History essay competition
The Department of History is proud to sponsor a Y12/L6 History essay prize competition and to announce that the 2020-21 competition is now open!
Now open to 2020-21 applications with a deadline of 5pm, Thursday 29 April 2021.
Our essay competition is open to Year 12 or Lower Sixth history students from schools and colleges anywhere in the UK.
There is a prize of £50 for the winning essay, and two runner-up essays will receive commendations.
The intention behind the prize is:
- to give History A Level students an opportunity to write about a topic that interests them
- to encourage them to develop independent study skills
- to provide schools and colleges with a 'stretch and challenge' exercise for their most talented students
- to recognise the talents of aspiring history students
Essays must be on topics in our essay question title list.
Please read the full criteria below.
- Submission criteria
- essays should be no more than 1500 words in length, including footnotes but excluding any bibliography
- essays must be on a topic chosen from the essay question title list below
- essays must not be on a topic that entrants have studied in the year they are applying to the competition
- entrants must be in Y12 or Lower 6th and must be studying A Level History, or equivalent
- a maximum of two applications per school/college per year are permitted
- Assessment criteria
The assessors will be looking for essays that:
- provide a broad historical context
- show awareness of the changes in historiography
- use a range of sources (primary and/or secondary)
- are analytical, not descriptive
- are written in clear, continuous prose, correctly spelled and punctuated
- demonstrate an understanding of differing interpretations of history and reach a substantiated conclusion.
- Essay question titles 2020-21
- How ‘Roman’ was the Roman Empire?
- Was Alfred the Great great?
- How complete was the Norman Conquest?
- Were the Vikings primarily traders or raiders?
- How central were religious imperatives in the Spanish Conquest?
- How important is it to reframe the English Civil War as a war of three kingdoms?
- Why did England become involved in the Atlantic slave-trade during the seventeenth century?
- Can historians ever truly understand the experiences and perspectives of enslaved African Americans?
- Does childhood have a history?
- ‘The most important consequences of the French Revolution were in Haiti’. Discuss.
- Was the First World War the first ‘global’ conflict?
- Did women have a political voice in Britain before 1918?
- Has German history followed a ‘special path’ (sonderweg)?
- Is it fair to call Stalin a ‘new tsar’?
- Should historians extend the chronological boundaries of the American Civil Rights Movement beyond the 1950s and the 60s?
- Did Mao Zedong lay the foundation for China’s rapid development?
- Did 1960s Britain experience a cultural revolution?
- ‘South African apartheid was ended not by the decisions of a few great men, but by the actions of ordinary people.’ Do you agree with this interpretation?
- Why did all the ‘insane asylums’ close in Britain?
- What can historians learn from the humour of past societies?
How to apply
Deadline 2020-21: 5pm, Thursday 29 April 2021
- No more than two applications can be received per school and college, so you should speak to your teacher before submission.
- Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Essay Prize".
- Submissions must include a completed cover sheet and you should copy your teacher into the email.
If you have any questions, or issues, please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Please note that we are unfortunately unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful entries.
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