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Kat Neumann

PhD in Languages, Cultures and Religion

I had never anticipated spending much time at university. However, it is due to the encouraging staff at the University of Stirling that I have undertaken postgraduate work, both in a taught and a research programme, over the past 5 years. I can recommend the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, in the field of Religious Studies on a host of assets. In the modular taught programme – I studied for a degree in Hermeneutics (2010) – much care was expended at guiding research in individualised assessments. Similar to other taught programmes across the Faculty, such as Postcolonial Studies or Translation Studies, the focus is on guiding students towards research through an early integration into the wider research culture, with Research seminars and other training and social activities to stimulate academic exchange. You don’t have to go abroad to enjoy some fascinating new perspectives! With the characteristic modular structure, taught courses offer a range of emphases to pursue. Here, the newly formed Gender and Feminist Studies programme promises to add to the applied nature of much of the interdisciplinary fields of research in the division.

In my doctoral research, emphasis shifted from the assessment-driven modular course onto a concern for the vision of research to come through in the project. As anyone doing research in the Humanities can tell you this can be an arduous and daunting process, but at Stirling, I have ever felt supported and encouraged to pursue questions to the next level. This is due to the care experienced in supervisory meetings, as much as the dedicated non-denominational focus of the Religious Studies section, framed categorically as Critical Religion. Keeping an open mind, not merely in research terms, but also with a wider community in view, the Critical Religion blog offers a platform to engage with questions of Critical Religion in light of a wider audience, reflecting the social relevance of research in this field. With a wide range of library resources, incredibly accommodating staff at the Document Delivery Services, but also with major research libraries in Edinburgh and Glasgow in easy commuting reach, you are never stuck for some fascinating material. After 5 years of postgraduate work, I am still excited by the variety of disciplinary crossing points that I have encountered through my work in Religious Studies, and am intrigued by some of the unexpected turns of research that brought my project to completion. I sure will miss the stunning campus setting, just one of the many quirks of studying at Stirling. Now, where is further study going to take you?

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