The R.A. Butler Prize for essays in Politics and International Studies is a competition that can be entered by students in Year 12 or the Lower 6th. Candidates are invited to submit an essay on a topic to be chosen from a list of general questions announced in March each year, and to be submitted in August.
The Prize is jointly organised by Trinity College Cambridge and Cambridge University’s Department of Politics and International Studies. The Prize was established in memory of the former Master of Trinity College, Lord Butler, who most famously served as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and who was responsible for the introduction of free secondary education for all students in the UK.
The objectives of the R.A. Butler Prize are twofold. Firstly, it aims to encourage students with an interest in modern politics and world affairs to think about undertaking university studies in Politics, International Studies or a related discipline; it is not limited to those already studying these subjects or indeed other social sciences. Secondly, its intention is to recognise the achievements both of high-calibre students and of those who teach them.
The 2021 competition has closed
Format. Essays can be up to 3,500 words, including all footnotes and references but excluding the bibliography. It’s worth considering the use of examples in your essays: the best essays often use a diverse selection of contemporary, historical or literary examples. We encourage you to provide references to your sources of information, and to include a bibliography at the end of the essay. Please include your name on the document and save the file as “Surname, First name”.
Eligibility. The Prize is for students in Year 12 or Lower 6th at the time the questions are released in March. Students based abroad are most welcome to participate. To be eligible, you must be in your penultimate year of school. That is, to be eligible for the 2021 competition, you should be expecting to receive your final school results in the year from September 2021 to August 2022. This condition is held to strictly and, to be fair to the participants, no exceptions are made. Each entrant to the competition is allowed to submit only one essay.
Submissions: Essays must be submitted by 12 noon (UK time) on Monday 2nd August 2021. Please submit essays using the form below.
Prize. The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. Winners will be announced in September, and will be invited to visit the College to meet some of the teaching staff.
Contact. Any queries from students who may be interested in submitting work for the prize, or their teachers, should be directed to Dr Glen Rangwala by email to: [email protected].
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