Graduate Student Essay Contest

The Graduate contest is open to all graduate students (Master’s and PhD) in a religious studies programme

Subject: A theme in the general field of religious studies

Language: English or French

Length: minimum 3000-maximum 5000 words, typed and double-spaced (word count does not include footnotes or bibliography)

Eligibility: Master’s or PhD student status in a religious studies programme in a Canadian university or Canadian graduate students registered in programs outside of Canada (include proof of Canadian citizenship) who are members in good standing of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR). There will be two awards given, one for the MA and one for the PhD. Limit of one entry per student.

Entries which do not meet these criteria will not be eligible for consideration.

PhD prize: $650

MA prize: $300

Deadline: August 1, 2023

Requirements: Essays do not need to be written specifically for this contest. They may be assignments from a course. Essays that have been previously published or are forthcoming publications are eligible. Essays must be accompanied by a letter of certification from the chairperson or graduate coordinator of the religious studies department certifying the degree and programme status of the candidate, and indicating that the student is in good standing in that university or college. Essays should be sent in Word format or text format (PDFs will not be accepted).

Student winners will be announced and invited to present their papers during the CSSR Webinar Serie 2023-2024 (date to be confirmed). More information will be circulated to members closer to the date.

Students entering the contest must submit the entire essay application, including all forms and letters of certification by email to CSSR Members-At-Large: Kalpesh Bhatt ( and Jacqueline Giesbrecht (

Students must include their full mailing address on the first page of the essay, attach this form (as a PDF), or this form (as a fillable word document), and a letter of certification from their programme, by midnight on August 1, 2023.