Graduate Essay Prize

The BSHP Graduate Essay Prize of £1000 is awarded annually to the writer of an essay that makes a significant contribution to the history of philosophy.

Submissions are normally accepted between 1 and 30 November each year. An announcement is made on the BSHP mailing list and on Philos-L when the competition opens for submissions.

Rules and procedures

The BSHP Graduate Essay Prize of £1000 is awarded annually to the writer of an essay that makes a significant contribution to the history of philosophy. In exceptional cases, more than one essay may be jointly awarded the Prize, and the prize money divided between them. The winner is chosen by a subcommittee of the BSHP Management Committee, which may request opinion from external experts on the entries. The Prize winner is announced at the BSHP annual conference, and the winner is usually encouraged to submit their paper for consideration to the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.

  • The competition is open to students who are currently enrolled on a Masters’ or PhD degree, or who finished their degree within the six months prior to the deadline for submission. Entrants may be of any nationality, registered at any university, in any country, studying any subject. Entrants do not need to be members of the BSHP.
  • Essays may be on any aspect of the history of philosophy.
  • Essays must not have been submitted to any other prize competition or to any journal or other publication. Essays that have been submitted to the BSHP Graduate Essay Prize in previous years may not be resubmitted.
  • Entries must be in English, and must not exceed 10,000 words in length (including footnotes, bibliography, and abstract).
  • Essays must include a bibliography.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words and a statement of the total word count of the submission (including footnotes, bibliography, and abstract). Entries that are too long or without an abstract will not be accepted.
  • Entries must be prepared for blind refereeing: there should be no reference to the author, either by name or department. Any references to the author’s own work, for example, should be given in such a form as not to identify the author.
  • Entries must be made through the submissions portal for the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. In your covering letter, state that your entry is a submission for the Graduate Student Essay Prize and provide your name, institution, address, and statement of your postgraduate student status, including details of the university where you are registered and the name(s) of your supervisor(s). You should select 'Graduate Essay Prize' under Article Type.
  • The Graduate Essay Prize competition closes at 11:59 PM Greenwich Mean Time on the closing date. Essays will not be accepted after this time, under any circumstances. Entrants are strongly advised to prepare and submit their materials well in advance of the deadline, to avoid invalidating their submission due to formatting errors or technical problems.
  • Please note that a submission to the essay prize does not constitute or entail a submission to the journal.

Past Winners

  • 2023. Norah Woodcock. “The Parthenogenesis Problem: Wind-Eggs in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals”
    • Runner up - Tatiana Barkovskiy. “Marguerite Porete on reason, intellect, and the epistemically transformative power of love”
  • 2022. Claudia Dumitru, “Hobbes on Children and Parental Dominion”
  • 2021. Jordan Lavender, “The Mark of the Mental in the Fourteenth Century: Volitio, Cognitio, and Adam Wodeham’s Experience Argument”
  • 2020. Wim Vanrie, “Why did Frege reject the theory of types?”
  • 2019. Michael B. Gill. “Shaftesbury on Life as a Work of Art”
  • 2018. Anna Ortin-Nadal. “Descartes on the Distinction between Primary and Secondary Properties”
  • 2017. Stephen Howard. “The transition within the transition: the Übergang from the ether proofs to the Selbstsetzungslehre in Kant’s Opus postumum
  • 2015. Hsueh Qu for an essay on Hume