Essay Contest

Center for Ethics and Education Essay Prize Contest

2019 essay contest winners

2018 essay contest winners

The submission deadline for the 2019 essay contest has passed.

The Center for Ethics and Education is pleased to announce an essay contest for graduate students. We are looking for essays that use philosophical insight and argument to address an important issue in educational policy and/or practice. The problem the essay addresses might arise in early childhood education, compulsory education, or post-secondary education, or in the way children are raised in families. The essay might, for example, concern any of the following topics:

  • The proper content of moral education and of the rights of parents to choose its content
  • The place of religion in schools
  • Justice and efficiency in the allocation of public funds across schools and school districts
  • The proper aims of schooling in a democratic society
  • The commercialization of schools and childhoods generally
  • The obligations to students with special educational needs
  • The rights of students to privacy, freedom of expression, or freedom of association
  • Ethical issues of teaching or school leadership
  • The rights and obligations of teachers with respect to abusive or violent children
  • Ethical considerations in college admissions and enrollment

We emphasize that this list is illustrative and not exhaustive.


The author/s of the first prize paper will receive $3000 and an invitation to participate as a discussant in one of the Center’s regular workshop-style conferences (invitation includes airfare, accommodation, food).

The second prize winner/s will receive $2000.

Third place will receive $1000.

The winning essays will be featured on our website.

Eligibility: The author or co-authors must be enrolled in a graduate degree program in an accredited college or university, but must not yet have defended their PhD by June 10, 2019. Co-authors will split the cash prize.

Instructions for submission

The essay must not exceed 6500 words (excluding references). It must not already be published or committed to publication. Please use any widely used citation practice. All entries must be written in English. Essays may be co-authored as long as both authors are graduate students.

Send a pdf of the essay without identifiers. The body of the email should include:

  • Name
  • Title of Paper
  • University
  • Department in which you are enrolled
  • Address
  • Email address