Newnham Essay Prizes

This year’s Essay Prize Competition has now come to a close. Congratulations to all that participated in this competition.

This year, we ran a programme of structured advice and guidance webinars to support students entering the Essay Prize Competition. Reviewing this programme will give you the opportunity to improve your essay writing skills, get the tools for developing a strong essay, and get a sneak peak of university-level study.

The recorded webinars can be found here;

The password for each recording was provided in your results email. Please email SLO@newn.cam.ac.uk for the password if you did not enter the 2022 competition.

Take a look at our Hints & Tips For Aspiring Essayists’ guide, written by Newnham staff and students! You can also read last year’s winning entries for each subject below.

The Woolf Essay Prize

Woolf Information And Questions 2022

In 1928, Virginia Woolf addressed the Newnham Arts Society on the Subject of ‘Women and Fiction’, and from this talk emerged her seminal text, A Room of One’s Own. Newnham is very proud of its place in the history of women’s education, and we are delighted in the continuation of the Woolf Essay Prize. A Room of One’s Own raises a number of questions surrounding the place of women in society and culture, and the competition allows students to contemplate these themes and ideas while developing the independent research and writing skills essential to university-level study.

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying English Literature, History, Politics, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out more about studying English Literature at University of Cambridge

Meet Shakespeare scholar Dr Bonnie Lander-Johnson

Read essays from previous winners of the Woolf Essay Prize here: 

First Prize: Isobel Brewer

Second Prize: Rose Rowland

Third Prize: Annie Fogden

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Dorina Nentcheva, Mair Andrews, and Ruby Watts.

The Archaeology Essay Prize

Archaeology Information And Questions 2022

As Archaeology is such a broad subject spanning both the arts and humanities and the sciences, this prize may appeal to students studying a range of subjects – from History, English and Sociology to Biology and Chemistry. We welcome entries from students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Archaeology at University of Cambridge

Meet archaeologist Dr Emma Pomeroy

Read essays from previous winners of the Archaeology Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Emily Bradley (Essay available soon)

Second Prize: Victoria Crick

Third Prize: Lana Crocher

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entry, Sophia Catulli.

The Biological Sciences Essay Prize

Biological Sciences Information And Questions 2022

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Biological Sciences at University of Cambridge

Meet biologist and Director of Studies Dr Barbara Blacklaws.

Read essays from previous winners of the Biological Sciences Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Annabelle Sanouillet

Second Prize: Holly Powell

Third Prize: Isabella Scott

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entry, Caitlin McShane.

The Classics Essay Prize

Classics Information And Questions 2022

The Classics Essay Prize is designed to give students the opportunity to think and write about the literature, history, society and culture of the ancient Mediterranean and the societies of the Roman and Greek worlds, while developing their independent study and writing skills.

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying classical subjects, including Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, Latin and Greek; but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Classics at University of Cambridge

Meet Director of Studies Dr Carol Atack

Read essays from previous winners of the Classics Essay Prize here:

First Prize: India Nayak-Sheehy

Second Prize: Katherine Fenton-Smith

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Judith Parkinson and Maddalena Nakash.

The Computer Science Essay Prize

Computer Science Information And Questions 2022

This prize may be of particular interest to those studying Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or Chemistry, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Computer Science at University of Cambridge

Meet computer scientist Luana Bulat

Read essays from previous winners of the Computer Science Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Amelie Coy

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Adela Johnson Conesa, Athena Eng, and Charlotte Cox.

The Engineering Essay Prize

Engineering Information And Questions 2022

Newnham is offering an annual prize for a submission on Engineering, intended to encourage students to think creatively about how some of the scientific knowledge gained at school may be applied in later life, in particular in industry, so as to improve matters (the aim of most engineers). The prize also aims to recognise the achievements of high-calibre students and those who teach them, and also to encourage more girls to study Engineering at University.

Find out about studying Engineering at University of Cambridge

Meet sustainability engineer Dr Claire Barlow

Meet civil engineer Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran

Read essays from previous winners of the Engineering Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Erica Lavender

Second Prize: Chitkara Guneeka

Third Prize: Mikan McDonald

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Celine He, Ella Tingley, Maryum Mansoor, Naomi Robey, Radhika Mahesh, and Sofia Barker.

The History Essay Prize

History Information And Questions 2022

The Newnham History Essay Prize may be of particular interest to those studying History, Politics, English Literature, Philosophy or Sociology, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying History at University of Cambridge

Meet historian of science Dr Emma Perkins

Read essays from previous winners of the History Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Madeleine Gordon-Finlayson

Second Prize: Sasha Cattle

Third Prize: Adrianna Charytoniuk

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Arushi Singhai and Isabel Williamson.

The Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Essay Prize

Mathematics Information And Questions 2022

The Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Essay Prize is named after the former Newnham student who in 1890 was the first woman to obtain the highest mark of all candidates for the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos.

The prize may be of particular interest to those studying Mathematics, Statistics or Further Mathematics but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Maths at University of Cambridge

Meet mathematician Dr Maria Ubiali

Read essays from previous winners of the Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Prize here:

First Prize: Oorvi Dabke

Second Prize: Amie Putland

Third Prize: Emily Richardson

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Peiwen Xia, Jane Hammond, Olivia Marlow.

Congratulations to the author of our commended entries, Bhavika Kumar and Lauren Spooner.

The Medicine Essay Prize

Medicine Information and Questions 2022

The prize may be of particular interest to those studying Biology and Chemistry, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Medicine at the University of Cambridge

Meet Neurobiologist Professor Jenny Morton

Read essays from previous winners of the Medicine Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Shreya Mukkamala

Second Prize: Hannah Xing

Third Prize: Harman Gill

The Music Essay Prize

Music Information And Questions 2022

This prize may be of particular interest to those currently studying Music or History, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying music at University of Cambridge

Meet music historian Dr Delphine Mordey

Find out about music at Newnham

Read essays from previous winners of the Music Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Ella Wilkenson

Second Prize: Cecilia Loughney

Third Prize: Elizabeth Cairns

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Jane Hammond and Olivia Marlow.

The Philosophy Essay Prize

Philosophy Information And Questions 2022

The Newnham Philosophy Essay Prize is designed to give students the opportunity to think and write about philosophy and philosophical matters in the broadest sense, while developing their independent study and writing skills. This prize may be of particular interest to those either currently studying, or considering studying, Philosophy, but we welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects.

Find out about studying Philosophy at University of Cambridge

Meet philosopher Prof Rae Langton

Read essays from previous winners of the Philosophy Essay Prize here:

First Prize: Iona Wood

Joint Second Prize: Claudia Iacob

Joint Second Prize: Lauren Woodham

Congratulations to the author of our highly commended entries, Ayala Gate, Emily Grayston, Geotong Li, and Kalina Poydovska.