Essay competition 2018

Launch of the PSA Parliaments 2018 essay competition for undergraduate students.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Essay Competition 2018! The winner will be presented with a prize of £100 and a runner-up prize of £50. Last year’s winners were presented the award by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament at our annual one-day conference.

To enter

The essay competition is open to all undergraduate students, who should complete an essay with a focus on parliament(s), with a word limit of up to 3,500 words (excluding bibliography and references). ‘Essays’ are interpreted here as any written assignment submitted to any university module. It does not have to be an essay in the traditional sense, nor an essay specifically from a specialist parliamentary studies module. It could, for instance, be a research project or any other form of written assessment, but it must contribute to our understanding of parliaments and legislatures. The essay can focus on any parliament(s) or legislature(s).

In order to enter, lecturers must submit an essay on their students’ behalf by the closing date of Friday 01 June 2018. Please note that only one submission can be made per lecturer (or teaching assistant), who must be a member of the PSA and of the Specialist Group on Parliaments. Students can only be entered once per competition.

Entries should be anonymised and sent to Marc Geddes ( and Louise Thompson (, with the following information indicated in the email making the submission (if any of the following is not provided, the submission will not be accepted): 

  • Title of the essay
  • Student name
  • Student number
  • Word count of the essay (excluding bibliography and respective references)

Essays will be judged by a panel consisting of academics and practitioners, to be confirmed (see below for last year’s details). Essays will be judged on the basis of:

  • Originality
  • Rigour
  • Strength of analysis
  • Contribution to our understanding of parliament(s)
  • Presentation (writing)

The winner will be announced in July 2018.

Our 2017 winner was Tamara McCallum from Leeds (nominated by Cristina Leston-Bandeira), and Callum Allison (nominated by Louise Thompson) was the runner-up.

All of the essays were judged anonymously by a panel of senior academics and clerks: Michael Rush (Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter), Meg Russell (Professor of British Politics and Director of the Constitution Unit at UCL) and Rebecca Davies (Clerk of the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee). In particular, the panel commended its originality and noted that it was very well written, had an interesting thesis and was based on a significant amount of research.

Details about the 2016 last year’s essay competition.

Details about our first essay competition in 2015.


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