From the local to the global, understanding the past is essential to making sense of the modern world. How did America become a superpower? Would women have got the right to vote without struggle? Why do people empower authoritarian leaders? How does climate shape society?

History at Stirling allows you to explore these and many other pressing questions, guided by a committed team of historians passionate about their subjects. 

Thanks to the flexibility of Stirling's academic programmes, you can study history in combination with other subjects, such as education, politics, languages or media studies. In addition to developing your knowledge of the world, you will acquire intellectual and personal skills much in demand in the labour market. Stirling is strong on graduate employability, 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017), and a dedicated module in the fourth semester will orient you in the variety of professional careers a degree in history opens to you.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2017 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. EU students will also be eligible for tuition fee support from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

  • UCAS: V100
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September / January
  • Course Director: Dr Diego Palacios Cerezales
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Download undergraduate prospectus

Dr J J Smyth

University of Stirling

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

Stirling is different: in the context of a friendly department with approachable staff, we offer a unique breadth and chronological depth of options at honours level. We offer a range of courses on American, African, European, British and Scottish history that only few other much larger institutions can match.

You will be taught by specialists. Our staff are active researchers who bring the most recent scholarship into their teaching. In the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework 98% of our research was assessed as of international or world leading significance.

The first two years provide the strong foundations that any student of history needs, while years three and four allow you to choose from an ample selection of country and thematic specialisms, from the history of ideas to that of gender, or the environment. The final year allows you to become a researcher yourself and thereby practice the skills you have learned and hone your analytical and problem-solving skills for life beyond university. You will have the opportunity to do one "special subject", working closely with our staff in small groups, hands on cutting-edge historical research themes. This level of in-depth study runs in parallel to the final year dissertation, a personal project in which you show that you have mastered the knowledge, the skills and the autonomy of the well-rounded university graduate.

Studying history is an international experience: History has agreements with numerous universities in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia, so you have the opportunity to enrich your learning experience by doing one semester abroad. 

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.

Learn more

Library shelves

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.

Watch our videos now

Live Life

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View our stunning campus and facilities in 3D and find out out why Stirling is a great place to study, live, work and play.

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Campus 360 tour

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points

BTEC (Level 3):

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher:

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points

Essential subjects:
To include History.

Other qualifications


Minimum entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.

Advanced entry
May be possible with an HND in Social Sciences.
Modules required - History A, B, C and D.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

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

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Alternative routes

History welcomes Year 2 entrants either from HND or through A Levels and Advanced Highers (see criteria above). Such students are often especially motivated and committed to their studies, even though the induction semester provides a better opportunity to meet fellow students and to grow accustomed to the new surroundings.

Fees and costs

Fees 2017/18

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,845.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years


Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9,250.00

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

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

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Semesters 1 - 3

You will take a core history module and two additional subjects, in addition to short workshops on essential skills, such as bibliographic research, referencing, use of primary sources or essay writing.

  • Semester 1: The making of modern Britain, 1707 – 2000: an introduction. A survey course in modern British history that tackles national identity, modernization, social conditions, politics, women’s rights, imperialism and war.
  • Semester 2: Concepts of history: themes and transformations. Rebellion, Revolution, Class, Religion, Gender, Race, the Environment, Health. This module equips you to address the big issues of past social and political experience across examples from European, American, British and Scottish history.
  • Semester 3: Reputations in history. Karl Marx, Florence Nightingale, William Wallace, John Adams, Nelson Mandela… Their lives in historical context and the resonance of their words and deeds up to the present. An original approach to the human face of the past.


Semesters 4 – 6

You will choose from a wide range of historical subjects in American, European, African, British and Scottish History, in addition to a core module on professional careers for history graduates and another on dissertation preparation. Here is a selection of the modules we run, which may vary each year for administrative or research reasons (and because our staff loves exploring new and exciting topics!)

