2018-2019 Essay Contest

The Thomas D. Sullivan Medal in Philosophy for the Best Undergraduate Philosophical Essays

The University of St. Thomas Philosophy Department is pleased to announce its eleventh annual student essay contest.

The authors of the three best submissions will receive the Thomas D. Sullivan Medal in Philosophy and a cash prize -- $500, $300, or $200 for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, respectively.

Winners will also have the opportunity to present their winning papers publicly at the last philosophy department colloquium of the year.

Student Eligibility & Restrictions:

  • Only current UST undergraduate students are eligible.
  • Each student may submit only one essay per year.

Paper Requirements & Submission Procedures:

  • The paper may be on any philosophical topic.
  • The paper may not be more than 3500 words in length (word count does not include footnotes and bibliography).
  • The author's name may not appear anywhere in the paper.
  • The paper must be submitted by 10:00pm, January 30, 2019, as attachment to an email message containing the author's name and sent to philosophy@stthomas.edu with the subject line "Student Essay Contest."

Award Criteria:

Papers should state and defend a philosophical thesis. Sorts of theses that may be defended include (but are not limited to) claims about solutions to philosophical problems, about the analysis of philosophical concepts, and about the interpretation of philosophical texts. Papers should be clear and well-written. Papers should exhibit skill in philosophical argumentation, evidence of high-quality philosophical research (where appropriate), and independent thought.

As you review your essay prior to submission, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the thesis clearly stated?
  • Is there an easily identifiable argument in defense of the thesis?
  • Have you shown that the premises of the main argument are true (or at least plausible)?
  • Have you made the key terms clear?

Direct all questions about the contest to philosophy@stthomas.edu.