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Please note that the Cottrell Essay Prize will not be taking place in 2023. Instead, we will be merging the prize with our existing Academic Enrichment Programme. To keep updated on other opportunities for prospective Medicine and Veterinary Medicine applicants from Lucy Cavendish College and the University of Cambridge, please sign-up for our prospective applicant newsletter.


The Prize

As a College, we aim to tackle the pressing issues of the twenty-first century, and we have designed this year’s questions to get to the heart of the most important issues affecting Medicine and Veterinary Medicine during this extraordinary time.

Students in Year 12 (S5 - Scotland, Y13 - N.I.) attending a UK state school are invited to choose one question from either Medicine and Veterinary and submit an essay of between 1,000-1,500 words by the 6th June 2022.

We will award one £100 first prize and two £50 second place prizes in both Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Both Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will also have an unlimited number of highly commended prizes available.



Select only one question and answer from either a medical perspective or a veterinary perspective, or a perspective that considers both:

  1. Assess how successfully the government has mitigated the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the profession and the sector.
  2. There is a strong ecological case for becoming a vegan. Consider the implications if everyone did.
  3. ‘Diet plays a far greater role in determining health than we like to admit. Practitioners should be far more honest about this, and far less concerned about causing offence.’ Discuss. If discussing from a veterinary perspective, consider within your answer the recent increase in popularity of raw meat-based diets (RMBDs).
  4. Should people who refuse vaccination for themselves/their pets be denied treatment for any associated illnesses they develop?
  5. ‘The fact that we can prolong life does not mean that we always should.’  Discuss.
  6. Microbial resistance to antibiotics is an increasing cause of morbidity and mortality. How should we reduce our dependence upon antibiotics?


How to Enter

Read our guidance document for full details on the Cottrell Essay Prize 2022

All completed entries must be received no later than 9am on Monday 6th June 2022. Your entry must be verified by your teacher by 9am on Monday 13th June 2022

Once you are ready to submit your entry, you can do so using the link below. Please ensure you have fully read and understood our guidance document before writing and submitting your essay.

Submit your essay


Support Sessions

This year, we are running a programme of support sessions to provide guidance to students entering the Cottrell Essay Prize. These sessions will offer you the opportunity to develop your essay-writing skills and gain an insight into university-level study. The live sessions have now taken place, but recordings and slides for each session can be found in the dropdown boxes below.

Date: Monday 9th May, 4pm-5pm

In this session, the Lucy Cavendish College Librarian provides advice on how to research and explore available materials in preparation for your essay, and offers an introduction to referencing.


Date: Monday 16th May, 5pm-6pm

In this session, our Outreach Officer will discuss how to think analytically about your chosen essay question and the resources you have engaged with. The session will also provide advice on how to evaluate material and make compelling arguments. 


Date: Monday 23rd May, 5pm-6pm

In this session, our Outreach Officer will discuss how to thread together your research and critical thinking into an engaging essay. 



Contact Us

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our Outreach & Admissions Team at


Exploring your subject

Interested in finding resources to explore Medicine or Veterinary Medicine?