Year 12 Classics Essay Competitions 2021

Every year UK universities and colleges run a wide range of essay competitions. The competitions are mainly pitched at year 12 (i.e. lower sixth form) pupils as those pupils begin to think about what they might like to study at university level.

Classics departments do a good job of this. There are plenty of essays to enter for the student who can find them. And doing the essays is a great way to explore new and different subject matter beyond the regular syllabus and to try your hand in a fun competition.

The problem, for teachers as they encourage their students to enter these competitions (unless I am very much mistaken) is that they aren’t all advertised in one place. To help with this, I am collecting all essay competitions I come across here, for ease of finding them. I will update this list as and when new information is made available. Each competition below is either explicitly focussed on Classics or contains essay questions which admit of a classical focus. Alongside the essay competitions, I’ve included the odd reading competition etc.

Please do get in touch/add a comment below if I have missed any competitions which can be added to the list. And good luck to anyone entering!

Oxford Classics and Byzantine Studies Creative Writing Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 27 May 2021

Newnham College, Cambridge: Woolf Prize, Classics Prize, Archaeology Prize

Details here:

nb. girls only

Woolf: deadline 10th March 2021 (5 entries per school)

Classics: deadline 10th March 2021 (5 entries per school)

Archaeology: 10th March 2021 (5 entries per school)

St John’s College, Oxford: Ancient History Essay Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 25th Feb 2021

New College of Humanities Essay Competition

A lot of prize money available here, but only one topic (art history) of direct classical relevance.

Details here:

Deadline: Feb 1st 2021

Omnibus Sam Hood Translation Prize

Details here:

Deadline: 5th July 2021

Gladstone Memorial Essay Prize, ICS

Details below, deadline 10th July 2021

St Hugh’s College, Oxford Mary Renault Prize

Details here:

Deadline: 30th July 2021

ARLT Reading competition

Details here:

Deadline: 26th February 2021

Lytham St Anne’s Branch Classics Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 11th February 2021

UCL Greek and Latin Essay Competition

Watch this space: last year deadline was 31st August

Trinity College, Cambridge Linguistics Essay Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 2nd August 2021

Trinity College, Cambridge, Robson History Prize

Details here:

Deadline: 1st May

Gonville and Caius, Cambridge Linguistics Challenge

watch this space

Gonville and Caius, Cambridge History essay prize

watch this space

Last year’s deadline was 5th June

Girton College, Cambridge Humanities Essay Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 1st April 2021

Peterhouse, Cambridge Vellacott History Essay Prize

watch this space: cancelled this year!

Corpus Christi, Cambridge Classics Essay Competition

Watch this space: didn’t run last year

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge Classics essay Competition

Details here:

Deadline: 30th April 2021

Gilbert Murray Essay Competition

Scottish pupils only

Details here: