Philosophy Essay Competition 2024

We are delighted to announce the annual University of Sheffield Philosophy Essay Competition for Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 students is now open.

A group of Philosophy students sat in a lecture hall. One student is writing in a notebook. One student is working on a laptop.

About the competition

The Philosophy Essay Competition is open now and closes at midnight on Sunday 21 April 2024. Students in Years 10, 11, and 12 are invited to submit an essay on one of the topics below. Only one essay per student is permitted.

The prize

The authors of the ten best entries will each receive a prize of a £25 voucher and an invitation to take part in a special virtual workshop organised by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, involving academics and current students from the department. The workshop will be held on Wednesday 29 May 2024.

The judges

The entries will be read and judged by a panel of experts from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. 

How to enter

The competition is open to students in years 10, 11 and 12 . Please write an essay of around 1,000 words (but not more than 1,500 words) on one of the following topics. Include a bibliography. Essays should be the original work of individual students. Please save your essay as a Word or PDF document and include your full name on the document and in the file name, for example: JOE SMITH - PHILOSOPHY ESSAY 2024.

To submit your entry, you must complete this form. The form includes a Dropbox link that will allow you to upload your work. You must complete the entry form AND upload your entry using the Dropbox link.  Failure to do so may mean that your entry cannot be considered.

You must submit your entry before midnight on Sunday 21 April 2024.

Winners will be notified by Friday 17 May 2024.

Philosophy essay competition questions 2024

You may submit an essay answering any one of the questions below. To help start you off, we have suggested some resources. You do not have to write about each resource, these are just places for you to begin to explore each topic. If you wish, you may also choose your own question to write your essay - you can write about any philosophical issue you find interesting. Whatever question you choose to answer, make sure to include it at the top of your essay.

  1. The Charter of the United Nations affirms the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples. What are peoples? Do the peoples of Sheffield have the right to demand self-determination?
  2. Should our pets be vegan? If we're going to have pets, is it ok to feed other animals to them?
  3. Should doctors be able to opt out of providing treatments they morally disagree with?
  4. Should voting be compulsory?
  5. Can animals be moral?
    • Suggested resource:


If you have any questions, please contact

Good luck!

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