Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize

Established in 2006, the Lloyd Davies Philosophy Prize is an essay competition open to students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. The first prize is £250, and there may also be a second prize of £150.

The purpose of the Prize is:

  • To give students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th who are considering applying to a University an opportunity to write about a subject they are interested in. This should enable them to develop their abilities for independent research and thought in Philosophy.
  • To support teachers of able pupils by providing interesting and challenging further work in Philosophy and by bringing such students into contact with Higher Education.
  • To encourage able students to consider applying to study Philosophy, either at Oxford or at another university, by giving them some experience of the type of work involved.
  • To recognise the achievement and effort of the best of those who apply through prizes and commendations. Note: the judges are not able to provide feedback on any essays.

Assessment Criteria

Entrants should be in Year 12 (or equivalent) at their school or college. The judges will look for originality of thought, a clear grasp of the issues, clarity in presentation and a critical approach to what has been read. They will also look for a clear structure to the essay.

How to Apply

The 2019 competition closed in June and titles for the 2020 competition will be published on this page in April 2020.

Titles for 2019 Entries

  1. Is anything special about the present moment?
  2. Can one be mistaken about one's own state of mind?
  3. Which is more important in determining the wrongness of a person's action: the person's intentions or the action's effects?

2019 Competition Result

The joint winners of the 2019 competition were Matthew Drury (Loughborough Grammar School) and Tom Francis (Twyford CofE High School). Matthew and Tom each receive prizes of £200 and you can read their winning essays below:

Matthew Drury

Loughborough Grammar School

Read his winning essay here.



Tom Francis

Twyford CofE High School

Read his winning essay here.




The standard of competition was high this year and, in addition to the joint winners, our tutors highly commended the essays of the following three entrants:

  • Alessandro Coppola, Malvern College (Title 3)
  • Kai Kobashi, Kaetsu Ariake High School (Title 2)
  • Shrinidhi Prakash, St Olave's Grammar School (Title 1)

We would like to thank everyone who took part and we wish you all every success in your future studies.

2018 Competition Result

The joint winners of the 2018 competition were: Francoise Nel and Lucy Psaila. Francoise and Lucy each receive prizes of £200 and you can read their winning essays below: