Promotional poster for the YS competition

Young Sociologist of the Year

The Young Sociologist of the Year award is an essay-based competition hosted by the UCD School of Sociology and the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI). We are delighted to see that so many Leaving Cert students have chosen the Politics and Society option and so many Northern Irish students are pursuing A Level Sociology. We want to encourage and reward students who are learning to think about how the society we live in is structured and organised.

Competition Prizes

We are offering the following prizes for the top student entries:

  • 1st place - €500 gift voucher
  • 2nd place - €100 gift voucher
  • 3rd place (x3) - €50 gift voucher

The teachers of the winning students will be awarded:

  • 1st place - €100 gift voucher
  • 2nd place - €50 gift voucher
  • 3rd place (x3) - €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

  • 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

  • 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 26th Feb 2021
  • 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

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.

Contact Details

Contact: Daniel O'Sullivan


Phone: (01) 716 8532

How to Submit the Essays: 

Complete application form

The application form must be completed and submitted with the essays to

Young Sociologist of the Year 2019 - The Winners

Winner: 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?


Whether you are with us for one module, for a year or all the way to the degree we hope you find sociology enlightening. The School of Sociology is full of people who are passionately interested in topics from across the wide expanse that sociology spans. This is reflected in the range of module options taught in the School of Sociology covering topics such as gender, work, anthropology, the developing world, the state, health and illness, American society, childhood, the environment, education, cities, migration, etc.

Although you will find lots of other students with you in your sociology lectures, the School of Sociology is committed to small-group teaching. This is done by providing seminars to accompany the optional modules. The optional module seminars are taught almost exclusively by the lecturers themselves, thus giving you more face-to-face contact with your lecturers. 

Students can study Sociology in the following programmes: