Rules, Eligibility, and Resources



Students competing in the Texas A&M 3MT will be judged in one of two categories: Master’s 3MT or Doctoral 3MT. The top three to seven 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.

*A minimum of 5 competitors are required for each competition category. In the event that this threshold is not met OR the top competitors in the category have scores lower than the average of ALL competitor scores, the competitor category will not be held. The top 7-10 competitors overall will advance to the Finals. 

Currently enrolled Texas A&M master's and doctoral students, IN ALL DISCIPLINES, who are engaged in original research are eligible to participate in 3MT™. Presentations must focus on research students are conducting or have conducted during their current degree program, either by the student individually or as a part of a research team. The research must be at a stage where findings, preliminary conclusions, and broader impacts can be discussed. Students graduating in December (or thereafter) will be eligible to advance to the Regional Competition.

Doctoral 3MT: Doctoral students must present their original research that is being conducted at Texas A&M during their current doctoral degree program. 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 present their original research that is being conducted at Texas A&M during their current Master’s degree 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 
  • There must be data or information that was collected, analyzed and findings reported
  • Preliminary conclusions must be drawn from project and broader impact discussed

All final competitors must be available to participate in the Regional 3MT Competition to be held by the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools February 17th-19th, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina to represent TAMU. All related expenses will be paid for by TAMU.
Contact with questions regarding eligibility criteria.

Competition Rules

Failure to follow ALL of the rules will result in a disqualification as determined by the judging panel. All decisions of the adjudicating panel are final.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. 
    • Please make sure that you have copyright permissions for any imagery used on your slide.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, scripts, or teleprompters) 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 considered to have commenced when a presenter starts his or her presentation through 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

Judges for the preliminary and final competition will be comprised of TAMU faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines as well as local community and industry leaders.
Preliminary competitors will be judged in two categories (Master’s Division and Doctoral Division) by a panel of not less than 3 judges using the criteria listed below; in addition, brief feedback will be given by judges to each preliminary competitor. 

At the Final Competition, competitors will be judged by a panel of 5-7 judges. Each judge scores competitors on a scale of 1 to 5 in each of the categories below. Once presentations finish, the judges' scores are averaged and the student with the highest average score is declared the winner for each division (Master’s and Doctoral). Additionally, the audience casts their own ballots to select a winner for the People's Choice Award for each competition division. 

Once the Master's and Doctoral winners are selected, the Division winner with the highest score will advance to represent TAMU at the Three Minute Thesis Regional Competition on February 17th-19th, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the event of a tie, the judges will then vote to determine which winner will advance. The Graduate and Professional School will sponsor all costs of attending this competition.

Competitors will be judged on the judging criteria listed below for both the preliminary and final competition. Each criterion is equally weighted.

Comprehension and content

  • Presentation provided clear background and significance to the research question

  • Presentation clearly described the research strategy/design and the results/findings of the research

  • Presentation clearly described the conclusions, outcomes and impact of the research

Engagement and communication

  • The oration was delivered clearly, and the language was appropriate for a non-specialist audience

  • The PowerPoint slide was well-defined and enhanced the presentation

  • The presenter conveyed enthusiasm for their research and captured and maintained the audience’s attention

  • *NOTE: The above criteria reflect the University of Queensland’s 2021 revisions. For consistency and to prepare our students for regional and final competitions, we have followed suit. The spirit and essence of the original criteria have been maintained, while the task for judges has been simplified by reducing the factors they must consider from 11 to 6 (3 per category).

Competition Prizes*

Preliminary Competition Prizes

Those who participate in the preliminary competition will be entered for a prize raffle. In 2020, 2 Apple Airpods were raffled.

Competitors who advance to the finals win $100 and the chance to win up to $1,500 in the Final Competition.

Final 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

*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.

Ready to compete?

Information on how to submit your preliminary competition entry can be found on our 3MT homepage here.

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