Newnham Essay Prizes

Entrants for all prizes should now have received an email with the outcome of their entry. If you have not yet received an email, please let us know at slo@newn.cam.ac.uk. Questions for the 2022 Essay Prizes will be released in December.

All female students currently in Year 12 at a UK school may enter the prizes, which are offered in Archaeology, Biological Sciences, Classics, Computer Science, Engineering, History, Mathematics, Medicine, Modern and Medieval Languages, MusicPhilosophy and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, as well as our annual ‘Woolf Essay Prize’ with questions inspired by Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

Each of the Newnham Essay Prizes have a first prize of £400, a second prize of £200 and a third prize of £100.

We welcome entries from interested students studying any combination of subjects. Each competition has a slightly different word limit, so please consult the Information and Questions sheet for each of the prizes. All essays must reference sources (including websites consulted) and provide a bibliography.

Students may only submit an essay for one subject. Each school may only submit 5 entries per subject.

Not sure where to start? 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.

If you have any questions, please email slo@newn.cam.ac.uk.

The Woolf Essay Prize

Woolf Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University

Meet Shakespeare scholar Dr Bonnie Lander-Johnson

Winners of the Woolf Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Connie Higgins

Second Prize: Freya MacLeod

Third Prize: Malia Rock-Joffe

Highly Commended: Tabitha Aves, Priya Abularach, Hattie Benton, Sophia Bursey, Madeline Giles, Allie Gruber, Isabella McLeod, Priya Toberman, Melinda Zhu

Commended: Clementine Aagaard, Shu Nga Keziah Cho, Elise Kalli, Esther Knowles, Josie Leach, Eliza Ousey, Isobel Powner, Hilary Tang, Kirsty Went

 

The Archaeology Essay Prize

Archaeology Information And Questions 2021

The Archaeology Essay Prize is new for 2021. 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 Cambridge University.

Meet archaeologist Dr Emma Pomeroy

Winners of the Archaeology Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Hillary Small

Second Prize: Charlotte Rowlands

Third Prize: Roxanna Fahid

Commended: Alice Hazell, Nicole Lee

 

The Biological Sciences Essay Prize

Biological Sciences Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University.

Meet biologist and Director of Studies Dr Barbara Blacklaws.

Winners of the Biological Sciences Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Niamh Tooher

Second Prize: Brintha Yasodaran

Third Prize: Silvia McCarthy

Commended: Heba Al-Sattar, Nicole Baxter, Amelia Hepworth, Rachel Horobin, Preesha Jain, Jessica Kitchen, Anujah Ramanan

 

The Classics Essay Prize

Classics Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University.

Meet Newnham classicist Prof Mary Beard

Meet Director of Studies Dr Carol Atack

Winners of the Classics Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Adhithy Hari Baskar

Second Prize: Megan Houston

Third Prize: Georgia Baker

Highly Commended: Kara Chapman, Julie Perrier

Commended: Sirui Cheng, Hannah Simpson, Anna Tobin

 

The Computer Science Essay Prize

Computer Science Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University.

Meet computer scientist Luana Bulat

Winners of the Computer Science Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Ruby Watsham

Second Prize: Saori Henwood

Third Prize: Rujul Godghate

Highly Commended: Sophie Cole, Molly Maclean, Lorelai Silver, Gracie Zhou

Commended: Ekaterina Hunter

 

The Engineering Essay Prize

Engineering Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University

Meet sustainability engineer Dr Claire Barlow

Meet civil engineer Dr Sakthy Selvakumaran

First Prize: Orla McLelland

Second Prize: Suraya Williams

Third Prize: Katie Anderson

Highly Commended: Sumaiya Goga, Elizabeth McDonald, Sophie Roberts, Megan Turtle, Vicki Wu, Arabella Zeier

Commended: Rolake Babalola, Mia Burdorf, Molly Lacey, Eleanor Roberts

 

The History Essay Prize

History Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University

Meet historian of science Dr Emma Perkins

Winners of the History Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Catherine Booth

Second Prize: Imogen Hamp

Third Prize: Andrea Thodarson

Commended: Chloe Wallace, Sara Zamet

 

The Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Essay Prize

Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University

Meet mathematician Dr Maria Ubiali

Winners of the Philippa Fawcett Mathematics Prize 2021

First Prize: Romy Franchi

Second Prize: Eleanor MacGillivray

Third Prize: Lilly Hong

Highly Commended: Drishti Angra, Rosanna Chen, Aleksandra Grabinska, Caroline Morton, Payal Patel

Commended: Glafira Denissenko, Grace Newton, Olivia Taggart

 

The Medicine Essay Prize

Medicine Information and Questions 2021

The Medicine Prize is new for 2021. This 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 Cambridge University.

First Prize: Kathryn Chia

Second Prize: Theebiga Sivasatkunanathan

Third Prize: Amelia Kloss

Highly Commended: Josephine Hatton, Grace Humphreys, Purvanshi Patel, Ayesha Rehman, Renuka Raykar

 

The Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize

Modern And Medieval Languages Information And Questions 2021

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

Find out about studying Languages at Cambridge University

Meet Director of Studies Dr Jenny Mander

Winners of the Modern and Medieval Languages Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Imogen Whalley

Second Prize: Elizabeth Lotery

Third Prize: Isobel Gardner

Highly Commended: Charlotte Smith, Shruti Thatikonda

 

The Music Essay Prize

Music Information And Questions 2021

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 Cambridge University

Meet music historian Dr Delphine Mordey

Find out about music at Newnham

Winners of the Music Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Lily Fowke-Green

Second Prize: Isabella Myers

Third Prize: Juliet Gray

Highly Commended: Jamilya Bertram, Molly Flaherty, Tian Yu Ding, Elan Fryar

 

The Philosophy Essay Prize

Philosophy Information & Questions 2021

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 Newnham

Meet philosopher Prof Rae Langton

Winner of the Philosophy Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Shalva Louisa Hadari

Second Prize: Antonia Chao

Third Prize: Amia Guha

Highly Commended: Naomi Fester, Olivia McConnell


The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Essay Prize

Psychological And Behavioural Sciences Information And Questions 2021

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

Find out about studying psychology at Cambridge University

Meet psychologist Prof Claire Hughes 

Winners of the Psychological & Behavioural Sciences Essay Prize 2021

First Prize: Iona Blair

Second Prize: Similoluwa Adewale

Third Prize: Isabel Bainbridge

Commended: Zeenat Javaid, Phoenix Mombru