Rules and Guidelines

We encourage all eligible participants to enter the 3MT competition as it is a great way to develop your knowledge translation skills and present your research to a wide audience. Before you get started on your presentation, please review the rules and guidelines below.


If you are an active PhD, Professional Doctorate (DCA, DCR and EdD) and Master of Philosophy candidate who has successfully passed your Confirmation of Candidature milestone (including if your thesis is under examination) by the date of your School or Institute Round, you are eligible to participate in the 3MT competition.

Master of Research candidates in Stage 2 (research) may also compete.

If you are awaiting graduation or have graduated, you are not eligible to compete in 3MT at any level.

To achieve a place in the 3MT Finals, you will need to be nominated by your School or Institute following a qualifying round. Please contact your HDR Director for more information.


  • A single static 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 talk.
  • 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 (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 either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

Comprehension & content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • 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 & communication

  • Did the talk make the audience want 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 slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?

Judging Panel

The Winner and Runner-up Awards will be decided by a judging panel selected at the discretion of the Graduate Research School. The judging panel will be balanced by academic and professional position and discipline, and may consist of both Western Sydney University and non-University participants.

Conflicts of interest will be declared, however, judges will still vote on each 3MT presentation, even if the presenter is from that discipline.

The People's Choice Award will be decided based on audience votes.

Three Minute Countdown

The three minute time limit is strictly enforced and presentations that exceed the time limit will be disqualified. A three minute countdown timer will be displayed to assist candidates with their presentation.

3MT presentation stage