School of Arts and Humanities Research Degrees

The School of Arts and Humanities comprises English Studies; Film, Media & Journalism; History and Politics; Law; Languages, Culture & Religion; and Philosophy.

Taught Programmes

The School of Arts and Humanities has a wide range of taught postgraduate programmes, follow this link for further details.

World-leading Research

In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008, over half of submissions from English Studies were found to be Internationally Excellent or World-leading. Film, Media & Journalism is ranked top in Scotland, 12th in UK and 95% of our research is classed as Internationally Significant, with 70% World-leading or Internationally Excellent. Most Research in History & Politics is Internationally Significant, and a large proportion is World-leading. 70% of the Law School’s research is of international quality, the remainder was judged to be at national quality. Philosophy at Stirling and St Andrews did very well, with an average ranking: St Andrews 3.15, Stirling 2.95, making the departments the top two Philosophy Departments in Scotland.

English Studies

English Studies at the University of Stirling has a long-established and vibrant research culture in the areas of: 19th- and 20th-century writing, postcolonial writing in English, Scottish culture and literature, medieval, renaissance and 17th-century writing, American literature, critical theory, publishing studies, women’s studies, and language and linguistics.

Film, Media & Journalism

Film, Media & Journalism is a lively and stimulating environment in which to undertake postgraduate study in the areas of Film, Media, Public Relations or Journalism. In 2009 Film, Media & Journalism won Best Business Communication School (International) 2009, at the Public Relations Council of India Annual Awards.

History & Politics

Supervision is available at MSc, MLitt, MRes and PhD level and on our taught Master’s programmes and History & Politics hosts the Centre for Environmental History & Policy, Centre for European Neighbourhood Studies, and the Centre for Scottish Studies.

Languages, Cultures & Religions

Languages, Culture & Religions at Stirling is at the forefront of collaborative, interdisciplinary scholarship in the UK, with research interests offering a truly global perspective across international cultures in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.


Stirling Law School staff produce a significant amount of books and articles in leading academic journals and participate in various external research networks. The School is developing a strong international reputation for high quality research in a number of fields.


The St Andrews/Stirling Graduate Programme (SASP) combines the resources of
two of the top-rated Philosophy Departments in the United Kingdom. Students are registered with both institutions; a research student’s supervisors may be from either or both institutions. The SASP programme offers two Research degrees: the MPhil by Research and the PhD.

Research Opportunities

English Studies

English Studies Research Areas

Medieval and early modern writing; 20th-century postcolonial literatures; Victorian literature; Scottish literature; James Hogg; The Gothic; Poetry; The short story; American literature; Textual culture; Publishing studies; Discourse analysis; and Book history.

Centre of Commonwealth Studies

The Centre of Commonwealth Studies exists to provide a focus for postgraduate and undergraduate work relating to Commonwealth countries.

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication

Focusing on book, magazine, journal and digital publishing, the Centre trains the publishers of the future, providing opportunities for those currently working in the industry to reflect on their professional practice, and through its research, critically analyses the past, present and future of publishing.

Stirling Centre for Scottish Studies

The SCSS aims to promote research, publication and postgraduate recruitment in Scottish Studies, arising from established strengths and academic interests in Stirling within and especially across the boundaries of literature, art, music, history, media, philosophy, politics, social issues and cultural theory.

For further information on research activity, please go to:

Film, Media & Journalism

Stirling Media Research Institute (SMRI)

All Film, Media & Journalism research activity is coordinated by the Stirling Media Research Institute (SMRI), an internationally recognised centre for media research.
For a comprehensive list of current research interests, please go to:

History & Politics

History Research Areas

History staff offer particular strengths in African, American, British, environmental, European, Irish and Scottish history. There are clusters of scholars researching medieval Scotland, the 18th-century transatlantic world, urban history, and environmental history and revolutions and counter-revolutions. It hosts the Centre for research in Environmental History.

Politics Research Areas

Politics staff have expertise in the study of the Balkans and the Middle East, the British Labour Party, devolution and Scottish politics, minority nationalism in European Union, political theory, and the geo-politics of Eurasia, Eastern and Western European politics. It hosts the Centre for Human Security and European Neighbourhood Studies.
For further information on research activity, please do to:

Languages, Culture & Religions

Research Areas

Visual arts; cinema; colonialism and postcolonialism; indigenous and regional cultures; globalisation; modernity and postmodernity; gender and feminist studies; cultural studies; urban landscapes; sites of memory; religion and literature; religion and philosophy; and hermeneutics. Research groups include: Beyond Modernity and Postmodernity; Sites of Culture; Crossing Cultures: Places, Memory, Identity; and Global Cinema and Visual Culture.


Law Research Areas

Private Law; Financial Regulation; Child and Family Law; Public Law; Business Law; International Commercial Law; European Law and Policy; Employment and Labour Law; Environmental Law; Entertainment and Sports Law; Discrimination Law; Criminal Law and Race/Hate Crimes; Statutory Interpretation and the Legislative Process; Commercial Dispute Resolution, international and domestic; Socio-Legal Studies; and Feminist Jurisprudence. All full time research students have their own dedicated office space with desks, computer equipment and telephones based in the Law School located in Airthrey Castle. Hot-desk facilities are available for those studying on a part-time basis.

For more information on our research activity, visit:

For information about recent publications by staff, please go to:


Philosophy Research Areas

Legal, Social and Political Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind and Action; Epistemology; Philosophy of Logic and Language; History of Early Analytical Philosophy; Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science. There are opportunities to gain teaching experience and training after your first year.

For further information on our research activity, visit:

Research Proposals

Research Proposal for English Studies, Film, Media & Journalism, History & Politics

Applicants are invited to contact staff who can provide informal advice on the preparation of their application and identify research topics. Thereafter, applicants should supply, along with their application form, a research proposal of up to 2,000 words, explaining in broad terms the research project they hope to pursue. This should outline a clear research question or set of questions and include evidence of the wider context within which the proposed research is situated, some of the main recent literature in the field and potential primary sources, and suggest possible lines of enquiry and methodologies.

Research Proposal for Languages, Culture & Religions

Applicants for PhD and MPhil should provide a brief proposal setting out their preferred topic and the reasons why they think it is important. Applicants for the MRes should outline the broad area which they are interested in studying.

Research Proposal for Law

Applicants are required to provide a statement of up to 1,000 words on the topic they intend to research. Prospective students are advised to contact the School if they have any queries concerning the availability of supervision and the suitability of their intended areas of research.

Entrance Requirements

School of Arts and Humanities

The entrance requirement is normally a good upper second class or first class honours degree or equivalent, in a relevant subject, but other qualifications will be considered at the discretion of the Postgraduate Officer and the Head of School.

Film, Media & Journalism

For entry to the doctoral programme students are expected to have a good honours degree or equivalent of an upper second class or first class degree from a UK university, supportive academic references and a well-developed research proposal. Would-be doctoral students are usually admitted at Master’s level and are expected to satisfactorily complete two chapters in their first year before being upgraded to PhD status.


Applicants should usually have either a taught postgraduate qualification or a good honours degree in law or a related discipline.


The administrating institution for the SASP programme is currently the University of St Andrews, whose application procedures should be followed, please go to:

Students wishing to take a PhD within the SASP programme must have completed either the SASP MLitt degree or a comparable taught postgraduate programme elsewhere. Applicants for direct entry to the PhD must have a good masters degree in Philosophy. The MPhil by research normally takes two years. However, students who have completed the St Andrews/Stirling MLitt can expect to complete the Stirling research MPhil with one year’s further study. The PhD normally takes three years.

English Language Requirements


If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6 (minimum 5.5 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21.

Film, Media & Journalism, History & Politics, and Law

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency, such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum 6 in each skill) or TOEFL 577/233/90.


All SASP courses are taught in English. Applicants who are not native speakers and whose undergraduate degree was not taught in English must submit a recognised English Language test. We normally require a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based). 250 (computer-based), or 100 (internet-based). A copy of your TOEFL certificate will be sufficient. Alternatively an IELTS score of 7.00. (Ideally we prefer the IELTS exam.)

Mode of Study

Research degrees start in October and February but may start at any time throughout the year by mutual agreement.

  • PhD: three years full time; five years part time
  • MPhil: two years full time; four years part time

N.B. In Film, Media & Journalism many students spend periods of time away from Stirling collecting data in their own or other countries.

Contact details

Research degrees start in October and February but may start at any time throughout the year by mutual agreement.

  • PhD: three years full time; five years part time
  • MPhil: two years full time; four years part time

N.B. In Film, Media & Journalism many students spend periods of time away from Stirling collecting data in their own or other countries.

English Studies Research Programme Contact
Dr Adrian Hunter
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467507

Film, Media & Journalism Research Programme Contact
Kalene Craig
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466220

History & Politics Research Programme Contact
Dr Colin Nicolson
Postgraduate Director
Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467963

Languages, Culture & Religions Research Programme Contact
Alison Cooper
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467530/1

Law Research Programme Contact
Professor Fraser Davidson
Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467287

Philosophy Research Programme Contacts:
Stirling: Nikki Leavitt
Tel: 01786 467555

University of St Andrews: Shaun Darby
Tel: 01334 462487


Bursaries are offered annually. Film, Media & Journalism has Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognition and students can apply for either ESRC or Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships depending on their subject area. Dependent upon the eligibility criteria set by the funding body, students may be able to apply for awards from various sources including AHRC, the Carnegie Trust and the Overseas Research Student Awards Scheme. We offer History & Politics bursaries on a competitive basis. These are not tied to external funding though we would normally expect the applicant to seek other external sources of funding. Staff are willing to provide guidance on preparing funding applications and applicants should contact us as soon as possible to discuss funding options.

For information on possible sources of funding, please go to:

Philosophy Funding

Dependent upon meeting the eligibility criteria set by the funding body, students who apply to the SASP programme may also be considered for awards from a number of sources, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council. For the most recent information on PhD funding available for SASP students please visit:


'The quality of research is beyond doubt. However, there is an extra edge in being a Philosophy postgraduate – we are treated, both formally and informally, as members of the teaching and research staff. This not only facilitates the exchange of ideas beyond one’s supervisors, but nurtures postgraduates into becoming mature academics in Philosophy. This is not something that everyone does.'
Ambrose Lee, PhD student in Philosophy

'The impact of religion and belief in the world today is a huge talking point. The purpose of the Critical Religion initiative is to build positive bridges between a range of specialists and those who have to write, make policy or think about ‘religious issues’ at a more general level.'
Dr. Andrew Hass, who researches the intersection of religion with philosophy, theory, and the arts at the University of Stirling

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