Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) guidelines

3MT logo


Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland in 2008. Participants present their thesis work in a short presentation using a single slide. The competition challenges students to distill their research ideas and discoveries into a concise, compelling presentation that can be understood by a general, non-specialist audience.

The competition is open to all Wayne State Ph.D. students working on a thesis and will be held on the first day of the Graduate Research Symposium, Monday, March 1, 2021. The winner of the competition will serve as the Wayne State representative to the regional 3MT competition conducted by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools.  

Students interested in participating should submit a one-minute pre-selection video by Jan. 31. A committee will select 20 finalists to compete at the Graduate Research Symposium.


The competition is open to Ph.D. students completing a thesis or a dissertation.


  • Participants can use only one static PowerPoint slide. (No transitions, animations, or movement are allowed.)
  • No additional electronic media are allowed. 
  • No props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, models, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes; competitors who exceed the time limit will be disqualified.
  • Presentations must be spoken word. No poems, raps, or songs are allowed.
  • Participants must deliver their remarks from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have begun when participants begin speaking or moving.
  • The winners of the 3MT competition at the Graduate Research Symposium 2021 will be selected by popular vote and the decision will be final.


Presentations will be judged by the participating audience.  Every member of the audience will vote for their top three presentations according to the criteria listed below. (Each audience member can vote only once for a specific competitor.)  The scores from all audience members will be compiled to determine the winners.

Comprehension and content

  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?

Engagement and communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?