The Phi Beta Kappa Association of Montana Essay Contest

The Phi Beta Kappa Association of Montana offers a $1,000 merit scholarship to the winner of its annual essay contest.

ELIGIBILITY

Essay contest entrants should: 1) be a full-time student at the University of Montana; 2) have a declared major or minor in a department in the College of Humanities and Sciences; 3) have a minimum GPA of 3.75; 4) have attained junior standing (minimum 60 credits); and 5) have fulfilled all of their general education requirements before applying. Students will complete a short essay that responds to the following prompt:

As the PBK Society website declares, “For over two and a quarter centuries, the Society has embraced the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. Laptops have replaced quill pens, but these ideas, symbolized on Phi Beta Kappa’s distinctive gold key, still lay the foundations of personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience, and creative endeavor.” 

Write an essay of 500-750 words in which you contemplate the relevance of the Society’s principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression in the context of your own intellectual development at the University of Montana. In composing your essay, pay specific attention to the way your course of study has developed your ideas about, and experiences of, personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience, and creative endeavor. Be sure to include a descriptive title for your essay. Essays will be judged on eloquence, depth of intellectual engagement, and breadth of thought.

Applications are due to the Davidson Honors College by March 1 of each year, and the winner will be decided by mid-March, in anticipation of a formal announcement at the annual PBK Association of Montana banquet. This scholarship will be awarded for the following academic year.

APPLICATION

The completed scholarship application must include the following elements:

  • Application cover sheet
  • Essay responding to prompt (500-750 words; 2-3 typed pages)
  • Résumé (one page maximum) showing progress toward academic and career objectives
  • Unofficial UM transcript showing grades through last autumn semester
  • Name, department, and email contact information for two UM faculty members who can provide references upon request

If you have any questions about the PBK Association Essay Contest, please contact Prof. Ashby Kinch at ashby.kinch@umontana.edu