History and Politics

Welcome from the Head of Division

History and Politics at Stirling is at the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research at the Faculty 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 Public Policy 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.

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 Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Natural 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.

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 education degrees with the Faculty of Social Sciences. 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.


Developing Skills through the Curriculum - History

All of our modules are designed to develop students’ skills as graduates. In particular, students hone transferable and employability skills, such as through oral presentations and individual and teamwork reporting, building confidence in communication which employers see as so crucial and our former students commend as something gained from the History experience at Stirling. Some modules place a particular emphasis on workplace skills. For example, Back to the Future: putting history and heritage to work is offered in second year of our undergraduate History, Scottish History and Heritage & Tourism programmes and allows students to explore how the study of the past is put to work in various aspects of the economy and society.  This module introduces students to a number of activities and areas of employment where History and Heritage play an important role: putting History and Heritage to work.

The recent addition of our innovative module Interpretation and Exhibition Design offers an opportunity for students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities to gain work-centred knowledge and experience. This module has already enabled some students on the Heritage & Tourism programme to design a work-based portfolio for their final year.

Students are given opportunities to experience history in action. For example, this year, a group of BA or MSc Heritage students will enjoy the opportunity to participate in a ground penetrating radar survey in Falkland, Fife.

A degree in History is a very effective preparation for the world of work. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, in 2015 within six months of graduating nearly 60% of History graduates were in work and a further 30% in further studies or combining work and study. In recent years graduates of History from Stirling have been recruited by a range of Scottish, British and international companies, agencies and public services such as Lloyds Banking Group, Mercedes Benz, Rothschild’s, Marks & Spencers, Northumberland County Council, Scottish Widows, Forth Valley NHS Trust, Stena Line and Intersport.

‌‌Developing Skills through the Curriculum – Politics

All of our modules are designed to develop student’s skills as graduates but some modules place a particular emphasis on workplace skills. For example, employability skills and career awareness play a vital part in our re-designed semester 6 Politics Research Methods module. This module teaches students a range of practical skills, such as data gathering, management and analysis, and incorporates careers workshops specifically geared to the needs of Politics students.

At Master’s level, students on the MSc International Conflict and Cooperation are benefiting from a new practice based module, Humanitarian Studies, taught by the former Red Cross official and Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Sir George Reid. Unique to Scotland, this module has a strong focus on employability, incorporating professional practice and ethics. The MSc ICC team also ran a simulation game that saw a former British Ambassador come to Stirling to deliver a bespoke exercise mimicking an emergency NATO summit.‌

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 09.00-17.00. 

The Divisional support staff are:

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

Kalene Craig, Divisional Administrator (kalene.craig@stir.ac.uk)

Lesley Robertson, Administrative Assistant (lesley.robertson@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
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