2023 John Locke Global Essay Competition with $14,000 cash prizes

John Locke Global Essay Competition with $14,000 cash prizes

John Locke Institute Global Essay Competition invites students to explore a wide range of challenging and interesting questions beyond the confines of the school curriculum.

John Locke Global Essay Competition 2023 Details

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.

This essay competition gives students the chance to have their work assessed by experts. All of the Institute 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.

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).


  • Q1. How likely is the multiverse? Would it change anything if (somehow) we came to know the theory was true?
  • Q2. If our actions are a consequence of our capacities and preferences, and if those things are, in turn, a result of our genetic inheritance and the external world in which we happen to find ourselves, are we ultimately responsible for our choices?
  • Q3. Is it moral to take money from people through the force of law in order to pay philosophers to philosophize?
  • Q4. When, if ever, can acts involving only consenting adults be morally wrong?


  • Q1. Should we allow political donations?
  • Q2. What, if anything, do rich nations owe poor nations?
  • Q3. Is there such a thing as a common good?
  • Q4. Is the good citizen always a good person? Is the good person always a good citizen?


  • Q1. Is Bitcoin a blessing or a curse?
  • Q2. What’s wrong with the housing market? How can we fix it?
  • Q3. Should Amazon pay people more? What would happen if they immediately increased every worker’s salary by twenty percent?
  • Q4. Is Henry George’s land value tax fair, efficient, both, or neither?


  • Q1. Was there anything good about the British empire?
  • Q2. Is China an imperial power?
  • Q3. Is Western civilization in decline?
  • Q4. Do leaders make events or do events make leaders?


  • Q1. Are we getting nastier?
  • Q2. Are men and women psychologically different? Does it matter?
  • Q3. Is there any mental illness that isn’t ultimately physical?
  • Q4. Does it make sense to hate someone for his or her opinions?


  • Q1. Why would God be so coy?
  • Q2. “The God of the Bible and the Koran is a primitive human’s idea of a great being… But that is not what an actual supreme being would be like.” Is there a holy book that manifests divine authorship?
  • Q3. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Can one be a Christian without believing in the miraculous resurrection of Jesus?
  • Q4. Is faith anything other than uncertain belief on incomplete evidence?


  • Q1. Does prison work?
  • Q2. “People who serve on juries are ill-informed, prejudiced, and not clever enough to avoid jury service.” Should we abolish Trial by Jury?
  • Q3. Should “hate crime” be punished more severely than the same crime with different motives?
  • Q4. What is the relationship between justice and law?

Who can enter the competition?

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

Essay Competition Entry fee

The essay competition is free to enter.

John Locke Global Essay Competition 2023 Prizes

There is a prize for the best essay in each category. The prize for each winner of a subject category, and the winner of the Junior category, is a scholarship worth US$2000 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 our summer schools and/or gap year courses.

Essay Competition Application Guide

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). 

Essay application Deadline

The deadline for essay submissions is Thursday, 30 June 2023 at 11:59pm, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

  • Registration deadline: 31 May, 2023. (Registration is required by this date for subsequent submission.)
  • Late entry deadline: 10 July, 2023. (Late entries are subject to a 20.00 USD charge, payable by 1 July.)
  • Notification of short-listed essayists: 31 July, 2023.
  • Academic conference & awards dinners: 16 September, 2023.

Competition Website

You can check the essay competition website following this link.

Check other prizes and contests following International Competitions category