Young Sociologist of the Year

Date 16/02/2022
Place N/A
Price Free


We are delighted to launch the Young Sociologist of the Year Prizes for 2021-2, run by the SAI and the School of Sociology in UCD . The competition is open to all second-level students studying Politics and Society or A-Level Sociology. The initiative is a part of our efforts to support the teachers and students taking the Politics and Society option and the many Northern Irish students who are pursuing A Level Sociology. Our goal is to encourage and reward students who are learning to think about how the society we live in is structured and organised.

Due to the high quality of entrants last year, we have decided to create a larger number of prizes, so that the work of more students and teachers can be recognised. We are asking members to spread the word as widely as possible as we would love a broad and diverse range of entrants.

Many thanks go to Daniel O’Sullivan from the School of Sociology in UCD, everyone in sociology in UCD who have facilitated this, and Lisa Moran, the Second-Level Sociology Officer of the SAI.

More information on how to enter can be found at:

Competition Prizes

We are offering the following prizes for the top student entries:
1st place – €300 gift voucher
2nd place – €100 gift voucher
3rd place (x6) – €50 gift voucher

The teachers of the winning students will be awarded:
1st place – €100 gift voucher
2nd place – €50 gift voucher
3rd place (x6) – €50 gift voucher

If you are interested in societal structures, themes such as gender, class, migration, or development, or even if you would just like to have their essay read and assessed by a sociology academic, then this competition is for you!

Application Guidelines and Assessment Criteria


Application Guidelines and Assessment Criteria
Students who wish to participate must submit the essay to their teacher
This essay can be a piece of work that has already been completed as part of your coursework for the Politics and Society programme or A Level Sociology curriculum.
The essay could also be a piece of work that will be relevant to the Leaving Cert citizenship project focusing on one of the following topics:

Strand 1: Power and decision-making
▪ Topic 1 Power and decision-making in school
▪ Topic 2 Power and decision-making at national and European level

Strand 2: Active citizenship
▪ Topic 3 Effectively contributing to communities
▪ Topic 4 Rights and responsibilities in communication with others

Strand 3: Human rights and responsibilities
▪ Topic 5 Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland
▪ Topic 6 Human rights and responsibilities in Europe and the wider world

Strand 4: Globalisation and localisation
▪ Topic 7 Globalisation and identity
▪ Topic 8 Sustainable development

This competition is an opportunity for students to address themes relevant within our Society today. The essay will be assessed by a panel of academics from the UCD School of Sociology and representatives from the SAI. The essay that presents the most insightful analysis of a sociologically relevant theme will win.

Important Information

  • Word count 800-1,000 words
  • The teacher will select the “top 3” essays from the class and submit to UCD Sociology and the SAI for assessment
  • Up to a maximum of 3 essay submissions per class is permitted
  • The competition is open to both 5th and 6th year students
  • Essays must be submitted to UCD Sociology by Friday 18th Feb 2022
  • The winners of the competition will be announced by the end of March
  • The names and essay titles of the winner and runner-up will be displayed on the School of Sociology website
  • Feedback will only be provided on winning essay entries
  • Essays can be hand written or typed

To Submit the Essays: Complete application form. The application form must be completed and submitted with the essays to

Young Sociologist
of the Year 2020/21 Winners

1st place: Martha Roe, 5th Year, Temple Carrig School, Greystones, Co Wocklow
Essay: Inequality in Irish society is perpetuated by inequality in the education system
Teacher: John McGuinness

2nd place: Kate Fennell, 5th Year, Temple Carrig School, Greystones, Co Wocklow
Essay: Modern Irish society is a patriarchy
Teacher: John McGuinness

Joint 3rd place: Chonaill Devlin, 6th Year, Meánscoil Gharman, Co Wexford
Essay: How the ideas of Paulo Friere could ameliorate inequality in our education system.
Muinteoir: David Gannon

Joint 3rd place: Grace Keane, 6th Year, Pobalscoil na Trionoide, Youghal, Co. Cork
Essay: Globalisation processes of trade, travel and ICT are breaking down national culture and identities and creating a cosmopolitanism identity
Teacher: Garrett McSweeney

Joint 3rd place: Viktorija Petunova, Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry, Co Down
Essay: What factors external to the education system lead to differences in class and educational attainment?
Teacher: Emma Westcott

Honourabe mentions go to:
Jack Phelan, 5th Year, C.B.S. High School Clonmel, Co Tipperary
Essay: Ireland’s system of accommodating those seeking international protection while in the asylum process is a flawed system
Teacher: Tom Ryan

Poppy Harley, 6th Year, Drogheda Grammar School, Co Louth
Essay: Underdevelopment is caused by people in countries not having the knowledge, technology and industry of people in developed countries
Teacher: Elaine Farrelly

2019 Winners

Caitlin Parnell, 5th year, Santa Sabina, Howth, Dublin.
Karl Marx: Why his ideas are still relevant today.

Runner Up: Matthew Murnane, 6th year, Oatlands College, Mount Merrion, Dublin.
Is the “Invisible Woman” still a phenomenon in Irish Society Today?