the Graduate Research School.

Rajesh will be representing the University of Otago at the Matariki Network of Universities 3MT® Competition to be held in October in 2022.

View Rajesh's video presentation

Katie Fenton – Best Masters Presentation

Katie Fenton 2022 imageCongratulations to Master’s candidate Katie Fenton from the Department of Marine Science who won the Best Master’s 3MT® award for her talk titled “He whakarauora tuaki: Understanding adult sheltering of juvenile cockles and how this can impact conservation efforts.” Katie took home a prize of $500 courtesy of the Graduate Research School and she had the opportunity to represent the University of Otago at the 3MT® Inter-University Master’s Final competition.

An Update: We are proud to announce that Katie won first place the at the 3MT® Inter-University Master’s Final event. Katie took home a $1000 pressie card. Well done Katie!

View Katie's video presentation

PhD Finalists

  • Peyton Bond
  • Lamia Ismail
  • Ethan Marshall
  • Sarah McQueen
  • Rajesh Nautiyal
  • Yasmin Nouri
  • China Payne
  • Iki Mafi Uele

Master's Finalists

  • Katie Fenton
  • Yi Zhen Tan

Previous winners

Have a look at past years' events on our archive page.