Semester 4

  • Back to the Future: putting history and heritage to work (core module)
  • Africa in the Nineteenth Century
  • American History from 1787 to 1890
  • Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century, 1789-1914
  • Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce
  • Everyday Life in Victorian Britain: Hands on History
  • Union, Rebellion and 'ages' new: Scotland 1707 to c.1830

Semester 5

  • American Indian History and Policy: From Survival to Sovereignty
  • Castles: Power and Authority, Landscapes and Contexts
  • History of Political Thought
  • History, Heritage and Tradition
  • Interwar Europe: Communism, Fascism and Democracy, 1914 to 1945
  • Picts in Perspective: archaeology and the historian
  • Protests, Riots and Propaganda: Popular Politics in 18th Century Britain
  • Radicalism to Labourism: Popular Politics 1800-1914
  • Safer spaces: the use, abuse and protection of the Environment in 20th Century Britain

Semester 6

  • Africa in the Twentieth Century
  • Black People in Britain, 1750-1950: Racism Riots and Resistance
  • Death, Disease and Disability: The State and the Hazardous Working Environment 1800-1914
  • Dissertation Preparation for Honours History (core module)
  • Feeding the masses: ‘Cold flesh’ and environmental degradation in Europe c.900-c.1400
  • From World War to Cold War: Europe 1944 – 1989/90
  • Gender in Britain, 1750-1930
  • Heritage Protection: theory and practice
  • Interpretation and Exhibition Design
  • Nineteenth Century Scotland, c.1800-1914
  • Stewart Scotland II: 1488-1542 – The Glory of Princely Governing?
  • The United States since 1890.

Semester 7 and 8 (year-long special subjects)

  • Apartheid in South Africa, 1948-1994
  • 'Around 1968': Protest Movements and Social Activism in the UK and Europe
  • Britain in the Age of the American and French Revolutions
  • Environment, Landscape and Improvements in the North Atlantic World c.1500 to c.1900
  • Government and Society in Scotland 1800-1918
  • Immigration in Britain, 1880s-1990s
  • Mobilise! Petition Drives and Popular Politics in the West, 1600 to the present
  • The American Revolution
  • Transnational Histories of the 20th Century United States

Delivery and assessment

Student learning takes place in lectures, tutorials, workshops, field trips and through independent study. Each module is assessed by a combination of examination and coursework. Assessed coursework may comprise of essays, reports, oral presentations and posters.


The following is the provisional History course for 2016-17, which is subject to change for administrative and research reasons:

Semester 1

  • The Making of Modern Britain, 1707–2000: An introduction
  • Scotland in pre-modern Europe: An introduction

Semester 2

  • Concepts of History; Themes and Transformations.

Semester 3

  • Reputations in History

Semester 4

  • Europe in the long Nineteenth Century 1789-1914
  • American History, 1787-1890
  • Everyday Life in Victorian Britain: Hands on History
  • War, Famine, Disease and Death, c.1250-c.1650
  • Africa in the Nineteenth Century

Semester 5

  • The United States since 1890
  • Gender in Britain, 1750-1930
  • Stewart Scotland, 1406-1488: Kingship and Tyranny?
  • Nineteenth Century Scotland, c.1800-1914
  • Death, Disease and Disability: The state and the Hazardous Working Environment 1800-1914
  • Feeding the Masses: 'Cold Flesh' and the Medieval European Fisheries, c.900-c.1500CE
  • Africa in the Twentieth Century

Semester 6

  • Environment, Politics and People in Colonial Africa
  • Protests, Riots and Propaganda: Popular Politics in Eighteenth Century Britain
  • Radicalism to Labourism: Popular Politics 1800-1914
  • Approaches and Methods in History
  • Picts in Perspective : Archaeology and the Historian
  • The American Indian: Survival, revival and sovereignty
  • Stewart Scotland II: 1488-1542 - The Glory of Princely Governing?
  • History of Political Thought

Semester 7 and 8 (special subjects)

  • Mobilise! Petition Drives and Popular Politics in the West, 1600 to the present
  • Government and Society in Scotland 1800-1918
  • Immigration in Britain, 1880s-1990s
  • 'Around 1968': Protest Movements and Social Activism in the UK and Europe
  • Britain in the Age of the American and French Revolutions
  • The American Revolution
  • Environment, Landscape and Improvements in the North Atlantic World c.1500 to c.1900
  • Apartheid in South Africa, 1948-1994

Combined degrees

History can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
English Studies QV31
English Studies/Professional Education QXHC
Film and Media PV31
French RV11
Journalism Studies VP15
Law MV11
Philosophy VV15
Politics LV21
Politics/Professional Education LX21
Education VX11
Religion VV16
Religion/Professional Education VXC1
Sociology LV31
Sociology/Professional Education VXD1
Spanish RV41
Sports Studies VC16

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Related degrees

Scottish History

Recommended reading

Recommended reading suggestions by module are listed and can be viewed in the History Handbook which is available via the History and Politics website at

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
January entry also available - see semester dates

Find out more

Example timetable

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

The programme below is a typical example, but your own programme may be different. You will have many choices!  A full Honours degree in History would develop on the following lines (see degree course above):

Year Semester Subject 1 Subject 2 Subject 3
1 1 Britain, 1707-1914 Politics English Studies
2 Concepts of History Politics Journalism 
2 3 Reputations in History Criminal Law Film and Media
4 Back to the Future: putting history and heritage to work America 1787-1890 Politics
3 5 Africa, in the 20th century Gender in Britain, 1750-1930 Interwar Europe. Communism Fascism and Democracy
6 Popular politics in 18th century Britain Approaches and Methods: Dissertation Preparation American Indian History and Policy
4 7 Special subject dissertation  
8 Special subject dissertation  

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.


