Humanities (MRes)

MRes, Postgraduate Certificate


The Master of Research in Humanities offers an academically rigorous, one year full-time or two year part-time “research preparation” Masters programme focussed on your interests, available across a broad range of disciplines in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in a programme uniquely suited to interdisciplinary research. It gives you the opportunity to undertake an extended piece of research within a programme of study designed in collaboration between you and your supervisor(s). It can be pursued as an end in itself for personal or career development, or as a stepping-stone to doctoral study (PhD).

Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: 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
Download postgraduate prospectus

Professor Peter Milne

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

  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 Masters study in a structured, interdisciplinary and research-driven environment. 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 go on to study for 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 in 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.

Learn more

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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.

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.

Application procedure

Because the focus on a research project is in large measure of your own design, it is imperative that you contact prospective supervisors in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Stirling and discuss your intended research project before applying. You can find details of staff research interests here, where staff members’ email and telephone contact details can also be found.

Fees and costs


2018/19 Overseas £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU £4,700


Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. 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

SAAS Postgraduate Loans

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) is now offering a generous loan scheme to assist eligible Scottish and EU-domiciled students pursuing a Masters at the University of Stirling during 2018/19. Find out more about SAAS Postgraduate Loans

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 Masters course, or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Studying for the MRes in Humanities, students develop, in conjunction with their supervisor(s), their own research agenda from beginning to end. 

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 programme 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. Where feasible, you will be encouraged to present your theme at an appropriate forum such as a Postgraduate conference.

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, where appropriate,  to undertake language tuition at all levels in French and Spanish, or in earlier varieties of English (Old and Middle English). 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 2016/17

Full Time


ARTPP01 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 1 (20)

HUMPP12 Research Preparation 1 (20)


ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 2 (20)

HUMPP14 Dissertation Preparation (20)


HUMPP13 Dissertation (100)


Part Time

Autumn Year 1

HUMPP12 Research Preparation 1 (20)

Spring Year 1

HUMPP14 Dissertation preparation (20)

Autumn Year 2

ARTPP01 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 1 (20)

Spring Year 2

ARTPP02 Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities 2 (20)

Summer Year 2

HUMPP13 Dissertation (100)


Recommended reading

Your supervisors will be ready and willing to advise on readings, which will vary according to 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

The Master of Research in Humanities is a one-year, research-oriented taught programme. Teaching takes place in Autumn and Spring semesters (which run from mid-September to mid-December and from January to the end of May), with dissertation work beginning in the Spring semester and intensifying over the Summer months. Students are allocated a supervisor or supervisors with whom they plan their curriculum to reflect their interests and needs and who to direct(s) their independent study. Much of your work comprises self-directed research, with scheduled supervisory meetings to help guide you, discussing your work and reviewing draft submissions. As the programme is so individual, each student will have a different array of learning opportunities that complement their research project (and which may include the auditing of other level 10 and 11 courses on offer at Stirling). You should maintain regular contact with your supervisor(s) through email and the agreed schedule of meetings.

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) a number of 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.

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.


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.

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 .

Study abroad opportunities

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


The Faculty of Arts and Humanities welcomes students from all backgrounds and has a longstanding tradition of supporting innovative, cross-disciplinary and forward-looking projects. Our research student community is international, diverse, and plays a key role in the research culture of the Faculty, with staff and students working together on new initiatives. Students in Arts and Humanities can participate in the wider culture of the University through Stirling Graduate School, and  Stirling is also an active participant in developing training opportunities via the Scottish Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities works closely with a wide variety of local and national employers and community organisations. This means that students have access to a variety of work-related networks.

For Faculty of Arts and Humanities staff research areas and specialisms please refer to the staff directory

Our staff

Programme Director, Professor Peter Milne

Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Emma Macleod

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

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.


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

The MRes in Humanities offers training in critical transferable skills including textual analysis, methodologies of empirical research, close reading and deconstruction of discourses, and the expression of your ideas in lucid writing and argumentation.

If an academic career in research and teaching is attractive, this degree will help you to gain the requisite skills for pursuing research at the doctoral level; it will also give you necessary training in and insight into the research environment of Higher Education. If academia is not your professional goal, this MRes or Postgraduate Certificate, especially with its possibilities for interdisciplinary research, opens up a wide range of fascinating and exciting career possibilities.

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