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Competition Rules and Guidelines


Any actively-enrolled DOCTORAL student or candidate, through their respective competing college*, no matter where they are in the process of their research. Graduates are not eligible.

NOTE: Individual colleges (or other entities running a qualifying event) may have more stringent eligiblility 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.

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

  • 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.

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.

Please note that this countdown timer is not compulsory and we recommend asking each student if they would like to use it or not.

If a student does not want to see a countdown, the timer can face the time keeper.


* 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 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.