Teaching provision in History has been assessed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and achieved the highest possible rating of 'commendable' in all aspects. In addition, at the last RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) whereby research quality is audited by external auditors, History was commended for the international quality of its research.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

You have the opportunity to apply to study in the US under the University’s exchange scheme with a wide range of European, American and Australian universities and colleges. Students doing a Combined Honours degree with French or Spanish are normally required to study in the appropriate country for one semester.


History retains strong connections with a range of historical and heritage industries and former students who have achieved employment in such areas. Contacts are also strong with SATH, the Scottish Association of Teachers of History. In addition, History offers a popular and much valued Masters of Research course which is often taken by students seeking to develop historical skills at postgraduate level or who wish a stepping-stone to a research degree (PhD).

Our staff has a range of academic expertise nurtured by a strong research ethos sustained by the staff. In particular, late medieval, early modern, environmental impact, computer applications, gender, race relations, conflict, revolutions and political and social change are taught within the wide geographical spread of Europe, America, Africa, Britain and Scotland.

Our students

How would I summarise my time at Stirling? Friendly students, supportive staff, great opportunities, a warm community.

Sarah Bolton BA (Hons) History, graduated 2016

The variety of courses available to undergraduate students in the department is fantastic; particularly valuable is the range of specialist subjects offered to undergraduate students in their final year.

I enjoyed my time as an undergraduate at Stirling so much that I stayed on at the University to complete my MRes.

Lesley Hislop BA (Hons) History, graduated 2010.


Careers and employability

Career opportunities

A History degree has always been valued by employers because of the intellectual challenges it offers and the particular skills it fosters. These include the ability to argue a persuasive case, a capacity for independent work and effective time management, an ability to organise and solve problems, and a capacity to communicate clearly in writing and in speech. History graduates from Stirling, therefore, have been successful in obtaining a wide variety of posts, some in history-related areas such as teaching and work in museums and libraries; others in fields such as administration, commerce, the civil service, banking and insurance.


Skills you can develop through this course

  • Command of a substantial body of historical knowledge and cultural references
  • Understand how people have existed, acted and thought in the context of the past
  • Read and reflect critically
  • Appreciate the complexity and diversity of situations, events and past mentalities
  • Marshal an argument, be self-disciplined and independent intellectually
  • Express orally and in writing with coherence, clarity and fluency
  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information
  • Analyse and solve problems
  • Time management and thinking under pressure
  • Use effectively ICT for information retrieval and presentation of results
  • Exercise self-discipline, self-direction and initiative
  • Work with others and have respect for others’ reasoned views
  • Work collaboratively and participate effectively in group discussions
  • Show empathy and imaginative insight
  • Autonomy

There is a lively series of guest lectures which students can attend on this programme.

Where are our graduates now?

Our graduates are spread throughout the world.

History graduates are currently contributing to the performance of the following organisations: 

  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Northumbria University
  • Heritage Path Project
  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Diago
  • The European Parliament
  • NHS

To provide you with an indication as to what you can do with your History degree, graduates entering into employment in the past two years are currently working in teaching, finance, recruitment, retail, the heritage industry and journalism.

Building on that foundation, alumni of Stirling’s History degree who graduated between five and ten years ago have since advanced into some of the following positions:

  • Personal Claims Advisor
  • Data Controller
  • Personal Assistant
  • Customer Service Adviser
  • Sports Union President
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Branch Manager
  • Recruitment Consultant

Some of our more established alumni are currently leading and shaping strategy across many different sectors – here is an example of how a few former Stirling History students have advanced in their careers:

  • Teacher, English and Media
  • Archaeology Advisor
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Assistant Curator - Technology
  • Student Recruitment
  • Project officer
  • Archivist
  • Senior Committee Officer
  • Solicitor
  • Information Officer
  • Assistant Librarian

Success stories

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