There are several essay prizes which can be a great opportunity for students to stretch themselves and explore a topic which interests them, while practising the research and essay writing skills that they will need at university. There’s still time to enter Girton’s Humanities Writing Competition, Peterhouse’s History, Science and English prizes, Corpus Christi’s Biochemistry and Chemistry prizes, Newnham’s Virginia Woolf essay prize (for girls only) and St Peter’s (Oxford) Philosophy essay competition.
There are some new prizes to enter too – Trinity College has just opened entry for several essay competitions:
• The Robson History Prize offers a choice of 94 questions, from Beowulf and the Crusades to American Civil Rights and TV historians, so there really is something for everyone. Details can be found at www.trin.cam.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=680 and the deadline is May 31st.
• The R.A. Butler prize in Politics and International Relations offers students the scope to use historical and contemporary examples to address political and moral questions such as ‘In what ways does money shape American politics?’ and ‘Is inequality a moral ill, or simply a fact of life?’ Questions and an application form can be downloaded from www.polis.cam.ac.uk/dept/butlerprize.html. The deadline is June 1st.
• The Prize for Philosophy or Religious Studies includes far-reaching and contentious questions including: ‘Do Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God?’ and ‘Can we make any sense of the idea of deadly sins?’ The deadline is May 31st and, again, details can be found at: www.trin.cam.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=696.
All three competitions carry a first prize of £600 and a second prize of £400, to be split between the winning candidate and their school.