Essay Competition 2019

Launch of the PSA Parliaments 2019 essay competition for undergraduate students.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our 2019 Essay Competition! The winner will be presented with a prize of £100 and a runner-up prize of £50 at our 2019 annual conference (find out more about the presentation to our 2018 winners).

Entry details

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 31 May 2019. 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 summer 2019.

Our 2018 winner was Mercy Muroki from QMUL (nominated by Philip Cowley and Daniel Gover), with Katie Power from Surrey (nominated by Louise Thompson) as the runner-up.

All of the essays were judged by a panel of senior academics and clerks: Michael Rush (Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter), Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds) and Martyn Atkins (clerk in the House of Commons). In particular, the panel described it as ‘an original, clear and compelling piece of work’, with excellent primary research demonstrated throughout.

Past competitions

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