External Competitions

There are a range of competitions available to enter across the UK and beyond for all age groups: this list is by no means exhaustive. Have a go: deepen your passion!

English

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition – categories for under 14 years and 14–18 years.

Deadline: usually May
Further details here.

Geography

Royal Geographical Society Geographer of the Year – categories for 11–14, 14–16 and 16–18 years.

Deadline: usually October
Further details here.

Philosophy

The Sheffield Philosophy Essay Prize – competition for Years 10, 11 and 12 (Fourth and Fifth forms and LVI).

Deadline: usually July
Further details here.

Army Historical Research Essay Prize

Society for Army Historical Research (SAHR) – cash prizes and certificates are available for essays (your own research project) on British military history. Submission deadline is 15th of February, further info is here.

Dukes Education Essay

All subjects: response to a one-word theme – competition for Year 11 (Fifth form) and LVI. Details: here.

Cyber Discovery

HM Government’s Cyber Schools Programme. Code cracking and the development of software – competition for Year 10 to UVI. More details here.

Cyber First for Girls

GCHQ’s Cyber Competition for Girls. Developing the next generation of cyber professionals. More details here.

Teen Tech

Teen Tech. Identify a problem with a product and come up with a technological solution. More details here.

University & Sixth Form Essay Competitions

University essay competitions are aimed at Sixth-form students.

Essay competitions are an important means by which you can expand your knowledge and hone your learning. If you are applying for a particular subject at university, undertaking an essay competition is a good way to deepen your understanding of a field. If you are applying to Oxbridge, essay competitions are essential. The majority of essay competitions are indeed run by Oxbridge colleges, although other universities are following suit, so do give one a go!

Don’t forget to talk to the subject specialists in your department who will be able to offer advice on reading. Moreover there are often limits on the number of essays the College can submit for individual competitions—especially in the case of Oxbridge colleges—so make sure that you consult your department in advance.

Photo: Katie Cook and Lord Walker at the Trinity Law Essay Prize Competition, 2015, in which Katie achieved joint second place.

Oxbridge College Competitions

Oxford Medical School Gazette: Medicine

Deadline: January
Further details here.

St Hilda’s College, Oxford

Reception of Classical Antiquity (English? Philosophy) for those not doing Latin or Greek A level/IB (Mary Renault Prize)

Deadline: February

Further details here.

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Medicine, Psychology, English, Biology, Computer Science

Deadline: February
Further details here.

St John’s College, Oxford

Classics and Ancient History

Deadline: February
Further details here

Christ Church, Oxford

Poetry

Deadline: February
Further details here.

Girton College, Cambridge

Humanities (particularly Arch & Anth/HSPS)

Deadline: March
Further details here.

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

Classics and Ancient History, Land Economy (highly suitable for geographers and economists)

Deadline: March
Further details here.

Peterhouse, Cambridge

History (including Ancient History), Science, English

Deadline: March
Further details here.

Faculty of Modern Languages, Oxford

French Film Essay

Deadline: March

Further details here.

Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Physics

Deadline: May

Further details here.

Keble College, Oxford

Theology and Religion

Deadline: late April/early May

Further details here.

St Hilda’s College, Oxford

History (nb titles yet to be released)

St Hugh’s College, Oxford

History

Deadline: July

Further details here.

Oriel College, Oxford

Philosophy (announced April)

Further details here.

Trinity College, Cambridge

Theology, Philosophy, History, Politics, Law, Geography, English (titles published February)

Deadline: variable

Further details here.

St Peter’s College, Oxford

Philosophy

Deadline: September
Further details here.

Oxford—Princeton John Locke Institute

Politics, Philosophy, Economics, History

Further details here.

Newnham College, Cambridge (Girls)

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering

Further details here.