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Three Minute Thesis challenge

An 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to present. Time limit? 3 minutes

In just three minutes, postgraduate students are challenged to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance.

The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre’s Three Minute Thesis Challenge is an annual event for postgraduate students researching the countries or region of Southeast Asia.

The exercise aims to develop academic, presentation and research communication skills, and support the development of our research students’ capacity to explain their research effectively in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

The winner is awarded a prize of $A250, and the runner-up $A150.

Contestants are also encouraged to compete in The University of Sydney 3MT Challenge, which consists of a series of heats held in early August. The winner competes in the Australia and New Zealand 3MT Challenge.

Guidelines and more information

The Three Minute Thesis challenge will launch again in Semester 1 2018.

  • Contestants may use only a single static PowerPoint slide.
  • No animations, transitions, or embedded dynamic media (that is, audio, video) are allowable.
  • No additional props, costumes or instruments are allowable.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and contestants who exceed this time limit will be disqualified.

The judges score each presentation out of 10 for each of the three following criteria:

  • communication style: was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • comprehension: did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • engagement: did the oration make the judges want to know more?

You need to be a currently enrolled postgraduate student (master’s degree or PhD candidate) at the University of Sydney. You may be enrolled full time or part time and your research needs to be focused on Southeast Asia.

2017 winner: Pradytia Putri Pertiwi

Pradytia is a doctoral student working with the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Faculty of Health Sciences. Her thesis focuses on promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster management in Indonesia. She won 3MT 2017 with her presentation, People with disabilities saving lives. 

2016 winner: Regina de Gracia

Hear her entry.

Regina is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. Her thesis examines the development of the theory of mind reasoning and emotion understanding in deaf and hearing individuals from the Philippines. She also investigates the influence of language ability and communicative practices of the family and their impact on deaf children’s understanding of the mind and emotions. 

2016 runner-up: Rosaria Indah

Hear her entry.

Rosaria is a PhD candidate in Doctoral Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her thesis analyses the purposes, pedagogies and predicaments of community-based medical education in Indonesia from a postcolonial perspective. She also explores the doctor-student-patient interaction in a post-disaster context, such as a tsunami-affected area in Aceh, Indonesia, to gain insights into the ways in which future doctors come to understand the needs of post-disaster communities.  

2015 winner: Andi Hermansyah

Hear his entry.

Andi is an Australia Awards recipient who began his PhD with the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney in 2014. His project investigates changes in Australian and Indonesian community pharmacy practices. One of the project’s aims is to develop the capacity of community pharmacy to become a key player in the delivery of primary care services in Indonesia.

2015 runner-up: Ly Phan

Hear her entry.

Ly is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy. Ly’s research interests include demography, population, gender equality, and social development in Vietnam and the wider Southeast Asia region. Her thesis, “Women’s Empowerment and Fertility Preferences in Southeast Asia”, focuses on how women’s empowerment – including education, employment and household decision-making – affects their fertility preferences.

Applications are now closed.