Humanities (MRes)

MRes, Postgraduate Certificate


The MRes in Humanities is a research preparation Master's programme that offers students the opportunity for Master's study within Arts and Humanities, structured according to personal research interests that are either wholly of one's own design or structured through one of three specified pathways:

  • Hermeneutics
  • Religion and Politics
  • Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America.

It also offers the opportunity to prepare for a PhD through concentrated research in an interdisciplinary environment.

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students who have applied or who have been made an offer to study at the University of Stirling in 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) are unaffected by the outcome of the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016.

Those who are considering applying to the University for 2017 entry are encouraged to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed as relevant details emerge.

  • Degree type: MRes, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Duration: Full-time, MRes: 12 months, PG Certificate: 9 months Part-time, MRes: 24 months, PG Certificate: 21 months
  • Start date:


  • Course Director: Professor Peter Milne
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Professor Peter Milne

Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Division of Law and Philosophy
University of Stirling

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  1. You will be taught by experienced staff who are leading experts in their fields.
  2. Flexibility in the programme enhances your own independent research in your own areas of interest across disciplines.
  3. All contributing staff are engaged in on-going research at the forefront of their disciplines, and are the authors of numerous books, articles and studies on a wide range of relevant subjects.
  4. You will be part of a thriving academic community that includes a rich research culture and seminar programmes of visiting academics and industry speakers.
  5. You will develop skills that become immensely transferable in a market awaiting competent and innovative thinkers and leaders.

Course objectives

The MRes offers you the opportunity to pursue a personalised, tailor-made programme of Master’s study in a structured, interdisciplinary, and research-driven environment. Even within the specified pathways, much latitude is provided for your own individual pursuits in each of the areas. The programme is designed to enable you to become a well-trained researcher in a Humanities subject area, showing strong capacity for self-directed work and initiative.

Should you wish to do a PhD, the programme enables you to demonstrate fitness in undertaking doctoral research. But it also qualifies you with specialised expertise at the postgraduate level for a professional career within a wide range of employment areas.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs

2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £4,500


2017/18 Overseas £13,050
2017/18 Home/EU £TBC

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for all taught postgraduate courses are to be held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge for the conferral of your degree. This will be charged at the rate applicable when you complete your studies. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

information on possible sources of funding

The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Master's course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The MRes in Humanities offers two tracks: a bespoke research track, in which students develop, in conjunction with their supervisor(s), their own research agenda from beginning to end; and a specified pathway with a taught element in Semester 1 (in either Hermeneutics, Religion and Politics, or Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America), which then leads to personalising the respective areas of interest in the remainder of the course. 

The programme follows two semesters - which run from mid-September to late December and from January to the end of May - and a summer period for dissertation writing.

The first track of personalised research is composed of the following elements:

  • Research Preparation: A tailor-made programme of study in Semester 1 taught by at least five individual supervisions, on a subject of your choice agreed with the subject areas concerned. This may involve interdisciplinary supervision across subject areas where appropriate. The module allows students to begin work on a topic of particular significance to them personally, one that is cognate to but not identical with their subsequent dissertation. It is assessed by a written assignment of 5,000-6,000 words.
  • Dissertation Preparation: Taken in Semester 2, this module consists in developing the theme and outline for the dissertation itself, which may include a detailed outline of the proposed argument, a literature review or an extended relevant book review, a description or proposal for the application of a methodological framework, or some combination thereof, depending upon the exact nature or the research in question. It will be supervised by the same member of staff whose expertise correlates with the research interest in Module 3. The module will feature a structure of five supervisions and one written assessment. The written assessment will be tailored to the student’s proposed dissertation focus in consultation with the supervisor(s).
  • Research Skills: Our innovative Arts Graduate Training for graduates, which stretches over both semesters, enables students to build up a portfolio of skills that prepare them for academic and professional life. The portfolio is adaptable to individual experience and requirements, and as such covers basic skills (e.g. presentation, bibliography, specific research methods, library research), employability skills (e.g. teaching experience, marking student work, career development event, broaden language knowledge), breadth of knowledge (e.g. conference attention, reading participation group, prepare essay of presentation on a topic beyond own research). You will work with your supervisor(s) to select tasks from a menu of activities relevant to your future ambitions and their necessary qualifications.
  • Dissertation:  Subject to successful completion of all elements of the assessment in both Semesters 1 and 2, you will embark on an in-depth dissertation exploring the research topic of your choice, as agreed by and with your supervisor(s), thus building upon the tailor-made tuition or specified pathway. Where feasible, you will be encouraged to present your theme at an appropriate forum such as a Postgraduate conference.

The second track of a specified pathway is the same as the first track above, except that it replaces the Semester 1 Research Preparation module with the following:

  • Specified Pathway: A subject-specific module of study in Semester 1, in a weekly, two-hour seminar format, on one of three possible areas: Hermeneutics, Religion and Politics, or Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America. The module allows students to begin work on a topic with particular focus that can then be personalised in the subsequent semester’s module and in the dissertation. It is assessed by one written essay of 5-6,000 words.

The content and concerns for each of the pathways are as follows:

  • Hermeneutics: This pathway deals with key primary texts in the hermeneutical tradition, beginning with the ancient Greeks, and ending with contemporary theory and a play directly to do with questions of interpretation. Principal emphasis, however, will be on modern and late modern theorists. The seminars will cover texts related to history, philosophy, theology and religion, literary criticism, feminism, postcolonialism and theatre. It will be interdisciplinary in scope, therefore, but will be grounded in matters that pertain directly to interpretation and how it is to be understood and theorised. All texts are primary sources, so as to encourage students to interpret and analyse directly from original material, and to address the challenges that reading such demanding texts requires. This is a unique set of seminars covering a vital area rarely taught, if at all, anywhere else.
  • Religion and Politics: This pathway is formulated on the critical assumption that discourses on religion and politics are not timeless, neutral or disinterested, but have emerged in a specific, colonial-oriented context and are therefore intimately related to the power formations of capitalism, becoming integral to contemporary understandings of modernity. By engaging with particular aspects of colonial and postcolonial history and theory in different regions of the world, the seminars seek to enable a critique of these discourses, which will in turn enable a better understanding of the global dynamics of conflict in the contemporary world, including manifestations of neo-colonial power. Engaging in this pathway will allow students to explore in a concentrated form newer approaches to questions of both religion and politics than encountered in the past.
  • Cultural Representations of Spain and Latin America: This pathway offers you the opportunity to study in a comparative and methodologically interdisciplinary framework how Spanish and Latin American cultures are represented through different periods, expressive forms and media. It comprises selected aspects of Spanish and Latin American Studies as embedded in the theoretical debate of cultural representation. The seminars will deepen your understanding of methodological approaches to the fields by focussing upon history, language, literature and visual cultural practices. A long shared past, converging traditions and a common language connect Spain and Spanish-speaking America, but through the broad spectrum of these manifestations it also becomes apparent that there are considerable, perceived differences and cultural diversities between Spanish and Latin American cultures. In this pathway you will study these complex interrelations as they characterise and combine different forms of cultural representation.

Delivery and assessment

You will attend individual supervisory sessions and/or weekly seminars (specified pathway). The research skills training will provide opportunities for various different learning environments, including Divisional and Faculty seminars, Graduate School workshops, off-campus visits, etc. In addition, students are entitled to take existing advanced level (level 10 or 11) tuition in the subject areas concerned and/or to undertake language tuition at all levels in French and Spanish, or in earlier varieties of English (Old and Middle English), if appropriate. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations, depending in your particular research interest), and a research skills portfolio that includes personal reflection. At the end of the second semester, if and where possible, we encourage you to give a presentation of your intended dissertation to an appropriate forum such as a conference or workshop.


Academic Year 2015/16

Full time


ARTPP01 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)

One of:
  • 1 HUMPP12 Research Preparation (20),
  • 2 HUMPP15 Hermeneutics (20),
  • 3 HUMPP16 Religion and Politics (20),
  • 4 HUMPP17 Cultural Representations of Spain and Latin America (20)

ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)

HUMPP14 Dissertation Preparation (20)

Spring – Summer

HUMPP13 Dissertation (100)

Part time


One of:

  • 1 HUMPP12 Research Preparation (20),
  • 2 HUMPP15 Hermeneutics (20),
  • 3 HUMPP16 Religion and Politics (20),
  • 4 HUMPP17 Cultural Representations of Spain and Latin America (20)
Spring HUMPP14 Dissertation preparation (20)
Autumn ARTPP01 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)
Spring ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (20)
Summer HUMPP13 Dissertation (100)

1 Required for the MRes in Humanities
2 Required for the MRes in Humanities (Hermeneutics)
3 Required for the MRes in Humanities (Religion and Politics)
4 Required for the MRes in Humanities (Hispanic Cultural Representations)

Recommended reading

Your supervisors will be ready and willing to advise on readings, which will vary according to each pathway and topic chosen. The student is also expected to explore and discover for her or himself the relevant texts and resources for their topic.

Modes of study

Our teaching follows two semesters, which run from mid-September to mid-December, and from January to the end of May, with the dissertation work beginning in the Spring semester and intensifying over the Summer months. Much of your work will be self-directed research, with scheduled supervisory meetings to help guide you, though if you should choose a specified pathway, you will also have a weekly two-hour seminar in the first semester. As the programme is so individual, each student will have a different array of learning opportunities that complement the personal research and specialised pathway, which may include the auditing of other level 10 and 11 courses on offer at Stirling.

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

Because of the highly personalised nature of the MRes programme, semester timetables will vary considerably from student to student. But in an average month, you can expect to undertake much self-directed research, meet with your supervisor(s) several times, attend a couple seminars and a workshop or two, engage with other postgraduates formally and informally, and perhaps, depending on the activities you undertake as part of our Graduate Training Skills modules, attend audited lectures or seminars. In the summer months, you will have regular meetings with your dissertation supervisor.

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


You will have access to staff members at Stirling who are world renowned for the specialisms and interdisciplinary approach. For individual subject area staff and expertise, please see the respective sites on the Arts & Humanities website.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .


In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, around half of the research submitted from the subject areas that now make up the Faculty of Arts and Humanities was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent in quality, with over 10% of that research placed in the highest (world-leading) category. 85% of the assessed research from the Arts and Humanities was judged to be recognised internationally.

Our staff

Programme Director, Professor Peter Milne

Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Richard Haynes

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Skills you can develop through this programme

If an academic career in teaching and research seems like an alluring prospect, this degree will help you to gain the skills for future research work at the doctoral level and give you necessary training in and insight into the research environment of Higher Education. But even if academia is not your professional goal, this MRes or Postgraduate Certificate, with its strong interdisciplinary emphasis, opens up a wide range of fascinating and exciting career possibilities. The skills you will develop here – including close critical analysis of texts and ideas, synthetic thinking that allows you to transfer a set of concepts from one framework or context to another, close reading and dissection of several different discourses, the expression of your ideas in lucid writing and argumentation – become immensely transferable in a market awaiting highly competent and highly innovative thinkers and leaders.

Where are our graduates now

Students who have graduated from this degree have emerged highly qualified for employment in manifold areas, including the public sector, the voluntary sector, the civil service, the foreign office, non-governmental organisations, international relations, primary and secondary teaching, journalism, the civil service and publishing, the media, the arts, and in many other professional fields and positions well-suited to the training and knowledge gained in the programme.


The MRes in Humanities is a research preparation Master’s course that offers students the opportunity for Master’s study within Arts and Humanities, structured according to personal research interests that are either wholly of one’s own design or structured through one of three specified pathways: Hermeneutics, Religion and Politics, and Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America. It also offers the opportunity to prepare for a PhD through concentrated research in an interdisciplinary environment.

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