Essay Competition 2020

Launch of the PSA Parliaments essay competition 2020 for undergraduate students.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our 2020 Essay Competition! The winner will be presented with a prize of £100 and a runner-up prize of £50 at our annual conference in November 2020.

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 29 May 2020. 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 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 2020.

Our 2019 competition winner was Joshua Wakeford, from the University of Manchester, and the runner-up was Cynthia Njeri Mbuthia, from the Queen Mary, University of London.

All essays were anonymised and judged by a panel of academics and practitioners: Professor David Judge (University of Strathclyde and Chair of the Panel), Lucinda Maer (House of Commons) and Dr Daniel Gover (QMUL). For the winning essay, the panel explained:

“The winning essay is well-written, well-argued, and well-researched. It is rigorous in the collection and analysis of data, and provides a valuable contribution to understanding parliament by focusing on a crucial but less publicised accountability mechanism.”

On the second essay, the panel commented that it:

“provides an engaging and nicely presented analysis which utilises original data and, importantly, points towards a series of questions and issues worthy of further research”.

Past competitions

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