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Ethics and Social Justice Essay Prize

CEED Social Justice Prize


The Fordham University Center for Ethics Education 
Ethics and Social Justice Essay Prize

This national undergraduate essay competition is open to college seniors at accredited 4-year colleges and universities in the U.S. The competition is intended to amplify historically underrepresented voices and perspectives on issues of societal import, and to encourage thoughtful reflection and critical thinking about ethical concepts as they are encountered personally and as members of society committed to social justice.

**Note: Fordham University undergraduates are also eligible to submit to Fordham’s Chynn Prize in Ethics and Morality; however, students are not allowed to submit the same essay for consideration in the Chynn Prize and the Ethics and Social Justice Essay Prize competitions.**


First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300

The winning essays will be featured on the Center for Ethics Education’s website and Ethics and Society blog. 

This competition is organized by Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education and Master of Arts in Ethics and Society Program, and is funded by the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and a generous gift in the honor of Helen and Norman Burg.

2020 Prize Theme: Racial Justice: Promises and Realities

Essay Criteria
Essays (1,250-2,000 words) should Identify and analyze an ethical issue or dilemma related to this year’s theme, Racial Justice: Realities and Possibilities. The essay should demonstrate student’s understanding of, and commitment to, racial justice within a thorough discussion of the central ethical concepts, principles, or values at play, and their relevance to the issue at hand. Students are encouraged to (a) draw on a variety of philosophical, theological, humanistic, and scientific perspectives and (b) to discuss how their analysis is informed by their personal experiences, and the shared experiences of family, friends, and other members of their communities. Submissions may include reference to published scholarship; however, they must be original, unpublished work that reflect the student’s individual voice.

Submission and Eligibility Requirements

  • Submissions can be uploaded here.
  • Word count: 1,250-2,000 words (excluding references)

  • Essays should be original, and written by the applicant; attribution and references to quoted/paraphrased materials must be included, as appropriate.

  • Applicants must be currently-enrolled seniors at an accredited 4-year college or university (with expected graduation date between December 2020 and August 2021). Finalists will be contacted to verify academic eligibility.

  • Essays written for a class requirement are acceptable, but this must be acknowledged in the submission form.
  • Fordham University students who are also submitting to the Chynn Ethics Paper Prize competition may not submit the same essay for consideration in both competitions.
  • Applicant may only submit one essay for consideration.
  • Students are encouraged to email questions to Steven Swartzer, Ph.D., Associate Director, Academic Programs at

December 1, 2020

To read winning essays from a similar undergraduate prize at Fordham and other student essays featured in the Student Voices section of the Ethics and Society blog, visit the following links: