About Us

The Undergraduate Awards celebrate original and creative thinking among students, and the need for such critical thinking has never been greater.
– Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland


The Undergraduate Awards

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards programme which
recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.

Our values are innovation, collaboration, ambition, impartiality, inclusiveness and efficiency.

We are a non-profit organisation and have been under the patronage of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, since 2012. 

Our History

UA was founded in 2008 in Dublin, Ireland, where we are based to this day.

The initiative was originally named the ‘Irish Undergraduate Awards’ and was open to students from Ireland’s seven universities. The inspiration for UA came from the realisation that “millions and millions of pages of pages filled with the ideas of our young people” were left to sit “on a shelf gathering dust” each year.

In 2012, UA expanded to accept submissions from every Third Level Institution on the Island of Ireland as well as the top twenty universities in Britain, USA and Canada. UA currently accepts submissions from students in any Institution of Higher Education in the world.

In 2016, the UA Programme was split into seven regions. Under this system, the highest performing Highly Commended Entrant from each region will be named a Regional Winner of their category.

The Process

Every year, UA coordinates an awards programme for penultimate and final year undergraduate students, as well as students who have graduated within the programme year. Entrants can submit their work to one of our 25 categories, which represent a broad range of academic disciplines. 

This work is then anonymously assessed by a panel of international academics and industry leaders.

The best 10% of work is shortlisted as Highly Commended, and the top submission in each category is deemed the Global Winner.

One thing that struck me about the essays was the breadth of knowledge and the discipline of structure…I don’t like to use the word brilliant, but they truly were brilliant. Once we were down to the last ten we were wondering how we could separate perfection from perfection

– Dr. David Irwin, Judging Panel Chair of Anthropology & Cultural Studies 2016

Benefits of Submitting 

  • Gain experience preparing your coursework for academic peer review.
  • Earn international recognition for your work.
  • Connect with past Winners and Highly Commended Entrants through the UA Alumni Portal.
  • Have your work published on The Undergraduate Library or in showcased in The Undergraduate Journal.
  • Be invited to attend the annual UA Global Summit in Dublin, Ireland.

The Undergraduate Awards is a labour of love and we are very proud of what we do. 

If you have any comments, questions or ideas, please get in touch!

Contact Us!

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