Why Study Politics Here?

The study of Politics examines how power, authority, legitimacy, dissent, disobedience and violence influence our societies, and how these affect decisions making within and amongst states. Politics is the 'master science'; it is only through politics that social activities have significance, and without an understanding of the subject, in all its broadest implications, it is difficult to explain and comprehend what happens in the world and why. Politics staff at Stirling are friendly and accessible. A rich choice of study provides our students with a rounded perspective on a variety of different political systems, ideologies and policies. The study of politics also encourages the development of a range of transferable skills, including analytical thinking, clear communication, group work, and research and organisational skills, all of which are highly valued in the modern workplace.

Information for applicants

Learning and teaching

Politics is committed to excellence in learning and teaching. We are proud of our record in providing a high quality education and constantly strive to improve our students’ experience and enhance their employability.

Key factors which result in a high quality student experience at Stirling are:

Our degrees

  • Our students receive an excellent education in Politics which develops a high level of knowledge in a wide range of subject areas.
  • All of our degrees develop transferable skills to prepare students for their future careers. We are committed to working with our students to maximise their employability.

Our staff:

  • are highly experienced University teachers, with a wide range of specialisms
  • write leading politics textbooks and academic journal papers that are used in student learning and teaching
  • are committed to high quality and internationally recognised research to develop their specialist areas and to add value to the student experience
  • regularly engage with the wider public in a range of activities, ranging from talks in local primary and secondary schools, to advising government agencies and writing for the national press and briefing diplomats and international organisations.

Teaching and support

  • Teaching methods are wide-ranging. We use lectures, seminars, tutorials, podcasts and workshops, and class sizes are restricted to maximise the teaching and learning experience.
  • Students are encouraged to develop their skills in a friendly and supportive learning environment. Each member of staff runs drop in sessions for students every week, and Politics has a system of advisers of study and mentoring.
  • We are committed to providing feedback on students' work to improve their performance and encourage reflective learning. 


  • Teaching takes place in state-of-the-art lecture theatres and teaching spaces, which are equipped with the most up-to-date technology.
  • Course materials and podcasts are available through our intranet, so that students have remote access at all times.
  • In addition to our modern, well-equipped library, learning is supported by an extensive e-politics library with remote online access to many thousands of papers in academic journals.
  • Students have access to pcs throughout the Stirling campus for online access and online resources can be accessed off-campus through the University Portal.
  • Politics works closely with the Staff-Student Consultative Committee to improve the quality of the student experience.
Current students

Information for current students

Course information  
Module information  
Careers information  

Advising for Undergraduates

Politics Adviser of Studies : Dr Andrea Baumeister

Advisers have an important role to play in enhancing a students’ academic and personal development and are essential in ensuring students make the most of their time at university.  Advisers provide a personalised point of contact for students to discuss academic concerns or queries within the academic community.  The general purpose of the role is to provide more in-depth advice on the academic options available to students and on the academic policies and regulations within the University.

Who should I speak to about my module choices?

Individual students should receive a list of compulsory modules from the University registration system. We also publish a guidance note on Politics module choices for each semester here, together with descriptions of each module. You should check the University Calendar on the portal for details on how your degree is structured and the choices which you can make. Any remaining questions can be raised with the Adviser of Studies.

What if I need guidance on other matters?

We will use this page to publish information about Politics module choices and your Adviser of Studies can refer you to other services within the University for help on lots of issues from improving study skills to careers advice or help with financial or personal problems. Remember that you can also access Student Support Services direct if you need help or advice on any of the following matters:

For help with Study Skills, contact Student Learning Services (SLS) who run online workshops via Succeed. They also run workshops and seminars throughout the year so keep an eye on notice boards and the portal for details of those.

Student Prizes

Internal Awards

Excellent achievements in learning should be rewarded. This is why we award a number of prizes to final-year students who have excelled in their studies in a number of areas. In addition, the University has a prize that rewards excellent achievements in independent research projects. We also regularly submit our students’ work to national essays competition, such as the competition run by the Political Studies Association.

The Andrew John Williamson Trust:

The William Travel Scholarships were established in memory of Andrew John Williamson, a Politics student who was tragically killed in a road accident in 1981. In his memory his parents have endowed a Trust one of whose activities is to contribute funding for students wishing to travel, especially in the winter vacation, in order to undertake projects in Politics (often associated with their final-year dissertation). Applications are normally sought during the autumn semester. Watch the notice boards for information. The trustees also award The Andrew Williamson Memorial Essay Prize – the prize is awarded for the best essay presented by a Politics student in years 3 or 4 and consists of a cheque for £200 and a bound copy of the essay.

