The Ethics Essay Prize
SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility is proud to host the 2023-2024 Ethics Essay Prize - an essay competition open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at SMU. The competition encourages the development of ethical discernment, imagination, and thoughtful reflection by challenging students to consider the role of ethics in their lives. Further, the contest provides the Maguire Ethics Center valuable insights into topics of importance to students.
2023-2024 Ethics Essay Prize Submissions are due
February 28, 2024 at 5PM!
First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300
Honorable Mentions: $200
The competition maintains separate divisions for graduate and undergraduate submissions; however, both categories now share a uniform deadline of February 28th.
Explore your preferred topic by selecting one of the prompts presented below:
1. Reflect on an ethical issue you have encountered in your own life and analyze and evaluate the situation. Describe the ethical dilemma you faced, providing relevant context and exploring the factors that contributed to the complexity of the issue. Reflect on your decision-making process, considering the role of personal values, moral principles, and ethical reasoning in shaping your response to the ethical issue. Finally, discuss the lessons you have learned from this experience and how it has influenced your understanding of ethics in real-life situations.
2. Analyze a contemporary societal issue of significance by examining the ethical dimensions, implications, or potential solutions related to the chosen issue. Consider the broader collective impact, potential conflicts of interest, and the ethical responsibilities of individuals, institutions, and organizations involved. Your essay should present a well-reasoned argument, incorporating relevant ethical theories and principles to support your analysis and recommendations.
In many successful
Ethics Essay Prize submissions, students applied an ethical framework to their
discussions, a choice that significantly elevated the depth and quality of
their essays. By voluntarily choosing to apply an ethical lens to their
discussions, students not only showcase their intellectual rigor but also
demonstrate a profound understanding of the complex moral dimensions inherent
in the topics they explore.
it reflects a commitment to thoughtful contemplation, encouraging students to
grapple with ethical dilemmas, ethical theories, and their real-world
applications. In doing so, students’ essays will not only be more academically
robust but also socially relevant, making a compelling case for the ethical
imperative that underpins their arguments.
For students seeking guidance or direction in their Ethics Essay Prize submission, the Santa Clara Markkula Center for Applied Ethics offers a valuable resource – the Framework for Ethical Decision Making. This framework provides a comprehensive and useful tool to aid in crafting well-written essays. You can access the Framework for Ethical Decision Making here.