Competition Rules

Explore eligibility from judging criteria, see how the 3MT® competition operates.


Currently active senior undergraduate students and graduate students in all disciplines at Purdue University Northwest will be eligible to participate in 3MT®. Students may be conducting research through thesis work, capstone, directed project, or other guided research under a faculty mentor.

  • 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 (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • 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.
  • The final PowerPoint Presentation file submission deadline is Monday, March 30 at 5 p.m. Please save the file name as FirstName_LastName.pptx and email the file to before the deadline. If the student’s PowerPoint file is not received by the deadline, the student will NOT be scheduled to the 3MT competition.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition each competitor will be judged on the three judging criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

  • Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of research?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the significance of the research?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?

Did the oration make the audience want to know more?

  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or dumb down their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Would I like to know more about the presenter’s research?

Was the research topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

  • Did the presenter use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance?
  • Did the presenter avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology that needed to be used, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of the presentation – or did the presenter elaborate for too long or were rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract from, the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?