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 a compelling oration of their thesis and its significance in three minutes or less. The competition challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a non-specialist audience.

Nominees from Wayne State departments, schools and colleges will compete in the annual Graduate School competition during the Graduate and Postdoctoral Symposium on March 3, 2020


The competition is open to master's and 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.
  • Judges' decisions are final.

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges will evaluate participants' presentations in the following categories:

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?


People's Choice

An important aspect of the competition is the People's Choice prize. Following all presentations, the audience is asked to vote on who they thought gave the most convincing 3MT presentation (based on their understanding of the criteria outline above). Details of the finalist will be provided to the audience via power point and using the voting paper is asked to select the number which corresponds to their favourite presenter. A finalist can be the winner or runner-up and still receive the People's Choice award.


  • First place - $750 plus a travel grant to attend the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) competition 
  • Second place - $500 award
  • Third place - $250 award 
  • People's Choice - $750 award