We are proud to maintain strong links with other historical organisations. On this page, we have brought together information about external essay competitions that may be of interest to postgraduate historians within our community. We’ve tried to put them in date order, with those that close earliest in the year at the top.
We are always keen to expand this page, so please do get in touch with further suggested links. And don’t forget our own prizes and funding schemes!

British Commission for Maritime History: Masters Dissertation Prize

A prize of £100 awarded annually for an outstanding dissertation on maritime history, completed during the preceding academic year. Dissertations awarded distinction marks of 70+ are eligible for consideration. Institutions may only submit one dissertation to the competition. Competition closes on the first Friday of January.

 

British Commission for Maritime History: Doctoral Prize

A prize of £200 for the best doctoral thesis in maritime history. The dissertation must have been completed during the previous academic year, and entries must be accompanied by a supporting letter from the candidate’s supervisor. Competition usually closes in January.

 

Institute of Historical Research: The Currier’s Company London History Essay Prize

A prize of £1000 awarded for an essay on any aspect of the history of London, from the Romans to the present day. The prize is open to postgraduate students registered at UK universities, and to early career scholars based in the UK. Entries for the current round closed in January 2021. Check website for details of the next round.

 

Institute of Historical Research: Sir John Neale Prize in early modern British history

A prize of £1000 awarded annually to an early career historian, for an essay on a theme related to the history of early modern Britain (1470–1700). Competition open from February; check website for details.

 

Society for the Social History of Medicine: Roy Porter Student Essay Prize

A prize of £500 awarded for the best original, unpublished essay in the social history of medicine. Open to undergraduate or postgraduate students, part-time or full-time, either currently registered or awarded their degree in the previous academic year. The winner will be invited to deliver a keynote at the SSHM conference. Current competition has now closed; check website for details of 2021–2022 round (likely to close in February).

 

British Association for Irish Studies: Postgraduate Essay Prize

A prize of £500 of Cambridge University Press books, awarded for an outstanding essay on any aspect of Irish studies. Competition deadline usually falls in March; check website for details of the next competition.

 

Sophie Coe Prize in Food History

A prize of £1,500 awarded annually for an engaging, original piece of writing that delivers new research and/or new insights into any aspect of food history. Closing date for entries: 23 April 2021. Note that this competition is open to all scholars and researchers, not just postgraduate students.

 

Institute of Historical Research: Pollard Prize

A prize of OUP books (value £500) and fast track publication in the IHR journal, Historical Research. Awarded for the best paper presented at an Institute of Historical Research seminar by a postgraduate student or recent doctoral student. Applicants are required to have delivered a paper at an IHR seminar during the academic year in which the award is made. Entries usually close in May; check website for details.

 

British Society for the History of Paediatrics and Child Health: William Cadogan Prize

A prize of £300 for an original essay of up to 3000 words, on any aspect of the history of paediatrics and child health, in any period of time or place. Closing date for current entries: 30 July 2021.

 

The Society for the History of Natural History: SHNH William T. Stearn Student Essay Prize

A prize of £300 awarded to the best original, unpublished essay in the history of natural history. Open to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Closing date for entries: 31 July 2021.

 

Journal of Transport History: John Scholes Research Essay Competition

A prize of SAGE publications vouchers (up to £150) for a paper based on original research into any aspect of the history of transport and mobility. The prize is intended to recognise budding transport historians. It may be awarded to the writer of one outstanding article, or be divided between two or more entrants. Typically, the prize is awarded for research completed as part of a PhD. Entries to current competition close 31 July 2021.

 

Twentieth Century British History Journal: Duncan Tanner Essay Prize

A prize of OUP books (value £500) and publication of essay in Twentieth Century British History. Awarded for an outstanding essay on any topic of British History since 1900. Entrants must be currently registered for a higher research degree, in Britain or abroad, or have recently completed a research degree. Closing date for entries: 1 November 2021.

 

British Society for the History of Philosophy: Graduate Essay Prize

A prize of £1000 awarded annually to the author of an essay that makes a significant contribution to the history of philosophy. Submissions usually accepted in the month of November; check website for details.

 

Royal Historical Society: Alexander Prize

A prize of £250 awarded for an essay or article based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or an individual recently awarded their doctorate. The essay should be published in a journal or an edited collection of essays. Entries usually close in the month of December; check website for details.

 

Women’s History Scotland Essay Prize

A bi-annual prize of £200 awarded for a new essay in the field of Scottish women’s and/ or gender history. Forms of work that may be submitted include: undergraduate dissertation, postgraduate work (e.g. master’s dissertation or chapter of PhD), a piece of original research by an independent scholar. Closing date for entries: 20 December 2021.

 

British Society for the History of Science: Singer Prize

A prize awarded every two years for an outstanding essay based on original research into any aspect of the history of science, technology or medicine. Candidates must be registered for a postgraduate degree or have been awarded their postgraduate degree within the last five years. Prospective entrants can sign up on the BSHS website to receive notifications about the next entry round.

 

Royal Historical Society: David Berry Prize

A prize of £250 awarded for the best published essay addressing an aspect of Scottish history. Candidates must be doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or be within two years of having a submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries. Details for 2021 yet to be announced; check website for details.

 

The Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland: Annual Essay Prize

A prize of £250/€250 awarded for a piece of written work of superb quality on any aspect of nineteenth-century Ireland. Open to PhD students and early career researchers. Details for 2021 yet to be announced: check website for details.

 

Association for Art History: Postgraduate Dissertation Prize

Two prizes of £50 in book tokens, awarded for undergraduate and postgraduate (master’s level) dissertations in art history or visual culture. Winners receive student membership of the Association for Art History for one year. Deadline for 2021 yet to be announced: check website for details.

 

Women’s History Network: MA Dissertation Prize

A prize of £250 awarded for a Masters dissertation on any aspect of women’s or gender history. The dissertation must have been written in the preceding academic year. Competition dates for 2021 are yet to be announced: check website for details.

 

Institute of Historical Research: Olivette Otele Prize

A prize of £500 awarded annually for the best paper submitted to the History Lab Postgraduate Research Seminar by a Black PhD research student based in the UK. Applicants are asked to submit an abstract and 1-page CV to the History Lab committee prior to the annual conference. Competition for 2021 now closed: check website for details of 2022 competition.

 

Northern History Journal: Gordon Forster Essay Prize

A prize of £200 awarded for an outstanding essay which fits within the scope of Northern History. The competition is open to graduates and early career researchers. Competition for 2021 now closed: check website for details of 2021-2022 round.

 

The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science: Notes and Records Essay Award

A prize of £500 awarded for an unpublished essay of up to 8,000 words on the history of science, technology and medicine in any period. Open to researchers in the history of science who have completed a postgraduate degree within the last five years. Deadline for 2021 submission has now passed; check website for details.