Essay Prize in Ethics

The Schellhase Essay Contest asks students to think critically about the moral principles that drive human actions and behavior. The Schellhase Essay was created in honor of Richard T. Schellhase, a former professor at Ursinus College.

Topics to Consider

  • The fundamental differences of what is “right” and “wrong”
  • Competing advocacy for the best course of action
  • Personal dilemmas
  • Unexpected consequences that resulted from a well-intended action
  • Important policy decisions and their implications
  • The obligation to help humanity and/or the environment

The topics above and many more can drive the thesis of an ethics essay. An ethics essay can be any essay that explores ethical situations and ideas. Students of all disciplines and grade levels are eligible to compete.


How to Submit 

Email your submission in MS Word format to the Center for Writing and Speaking at

The 2020-2021 Schellhase Ethics Essay submission date is currently under review and will be

released promptly.


1st Prize - $2,000

2nd Prize - $1,000

3rd Prize - $500


Judging and Scoring

Winning essays will be selected by a panel of Ursinus alumni. Submitted essays will be scored on their capacity to confront important topics with a sense of perspective, tenacity, and eloquence all while maintaining a captivating flow. A draft of the full rubric is available here.


Essay Contest Winners

*Note: past contests had different topics and themes*

Have additional questions or concerns?

Reach out to for clarification on requirements, dates, and eligible topics for the essay. 

Ethics is the difference between knowing what you have the right to do and what is the right thing to do. 

- Potter Stewart