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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


R.A. Butler Essay Prize

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 by August.

The Lisa Smirl PhD Prize

The Department offers a prize of £200 for the best PhD completed in the previous academic year. The Prize is named in memory of Lisa Smirl, who gained her PhD in the Department in 2010 but who sadly died of cancer in February 2013. At the end of the academic year, supervisors nominate students who they believe are worthy of the prize. The nominated reports are reviewed by the PhD director and the final decision ratified by the Graduate Education Committee.

The Joffé Award

A prize for the best MPhil dissertation on the international relations and/or politics of the Middle East and North Africa.

 The Aaron Rapport Teaching Prize

The Aaron Rapport Teaching Prize is given each year to the member of the POLIS academic community who is specially commended by our students for their teaching.



Undergraduate Prizes


The Geoffrey Hawthorn Prize

The Geoffrey Hawthorn Prize is awarded to the student with the highest average on papers POL1 and POL2; a candidate must be taking both papers to be eligible. The prize is named after Emeritus Professor and former Head of Department Geoffrey Hawthorn, who sadly passed away in December 2015.


The John Dunn Prize

The John Dunn Prize is awarded for the best dissertation by a final year student and is named after Emeritus Professor John Dunn. 


The Schmidt Prize

The Schmidt Prize is awarded for the best long essay submitted by a second year student.