Awards and Opportunities

The Ernst Freund Fellowship in Law and Philosophy

The Award
The Ernst Freund Fellowship in Law and Philosophy is designed to help deepen the understanding of connections between the two fields. The goal is for the winning candidate to develop, with faculty supervision, a publishable paper. One winner is selected each year and receives a $5,000 prize. 

The fellowship is open to law students (typically 2L’s) and to graduate students in the Philosophy Ph.D. program (typically in an early year in the program). The winning candidate will execute a plan that will involve taking at least one course in the other field and working on a paper with a faculty advisor. The award is for work during the subsequent academic year. It requires being in residence during the academic year following the award decision, but summer work and residence are at the discretion of the candidate. 

Submission Guidelines
Materials required for submission include the following:

  • A transcript
  • CV
  • A 3-4 page statement the project to be pursued

The statement should include a description of what course or courses the candidate would take, and also a rough idea for the paper, with a short bibliography of relevant literature – similar to a fully developed paper prospectuses. It should show what is at stake in the project, what problem it is addressing, and what contribution it is expected to make.

The project may be in any area in which philosophy intersects with law, which might include traditional philosophy of law, but might also include equality, race, feminism, sexuality, coercion, criminal responsibility, immigration, or international justice. The topic is open so long as the candidate can make a case for the project as a good one to pursue in an interdisciplinary way.

A selection committee consisting of faculty from both departments will review the submissions. Applicants should submit to Lorrie Ragland (, no later than Tuesday, April 30, 2024. 

Award Background
The Ernst Freund Fellowship is named for Ernst Freund, chief architect of the University of Chicago Law School, who believed that interdisciplinary cooperation between lawyers and philosophers was essential to address pressing social problems. His own contributions included work on immigration, the police power, and free speech: he was the first influential legal thinker to defend the free speech rights of dissidents in wartime. The fellowship is made possible by funds from Martha Nussbaum’s Kyoto Prize.