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ESSWE PhD Thesis Prize

Nominations will soon be invited for the fifth biennial ESSWE PhD Thesis prize, awarded by the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism.


The prize will be given for an outstanding PhD thesis completed since 1 January 2015 on any aspect of Western Esotericism. Candidates for the prize must be members of the ESSWE. The thesis must have been approved formally by the nominee's thesis committee, but the degree need not have been formally awarded.

Notification & Certification

The prizewinner will be notified in Spring 2017 and will receive an award of €500 and a certificate, to be presented at the sixth ESSWE conference in June 2017.


The thesis will also be recommended for publication in the ARIES Book Series, though the final decision on publication will be taken by the ARIES Book Series editorial board.


Nominations must be made by electronic mail to the Chair of the Prize Committee by 1 February 2017. The nominator must be a faculty member at the institution that awards the nominee’s PhD degree, or a member of the nominee’s thesis committee. Each nominator may make only one nomination.

The applications should consist of pdf files of the following material:

A letter of nomination

  • The nominee's thesis
  • A separate summary of the thesis, written by the nominee, of no more than ten pages (double spaced)
  • A brief biographical sketch of the nominee
  • Documentation to show that the thesis has been approved
  • Items 1, 3 and 4 must be in English. Item 2 may be in any one of the following languages: English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. Item 5 may be in any language, so long as a translation into English is provided if it is not in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

The composition of the Prize Committee will be announced by August 2016.

Chair of Thesis Prize Committee: Yuri Stoyanov (

ESSWE PhD Thesis Prize Winners

2009 Robert Collis, “The Petrine Instauration: Religion, Esotericism and Science at the Court of Peter the Great, 1689-1725.”

2011 Daniel Jütte, “Das Zeitalter des Geheimnisses. Juden, Christen und die Ökonomie des Geheimen (1400–1800).”

2013 Egil Asprem, “The Problem of Disenchantment: Scientific Naturalism and Esoteric Discourse, 1900-1939.”

2015 Tim Rudbøg, "H. P. Blavatsky's Theosophy in Context: The Construction of Meaning in Modern Western Esotericism."

The Homan MA Thesis Prize

ESSWE offers a Homan MA Thesis Prize in memory of Henny Homan, the Society's first Secretary. A prize of €150 plus a certificate will be awarded every two years for an unpublished thesis, based on original research, on any aspect of the study of Western esotericism. The competition is open to anyone currently registered for an MA who has a scholarly interest in the study of Western esotericism. Scholars from any country may enter the competition, but entries must not have been previously submitted for publication. Entries will be judged by a committee chaired by a member of the ESSWE Board, who will consult with other prominent scholars in the field where necessary.

General Conditions of Entry

  • Candidates must be registered for an MA degree or have been awarded one in the year prior to the closing date.
  • The thesis must be fully documented, typewritten with double-spacing, with full and correct use of scholarly apparatus (e.g., footnotes & bibliography).
  • The thesis may be on any aspect of the study of esoteric currents in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary western culture.
  • The thesis must not include any reference to the author and must be accompanied by a cover letter providing the author's academic details (Institution, Degree Course, contact details of lecturer/supervisor).
  • The thesis may be submitted in English, French, German or Italian.
  • The name of the winner will be formally announced by the European Society for Study of Western Esotericism. Candidates will be informed of the outcome by email.
  • No correspondence can be entered into regarding individual entries. The judges’ decision is final.


Once nominations for the coming prize have been invited, entries should be submitted electronically to the Chair of the Homan Essay Prize committee. The candidate will receive an email confirming receipt of the entry.

The deadline for entries will be announced.

Homan MA Thesis Prize Winners

2015 Ellen P. Randolph, "Gnosticism, Transformation, and the Role of the Feminine in the Gnostic Mass of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.).”

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