3MT® Participant Information

This year’s 3MT® competition will be different than previous years. All rounds will be held LIVE! Our first round of live presentations will begin at 2:00 PM with students competing within heats to move onto the finals. Those moving on to the final round will be notified shortly after all first round presentations have concluded and final round presentations will begin around 4:00 PM.


Any graduate student enrolled in master's, PhD, or doctoral programs may compete. A student's program of study must contain an original research project. The research must be original, but does not need to be part of a thesis or dissertation. You must be enrolled during the fall semester to participate in the competition. Fall graduates are eligible to participate, but please note that the WSU winner is expected to present at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools conference the following Spring.

2021 Deadlines & Dates

September 18: Registration opens

November 1, 11:59 PM: Registration closes

November 12: 3MT® Competition

2:00 PM: First round heat presentation judging

4:00 PM: Final round presentation judging

3MT® Rules

Presentation rules:

  • Presentations are limited to a single competitor.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or movement of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage (podium, or other indicated location).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Tips for success:

  • Academics (both students and professors) typically present at professional conferences to people who are familiar with their discipline’s jargon and topics. 3MT® is different. In a 3MT® competition, you’re communicating with a general audience. They need to understand the problem and why finding a solution is important.
  • Engage your audience: speak to their minds and their feelings.
  • A three-minute speech is more difficult than longer speeches; you must be concise. Think hard to determine what your research is about: try to see where it fits in the larger context and as part of the bigger (sometimes global) problem.
  • Both your speech and your slide should be carefully crafted. Think of it as a piece of art!
  • Each second of your three-minute speech should be planned, revised, revised again, improved upon, and rehearsed. Practice, practice, practice!
  • Your speech needs clear structure:
    • An introduction—Something catchy that gets your audience’s attention
    • The middle part with the details—What are you investigating and what have you found?
    • A conclusion—a statement, summary, or story for your audience to remember you by.
  • Your slide should be an organic part of your speech. There are endless possibilities! Once again, look at your slice as a piece of conceptual art: an image, symbol, or graphic—that illustrates your point. 

Download a PDF of the judging rubric here.