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Medical Prize Essays

Undergraduate Essay Prize

The SSHM Undergraduate Prize Competition awarded prizes for the best unpublished original research essays in the social history of medicine, from two groups of undergraduate students: humanities and social science students; and medical, healthcare and allied science students. Previous winners have written blogs based on their essays, which can be found HERE.

This prize is not currently running, but undergraduates can enter the Roy Porter Student Essay Prize competition.


Roy Porter Student Essay Prize

Congratulations to Spencer Weinreich (University of Oxford), for his winning essay for the Roy Porter Prize 2016: ‘How (not) to survive a plague: The theology of fleeing disease in sixteenth-century England’. The judges felt that this was ‘an extremely polished, well-argued and well-written piece of work’, which ‘addressed an established body of historiography but developed it in new and interesting ways’, was ‘a pleasure to read’ and ‘an original offering in the well-trodden field of plague scholarship’.

Thanks to the other entrants also for the high standard of essays received. Due to the quality of their submissions, two other essays were also ‘highly commended’:

  • Elizabeth Schlappa (University of Durham): ‘A less than solitary vice: the social dimensions of the anti-onanism movement in the eighteenth century’.
  • Yewande Okuleye (University of Leicester): ‘(Re) Framing Marijuana as an Entheogen: Oral History and Rastafari Subjectivities’

We hope to see the entrants’ essays published in SHM in due course.

The Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM) now invites submissions to its 2017 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition. This prize will be awarded to the best original, unpublished essay in the social history of medicine submitted to the competition as judged by the SSHM’s assessment panel. It is named in honour of the late Professor Roy Porter, a great teacher and a generous scholar.

The competition is open to undergraduate and post-graduate students in full or part-time education. The winner will be awarded £500.00, and his or her entry may also be published in the journal, Social History of Medicine. Please click here for a list of the published articles that were past competition winners.

You can read Social History of Medicine articles by past winners of the Roy Porter essay prize FREE online:

Please see here for contest regulations and submission form.

The deadline for entries is 1 February 2018.

Any questions about the competition should be directed to our Prizes & Bursaries Officer:
Dr Anna Greenwood
Department of History
University of Nottingham


Submissions are now open for the 2016 Prize

The William Bynum Prize will be awarded to the author of an original essay on any theme relating to the history of medicine and its related sciences. This international competition is open to doctoral students and early post-doctoral researchers (candidates who have completed their PhDs no longer than three years before submission of the entry). The Prize’s awarding committee will be chaired by Professor Bynum himself, supported by the editor and members of the editorial advisory board of the journal Medical History. The Prize is generously supported by Cambridge University Press, the publishers of Medical History. The Prize is co-ordinated by Medical History’s editorial office, which is in the Centre for Global Health Histories, Department of History, University of York.

Of the Prize, Professor Bhattacharya said that ‘Cambridge University Press’s support for the William Bynum Prize is testament to its commitment to supporting young scholars of the history of medicine, a cause that has always been dear to Bill’s heart’.

All enquiries regarding the competition should be directed to the editor of Medical History, Professor Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Director of the Centre for Global Health Histories. Please note that the specifications for submissions are the same as for a general article submitted to Medical History (please see the ‘Instructions for Contributors’ on Medical History’s website).

All submissions should be sent to the journal editor by the 1 January 2017. Details of the winning essay and its author will be announced in mid 2017. The William Bynum Prize will take the shape of a £250 cash award and £250 in Cambridge University Press vouchers. The winning entry will be published in Medical History if it succeeds in undergoing the journal’s usual reviewing processes.