General Education Essay Competition

Quick Facts

Phi Beta Kappa is pleased to announce its Twenty-Sixth Annual Essay Competition for first-year students and sophomores, as well as the Seventeenth Annual Competition for juniors and seniors sponsored by the Humanities Program. The Phi Beta Kappa competition was initiated by Professor Barbara Cooper to encourage freshmen and sophomores in general education (now Discovery) courses to strive for excellence in written work. One does not have to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa to submit an essay; all are encouraged to submit their superior work.

Each competition will award a first prize of $100 and up to two additional prizes of $50 at the Phi Beta Kappa initiation ceremony on May 10, 2014 for superior essays of no more than 3000 words, written as regular assignments in Discovery (including Inquiry) courses offered in Fall 2013 or Spring 2014.

Essays submitted in courses offered during spring semester 2013 are also eligible, but only if their due date was subsequent to April 15th, 2013. The deadline for submission of essays is Thursday, April 10, 2014. Essays must be endorsed in a statement by the instructor of the course.

Essays will be judged on depth of analysis, clarity of thesis, originality of thinking, synthesis of evidence, clarity of expression, correct usage, and organization. Submissions should be scholarly essays rather than personal narratives. For further details, contact Prof. Reagan Baughman (Economics) at 862-0800 or

Please mail all submissions, in hard copy with course number/title and instructor’s endorsement, to Reagan Baughman, 370K Paul College of Business & Economics.