History and Politics

Welcome from the Head of Division

History and Politics at Stirling is at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research at the School and the University. Since the University’s foundation, it has produced internationally excellent and world-leading research. Scholars in both parts of the division not only work alongside each other, but they share a number of common thematic interests that mark out our Division from others in the country. Our particular strengths are environmental history and heritage throughout all periods, contemporary history and politics, and the study of conflict and co-operation in past and present as well as Scottish history. Our highly successful Masters programmes in International Conflict and Co-Operation, Environment, Heritage and Policy (which enjoys support from the Scottish Funding Council), and Atlantic Studies, as well as our strategic partnership with the London Academy of Diplomacy reflect this research agenda. We are producing research with impact: academics at the Division regularly appear in the media, work as advisers to government agencies in Scotland, the UK and abroad, and work together with the public and private sector to make our research relevant for civil society. Our research directly informs our teaching. Our students have rewarded our undergraduate teaching with excellent ratings in the National Student Surveys.

Professor Holger Nehring

REF 2014 logo

In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework History held its overall ranking in Scotland while rising in the UK league table, with 98% of our research being assessed as of international or world leading significance. All of our research impact was classified as being of international or world leading significance (top 31 in the UK), as was 90% of our research environment (top 21 in the UK). The REF 2014 panel also stated that our work in PGR supervision in combination with the nurturing and career development of PGR students was outstanding.

An Australian infantryman gives a drink to a wounded Turkish soldier, Gallipoli 1915. ©Imperial War Museum (catalogue number Q13285)‌‌



The University of Stirling calls students in all secondary schools (S1-S3) to participate in a creative writing competition to commemorate war experiences in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

Stirling 100 Opening

As part of the Division's long-running research on the memory of the First World War in Scotland, Dr Michael Penman and Dr Jim Smyth have designed an exhibition "Stirling 100".  A programme of Talks for A Stirling 100 Exhibition, is being held at the Smith Gallery & Museum throughout Autumn 2015.

  Friday 11 September, 2 p.m.:  Jim Smyth

 ‘Searching for “the fallen”:  Private Thomas Abercrombie’s war’

 Thursday 1 October, 2 p.m.:  Michael Penman

        ‘Commemorating Bannockburn between two world wars, 1814-1914’

 Friday 23 October, 11 a.m.:  Rory Watson

         ‘War and Poetry’

 Friday 6 November 2 p.m.:  Jim Smyth

 ‘Music, Memory, Emotion:  Unveiling the memorials to the fallen of the Great War in Scotland’


Working collaboratively and across disciplines, we offer a broad range of subjects to undergraduates and postgraduates on one of the UK’s most beautiful campuses.  

The Division is located in the listed Pathfoot Building on the main University campus. Pathfoot is a fine example of 1960s modernist architecture and houses the Pathfoot Gallery, the University’s extensive art collection and visiting exhibitions. 

Dynamic research culture 

Our research culture cuts across the disciplinary units of Politics and History and highlights interdisciplinary work. We also foster strong links with the School of Applied Social Sciences and the Biological and Environmental Sciences. We run regular research seminars that emphasise the interdisciplinary nature of the work we do. But we also discuss our research in smaller clusters on a regular basis. We are especially known for our research on the history and politics of conflict and co-operation, public policy and environmental history and heritage, and we are home to the Centre for Environmental History, Heritage and Policy [http://www.stir.ac.uk/cehp/]

Thought-provoking and supportive teaching 

Our award-winning, research-led teaching includes undergraduate, taught postgraduate, and research degrees in History, Politics, International Politics, and our degrees with the School of Education. We are committed to specialized, small group teaching, with a focus on one-to-one supervision, as well as to developing your skills to think broadly and work innovatively as a team. Many of our staff have been winners of RATE awards, Stirling’s student-nominated teaching prizes. Many of our staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.

Research with Impact

Our research is well known beyond academia for the impact it has made on policy making in Scotland and beyond as well as for its links to local communities, such as our collaboration with the Ochills Landscape/ Inner Forth Landscape Partnerships and our Heritage undergraduate degree that we deliver together with Forth Valley College.

International links and diversity

We are the home to staff from a diverse number of countries. We offer teaching exchanges with a number of world-renowned universities in Europe and around the world. Our staff regularly participate in international teaching exchanges, and we have hosted researchers from a number of world-leading universities. We participate in international research networks and conferences. This means that we are at the cutting edge of our disciplinary knowledge as well as of developments in the fields of teaching and learning.


History and Politics graduates have consistently experienced success in obtaining satisfying employment.  According to Unistats 2014, 85% of our graduates have been in work or further study within six months of completing their degree.  Recent graduates have secured posts with the Halifax, Mercedes Benz, the Prudential and Scottish Power.  Other employers include the National Portrait Gallery, the Office of National Statistics and the Borders General Hospital.  One of our graduates from an earlier date is John Reid, Baron Reid of Cardowan, who held as many as eight cabinet offices.

We take pains to encourage students to acquire the skills of analysing and solving complex problems.  In the final year they undertake an original research project which nurtures the self-managemernt and organisational qualities that employers value.  Students also gain the ability to argue a persuasive case, whether in print or in oral discussion.  Such critical thinking combined with the ability to communicate stands them in good stead when applying for jobs.  Each year we send a number of students on the study abroad programme which takes them to the United States, Europe or Australia.  The Division provides opportunities for undergraduates to spend time working in the university archives or else in the Scottish Political Archives, housed within the Division, which contain the papers of such figures as Lord McConnell, a former First Minister of Scotland and another Stirling graduate.

The Head of Division, who has overall responsibility for its affairs, is Holger Nehring.

The main office is located in the Pathfoot Building Room A63 and is open Monday-Friday 08.00-16.00. 

The Divisional support staff are:

Melissa Morton, School Administrator (melissa.morton@stir.ac.uk)

Kalene Craig, Administrative Assistant (kalene.craig@stir.ac.uk)

Kitty Tollan, Administrative Assistant (catherine.tollan@stir.ac.uk)

Vi‌sit our Facebook and Twitter pages for Information , News and Events [link to https://www.facebook.com/unistirlinghistoryandpolitics and https://twitter.com/ustirhistpol

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon

Forgotten login?