Skip to Content

The Philosophy Matters Prize

Deadline extended to 8 May 2020

The Department of Philosophy awards the Philosophy Matters Prize annually for the best UO undergraduate and graduate student essays that showcase the continued relevance of philosophy to concrete issues facing us in the world.

Up to two undergraduate and graduate prizes are awarded each year. The winner receives $300. Winners of the award are announced at the Philosophy Spring Commencement, and winning essays are posted on the Department of Philosophy website.

Please note that you may submit papers in ANY area of philosophy, with any methodology or approach. Essays may discuss issues that emerge in canonical philosophical texts and in the history of Western and non-Western philosophy. Independent reflection on the relevance of these texts and issues in our lives is encouraged. We will also consider essays that engage relevant and appropriate sources from outside the classroom (for example, current events and issues confronting the world, the plight of minorities in the present and the past, the student’s experience in college and beyond, rights and responsibilities towards nonhuman animals, and others). Papers can thus bring philosophical reflection to bear on issues related to human experience, society and politics, culture, the environment, intersections of gender, race, class, ability, and others.

How to Submit an Essay

Essays for the Philosophy Matters Prize are accepted at any time during the year, with a deadline during the spring term (usually in May). A call for submissions is circulated each spring term. Essays must be double-spaced and must not exceed 20 pages in length. Submissions should be made electronically to Please indicate in the subject line that the essay is a submission for the Philosophy Matters Prize. Only one essay per student will be considered during an academic year. Submitting an essay for the prize indicates the student’s approval that the essay be made available on the Department of Philosophy website in the event that it is selected for the prize.

The most recent Call for Submissions is posted here.

The winning undergraduate essays are selected by the faculty members currently serving on the Undergraduate Studies Committee. The winning graduate essay is selected by the faculty members currently serving on the Graduate Studies Committee.

George Rebec Prize

Prior to 2012, the Department of Philosophy awarded the George Rebec Prize for the best essay by a philosophy student, both undergraduate and graduate. Please visit the George Rebec Prize page for a description of the prize and list of past winners.

Skip to toolbar