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Competition Rules and Guidelines


Any actively-enrolled DOCTORAL student or candidate, as well as any Professional Doctorate Research (program composed of at least 2/3 research and eligible for RTP) candidates. Graduates are not eligible.

PLEASE NOTE: Individual colleges (or campuses) may have more stringent eligibility requirements if they choose. For example, some colleges may require that their students have passed their prelims. Other colleges require that a faculty member nominate them to compete. Colleges may not have easier requirements.

Students enrolled in any of the following programs are not eligible to enter the 3MT Competition:

    • Masters (MPhil and coursework)
    • Professional Doctorate with less than 2/3 research

The eligible student will participate in just one qualifying event. The student will participate in their own college event if at WSU Pullman or WSU Spokane. Or, if on another campus, then regardless of their college, they should participate in the respective campus event. A college has the option of allowing one of their students to compete in the college event instead of the campus event but we strongly recommend, for the strength of the campus events, that this only be permitted in exigent circumstances.

Interdisciplinary students should participate in the college where the majority of their research exists, as determined by the faculty advisor in consultation with the WSU Graduate School.

[CLARIFICATIONS ADDED MARCH 10, 2023: A college department may host a prequalification event at the departmental or program level to determine who participates in the college-level event. These events do not constitute a qualifying event for the WSU Three Minute Thesis. Only the college-level or campus-level events are considered qualifying events. The final event in Pullman is NOT considered a campus-level event (i.e., there is no “WSU Pullman” event) but rather a system-level event that just happens to take place in Pullman.]

Participating students agree to final event being broadcast or streamed live and WSU 3MT administrators potentially using likeness and image for any promotion, before, during, or after the event.

The 2023 faculty representative is Amy Roth McDuffie, professor of the Mathematics and Science Education.

Competition Rules

  • A SINGLE static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).

    << Download PowerPoint template that is already sized to fit the final WSU event in the Spark >>

  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files, laser pointers) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
    • In most years, WSU shares who the judges are in advance of the competition. NO competitor should reach out to a judge through any medium in advance of the competition and discuss Three Minute Thesis. Neither competitor nor judge should have any ex parte communication. Should this be documented and proven, that competitor will be deemed disqualified and the next highest finisher for that college or campus will be declared the representative in the university-wide event.

Three Minute Countdown Timer

Three Minute Thesis has developed a countdown timer which is helpful for some students when presenting. This will simply be displayed on a screen facing the student. If a student does not want to see a countdown, the timer can face the time keeper. But the students are still bound by the time.


* Defined by the college of student’s doctoral chair. If student has co-chairs, they may participate in one college’s competition, and it should be the one most closely aligned with the research presented. If a student’s college or campus does not participate in 3MT, they are not eligible, but should encourage the college to participate in the future.


Visit our Judging Criteria page to see specifics about what the judges will be looking for in each presentation.




Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.