John Locke Essay Competition

John Locke Institute Essay Competition is hosted by John Locke Institute, an independent educational organization located in Oxford, UK. Professors at the John Locke Institute are from famous universities like Oxford, Princeton, Brown, and Buckingham University.

Competition Details

Introduction: John Locke Institute Essay Competition is hosted by John Locke Institute, an independent educational organization located in Oxford, UK. Professors at the John Locke Institute are from famous universities like Oxford, Princeton, Brown, and Buckingham University.

Competition Format: There are seven subject categories (excluding Junior Category): Philosophy, Politics, Economics, History, Psychology, Theology, and Law. For each subject category, three questions are given from which one can only choose to write on, not exceeding 2000 words (not counting diagrams, tables of data, footnotes, bibliography or authorship declaration). Obtaining prizes in the competition can greatly enhance the competitiveness of undergraduate applications at American, Canadian, and British universities. College admission for students in previous years includes Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Toronto, and other world-renowned schools.

2023 Question:


  • Q1. A team of scientists wants to discover how many genders there are. How should they proceed?
  • Q2. In what sense are you the same person today that you were when you were ten?
  • Q3. Is tax theft?


  • Q1. Do the results of elections express the will of the people?
  • Q2. If China becomes the leading superpower, what would that mean for the people who live there? What would it mean for everyone else?
  • Q3. What might account for the different levels of political corruption in your own country and your country’s nearest neighbour?


  • Q1. A government funds its own expenditure by taxing its population. Suppose, instead, it relied solely on money newly created by the central bank? What would be the advantages and/or disadvantages?
  • Q2. In his thought experiment, the Iowa Car Crop, David Friedman tries to show that growing wheat is, in an important sense, just another ‘technology’ we can use for manufacturing cars, and in some circumstances a much more efficient one. If international trade is thus a way of using less valuable inputs to produce more valuable outputs, why would governments impose trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, thereby forcing producers to be more wasteful and less efficient?
  • Q3. What would happen if we banned billionaires?


  • Q1. How much richer or poorer are the British today than they would have been without the effects of British colonialism?
  • Q2. Which has a bigger effect on history: the plans of the powerful or their mistakes?
  • Q3. Which characteristics distinguish successful movements for social change from unsuccessful ones?


  • Q1. Can happiness be measured?
  • Q2. In surveys conducted in the United States, significantly more than half the respondents reported that they believed themselves to be more attractive than the median person in their country. How might we account for this?
  • Q3. Are beliefs voluntary?


  • Q1. What distinguishes a small religion from a large cult?
  • Q2. If you cannot persuade your intelligent, sympathetic friends to embrace your religious belief system, do you have enough reason to believe what you believe?
  • Q3. What was God doing before He created the cosmos?


  • Q1. Would justice be better served in the United States if more Supreme Court judges were women?
  • Q2. Suppose that you were contemplating, in violation of the rules of this competition, submitting an essay written for you by artificial intelligence. What would be the difference between such an act and ordinary attempted theft?
  • Q3. Are there too many laws?

Junior Prize: 

  • Q1. Is safety more important than fun?
  • Q2. If you had $10 billion to spend on making the world better, how would you spend it?
  • Q3. What, if anything, do your parents owe you?
  • Q4. What is something important, about which nearly everybody is wrong?
  • Q5. Why is John Locke sometimes called the father of liberalism?

Eligibility: Students from all countries and schools can participate. There are two levels of the competition, one for high school students from 15 to 18 years old and the Junior Prize, focused on middle school students 14 years old and younger.

Important Deadlines: To participate in the competition, students should register for the competition from April 1 to May 31, 2023. Students must submit their essay using the registered email by June 30, 2023, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

  • Registration opens: 1 April, 2023.
  • Registration deadline: 31 May, 2023. (Registration is required by this date for subsequent submission.)
  • Submission deadline: 30 June, 2023.
  • 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: September, 2023.

Entry fee: Entry fee is free. However, you would have to pay a late entry fee of 20 USD within 24 hours of the original deadline IF you missed the June 30 deadline. If you submit late, you have to submit the essay no later than July 10, 2023.

Results: Shortlisted essay will be notified by July 31 and receive an invitation to Oxford for an academic conference and awards dinner in September, where the prize-winners will be announced. The dinner is completely optional.

Prizes: Winners of subject categories and the Junior category will receive a $2000 scholarship towards the cost of attending any John Locke Institute program, and the essays will be published on the Institute’s website. Winner of 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.

Why participate in this competition: Participating in the John Locke Institute Essay Competition offers numerous benefits for students. It is an opportunity to hone writing and critical thinking skills, engage with important issues, and potentially win prizes. Winning the competition can significantly enhance a student’s academic and professional credentials. For more guidance about the program, go to Guide to the John Locke Essay Competition

Competition Website: LINK


Students from all countries and schools

Submission deadline

June 30, 2023

Our Teaching Methods

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Students who previously took the class:

Throughout the years, our students have successfully gained admission or are currently attending top-ranking secondary and high schools around the world: America, Australia, Canada, China, and more:

  • Cardigan Mountain School
  • Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Concord Academy
  • Groton School

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