Conditions of participation

You can participate in the Philosophy Olympiad if you:

  • attend a secondary school in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein (e.g. grammar school, vocational school, secondary school, international high school),

  • or, being a Swiss or Liechtenstein national or resident, attend a foreign school.

Anyone who is attending a university before the reference date is not admitted. Anyone who has reached the age of 20 on the reference date may participate in the national selection but is not eligible for participation in the International Philosophy Olympiad.


The complete terms and conditions can be found here.

Evaluation criteria

In order to participate you do not need to know Plato's works inside out, nor do you need years of philosophy classes behind you. It is important that when writing you pay attention to coherence (arguing coherently and without contradiction) and persuasiveness (substantiating claims). By thinking up your own examples, you show originality. We want to know how you think! Further criteria for a good essay are relevance (keeping the direct relation to the topic) and context (placing the topic in its philosophical, not historical context). Further tips can be found in the IPO writing guide.


The essays are evaluated anonymously by students and teachers of philosophy.


The authors of the best essays in each language are invited to the semi-finals in January, where they can qualify for the final which will be held in Berne in March. The two best finalists have the opportunity to participate in the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO). Exact dates can be found in the agenda.


To participate, simply fill out the form below, attach your essay as a Word or pdf document and send it off! The document should not contain any reference (name, school, etc.) to you, not even in the document name! Our data protection policy explain what we do with your data. Teachers may please use the same form to enter the essay files and the information about their students (use a new form for each student). 


Do you need specific assistance for your participation due to a physical impairment, handicap or chronic illness? Find out more about how we can support your participation here and get in touch with us. We will do our best to ensure that everyone can participate fairly.


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