3MT® Competition Rules & Guidelines

Eligibility criteria

Please note that the eligibility criteria for the 2014 competition has changed. As part of the broader Trans-Tasman 3MT® Competition, the University of Melbourne abides by the rules set out by the founding institution - the University of Queensland. Please carefully review the eligibility criteria to ensure that you are able to compete this year. If you would like further information about the University of Queensland's 3MT Rules and Guidelines, please see here.

Entry to the 3MT® competition is available to PhD candidates who are currently enrolled and have confirmed candidature at the University of Melbourne. Please contact the Melbourne School of Graduate Research if you are unsure about your confirmation status.
It is a condition of entry into this competition that should you successfully move through to the Grand Final Competition you must be available to attend the Trans-Tasman 3MT® Competition at the University of Western Australia in November 2014.
To be eligible participants must fulfil the following criteria at the time of competing in their first heat:

  • Be a currently enrolled PhD candidate who has successfully passed their confirmation milestone;
  • Not be on leave of absence, lapsed in good standing, completed, or withdrawn; and
  • They may be under examination as long as they have not received a 'pass letter' by the date of their first 3MT® heat [and must not have fulfilled the requirements of their degree (i.e. not yet completed)].

Please note: degree must be at least two thirds research.

These eligibility rules are determined by the Trans-Tasman 3MT® Competition and must be applied to ensure that the winner of the University of Melbourne 3MT® Competition is eligible to progress to the Trans-Tasman 3MT® Competition.

Competition Rules & Guidelines

MSGR is sponsoring a University-wide competition to identify the best 3 Minute Thesis. The initial competition rounds (Heats) will take place at the Melbourne School of Graduate Research, where 3 competitors from each heat will be selected (at the judges discretion) to compete in the Semi Finals. The top 10 competitors will go on to compete in a University wide Grand Final.


  • 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 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. 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.

Judging Criteria

Each competitor will be judged on the following criteria:

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?

In order for you to prepare your presentation based on the judging criteria above, you may find the following points helpful:

Comprehension and Content:

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its signficance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication:

  • Did the oration make the audience wnat to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or generalise their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • The 3MT® presentation must represent the original research of the competitor.
  • The authors of the 3MT® presentation will retain all rights regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition except as stated below.
  • Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant.
  • All public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include the Internet.
  • Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions. This means, if your research includes commercial-in-confidence or culturally sensitive material you should think very carefully about how you can present this information. We advise that you discuss your competition entry with the party/ies before entering the 3MT® competition.
  • Melbourne School of Graduate Research, University of Melbourne and the 3 Minute Thesis Competition may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations or material prepared for use in presentation at the 3MT® competition.
  • The University may use the materials in any book or other printed materials and any videotape or other medium that it may produce, provided that any profits earned from the sale of such items is used by the University solely to defray the costs of future 3 Minute Thesis Competitions.

For additional information or queries about the 3MT® competition, please email melbourne-cshe@unimelb.edu.au