The Brian M. Keenan Prize will be presented on the merit of an undergraduate paper of at least two-thousand and not more than five-thousand words, on the philosophy of history, law, or social and political philosophy. Special consideration will be given to papers engaging with liberalism as a set of historical practices or conditions.

The award will be limited to students who are attending or have recently attended Canadian universities in undergraduate programs. Every year, papers will be accepted from February 1st through May 31st. All applicants must be enrolled in, or graduated from a Canadian Undergraduate program at the time of submission in order to be considered. Applicants cannot be enrolled in any postgraduate program at the time of application.

Applicants must agree to be named publicly on this website as a recipient of the award, agree to have their paper published on this website in the recipients section, and supply an appropriate photograph which will accompany the winner’s paper.

Only one submission per candidate per year is allowed.


The merit of all papers received will be considered by the members of the board on the basis of:

  • clarity of thought
  • insight into the relevance of the surrounding philosophical dialogue
  • appreciation and understanding of philosophy’s tradition
  • and an awareness of the implications of the presented position for possibility of philosophy itself.

Each member of the board of directors will select three papers as a favoured candidates for a short list of five papers. The board will convene to defend their selections and determine, by committee, the final five candidates. These five papers will be presented to Professor Keenan for adjudication and selection of the most compelling and engaging paper. The author of this paper will receive a letter of commendation from the board and professor Keenan, an award certificate, and the monetary prize.

All submissions are adjudicated anonymously. Although submitted with the required personal contact information attached, a third secretarial party is appointed by the board at the close of the application period to randomly assign a numerical value to a paper and censor any names therein. A name is only revealed by crossreference to the numbered paper once it has been selected by Brian Keenan as the prizewinner.


Papers are accepted every year from Feb 1st through to May 31st. Any papers received outside of these dates Central Standard time will not be considered.

Apply now!