The Elizabeth Skinner Prize:

This is for the best academic performance in Politics over semesters 1-3. This prize is named after the first secretary of the old Politics Department.

The John Forty Award:

This is for best overall academic performance in combined honours. This award is named after the University Principal who oversaw the re-establishment of the Department in 1991.

The Murray Learmonth Award:

This is for the best dissertation in Single or Combined Honours Politics. This Award commemorates a student with disability who died shortly after completing his degree course.

The Stephen Ingle Award:

This is for best overall academic performance in Politics, International Politics and PPE Honours. This award is named after Professor Stephen Ingle who was head of Department from 1991 to 2002 and has played a crucial role in developing the Department.

The Scott Reid Memorial Prize:

The prize is open to undergraduates in their final year of study studying History and/or Politics (including combined degrees with either subject). The prize of £200 will be awarded to the student who achieved their degree despite facing adversity during their studies and/or who have shown outstanding support and selfless giving for their fellow students, local community or family. 


External Awards

There are also a number of external awards which recognise the achievements of undergraduate students in Politics and these are all awarded on a competitive basis.

The Political Studies Association:

They currently present four prizes for the best doctoral dissertations in different fields of Political research:

  • Sir Walter Bagehot prize: government and public administration
  • Sir Ernest Barker prize: political theory
  • Lord Bryce prize: comparative and international politics
  • Arthur McDougall Fund prize: election, electoral systems an representation

Details of these prizes can be found here.

The Gilbert Murray Trust

The International Studies Committee of the Gilbert Murray Trust is offering up to six UN Study Awards of up to £500 each for 2013/14. This Committee promotes the study of the purposes and work of the United Nations. Further details about these awards and how to apply are found here.

Study abroad opportunities

Study abroad opportunities are a great way of building up inter-cultural skills during your time at University. They provide opportunities to meet people from all over the world and to learn about life in other countries in a way that would be impossible if you were just passing through as a tourist. They are valued highly by employers.

In line with the international orientation of our research and teaching, we offer a large range and growing opportunities to study abroad, both as part of our Erasmus links and as part of the University’s partnerships. They are based at top institutions in Europe and the world and include the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Vesalius College (the English-language college of the Free University) in Brussels, Belgium, the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire) in the US and Simon Fraser University in Canada. We are currently also planning partnerships with Charles University in Prague and the University of Konstanz in Germany.

Please contact the divisional advisor of studies (Politics), Dr Andrea Baumeister (a.t.baumeister@stir.ac.uk) to discuss your options and the application process.

Politics Society

The Stirling University Politics Society is a non-affiliated inclusive club that seeks to bring together individuals with an interest in politics. The society aims to facilitate the exchange of political ideas amongst students whilst encouraging discussions about issues relating to politics, philosophy and history - regardless of your political stance or knowledge. 

Polsoc won the Stirling University Student Union prize for Best New Society in 2012. Our weekly events are full of diverse content such as a Model UN, speed debating, games nights and election hustings. We regularly host guest lectures with experts in the field. Recent lectures have covered topics such as International Development Aid, Human Rights and Depleting Resources, the Occupy Movement, and the Psychology of conflict.  Finally, the society organises day and weekend trips, as well as an international trip. Our most recent excursions have taken us to Edinburgh, London, Belfast, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, The Hague and Leiden.

As a sociable, open-minded platform for discussion, this society is a brilliant way to meet new people and learn from one another. All students are welcome!

We hope to see you soon!

Margareta Rončević

(President of Stirling University Politics Society)



There is a thriving research student community in Politics. If you would like to find out more about studying for a PhD with us please click on Research.

The School has a strong reputation for excellence in research, and staff are committed to producing high quality publications, which impact on legal scholarship and outside academia. Staff research is used for the benefit of students in teaching. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 5% of our research was judged to be world leading, 35% of international excellence, 30% of international quality, with the remaining 30% of at least national quality. For further information about our research projects please click here.  Politics research was included under a number of different subjects in the 2014 REF submission. In particular, some Politics research formed an important contribution to the School of Applied Social Science's excellent submission.

Contact Us

Thanks for visiting our web pages, and we hope you found what you were looking for. If you would like more information on Politics, or to speak to someone in person, please don't hesitate to contact us at:

History and Politics Office

University of Stirling

Stirling, FK9 4LA
Scotland, UK

Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467580
Email: historyandpolitics@stir.ac.uk
© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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