Essay contest offers several choices

Deadline: June 30; Award: Up to $10,000


Winning this competition can really take you places.

The John Locke Institute encourages young people to cultivate the characteristics that turn good students into great writers: independent thought, depth of knowledge, clear reasoning, critical analysis and persuasive style. Our Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum.

Entering an essay in our competition can build knowledge, and refine skills of argumentation. It also gives students the chance to have their work assessed by experts. All of our essay prizes are judged by senior academics from the University of Oxford. The judges will choose their favorite essay from each subject category and an overall ‘best essay’ across seven subjects: Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology and Law.

​Questions for the contest deal with Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology, and Law.

Entry Requirements

Entry is open to students from any country. Candidates must be eighteen years old, or younger, on the date of the submission deadline.

Each essay should address only one of the questions in your chosen subject category, and must not exceed 2000 words (not counting diagrams, tables of data, footnotes, bibliography or authorship declaration). Please submit your essay, saved in pdf format, through our website, here. The title of the pdf attachment should read SURNAME, First Name, Category, Question Number (e.g. POPHAM, Alexander, Psychology, Q2).


There is a prize for the best essay in each category which can be applied towards the cost of attending any John Locke Institute program, and the essays will be published on the Institute’s website. The prize-giving ceremony will take place in Oxford, at which winners and runners-up will be able to meet the judges and other faculty members of the John Locke Institute. Family, friends, and teachers are also welcome, subject to capacity constraints.

The candidate who submits the best essay overall will be awarded an honorary John Locke Institute Junior Fellowship, which comes with a US$10,000 scholarship to attend one or more of the summer schools and/or gap year courses.

The judges’ decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

​For more information, visit