Rules and Eligibility



Students competing in the Texas A&M 3MT will be judged in one of two categories: Master’s 3MT and Doctoral 3MT. Three to five students will be selected from each category to advance through the preliminary round to the final competition. This competition targets graduate students nearing the end of their graduate work.

Doctoral 3MT: Doctoral students must be in their third year or beyond to be eligible. The student’s research must be at a stage where findings, preliminary, conclusions, and broader impact can be discussed.

Master’s 3MT: All master’s students (both thesis and non-thesis) must be in the second year or beyond of their Master's program to be eligible. Master’s students must be involved in a capstone, research project, or thesis that meets the following standards:

  • The project must include specific objectives or investigative questions, and a project design or plan for implementation 
  • Some sort of data or information must be collected, analyzed, and findings reported
  • Preliminary Conclusions must be drawn from project and broader impact discussed

Contact with questions regarding eligibility criteria.

Competition Rules

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide will 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 his or her presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Once a student begins his or her presentation, the clock begins to run. With 30 seconds to go, the timekeeper holds up a sign. A bell chimes at the end of the 3-minute period. If a competitor continues to speak after the bell chimes, he or she is disqualified from the competition.

Judging Criteria

Preliminary competitors will be judged by a panel of not less than 3 judges using the criteria listed below; in addition, brief verbal feedback will be given by panelists to each preliminary competitor.  In the final round, competitors will be judged by a panel of 3-5 judges made up of senior faculty and graduate students from a variety of disciplines. Each judge scores competitors on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of the 3 categories below. Once presentations finish, the judges' scores are combined and the student with the highest average score is declared the winner. Additionally, the audience casts their own ballots to select a winner for the People's Choice Award for each competition category(Master's and Doctoral). Competitors will be judged on the following criteria:


  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?


  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?


  • Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?


Competition Prizes*

Doctoral Division   Master's Division  
Doctoral Winner $1000 Master's Winner $1000
Doctoral Runner-up $500 Master's Runner-up $500
Doctoral People's Choice $500 Master's People's Choice $500

Once the Master's and Doctoral winners are selected the judges will then vote to determine which winner will advance to represent TAMU at the Three Minute Thesis competition on February 22-25, 2018, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. OGAPS will sponsor all costs of attending this competition.

*Prize money will post to the student’s TAMU account in the form of a scholarship. If the student has an outstanding balance, the scholarship will be applied towards that balance. Any remaining funds from the scholarship will then be credited to the student’s billing account and sent to the student via direct deposit.

Students may elect to receive credit towards the G.R.A.D. Aggies Professional Development Certificate for participating in the 3MT Competition. Students who participate in the Preliminary Competition will receive 2 Professional Development Units (PDUs) towards their certificate and an additional 1 PDU for attending a development session prior to competing in the Preliminary Competition. The total possible points students can accumulate for participation in the development sessions and Preliminary Competition is 3 PDUs. Students who advance to the Texas A&M 3MT Final Competition will receive 1 additional PDU for participation in the finals. 


Click here to register for the Preliminary 3MT Competition. 

3MT Resources

Videos of 2013 Texas A&M 3 Minute Thesis Finalists
Videos of the 2014 Texas A&M 3 Minute Thesis Finalists
Videos of the 2015-2016 Texas A&M 3 Minute Thesis Finalists
Videos of the 2016-2017 Texas A&M 3 Minute Thesis Finalists
Get advice from Kelly Lemmons the 2013 Texas A&M 3 Minute Thesis Competition Winner
3MT Headquarters - University of Queensland
Overview of Inagural 2013 Texas A&M 3MT Competition