Scottish History

BA (Hons)


Scottish History regularly achieves above average student satisfaction in the National Student Survey with particular strengths in staff enthusiasm for the subject and detailed feedback on coursework.

Study of the Scottish past and identity is growing in popularity. The University and city of Stirling lie in the heart of a landscape steeped in the history of the Scottish nation. The Scottish History degree provides a challenging course, which seeks to explore the myths as well as the realities of Scotland’s history.

History at Stirling has experts researching and teaching in many aspects of the political, social, environmental and economic history of Scotland, from the Vikings to the present day. You will tackle questions central to understanding both Scotland’s past and present, which provide a window on Scotland’s interaction with the wider world.

Teaching of History at Stirling has been commended and our research rated excellent. With this degree, you can access a range of careers, such as teaching; journalism; business management; local and national government; law; the heritage industry; and conservation.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • UCAS: V211
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Full-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September / January
  • Course Director: Dr Diego Palacios Cerezales
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Download course leaflet
Download undergraduate prospectus

Dr Diego Cerezales

University of Stirling
Scotland, UK

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

History at Stirling offers two unique aspects not found in other universities. Firstly, in Semester 3 a core module Reputations in History is offered and which must be taken by all History and Scottish History students. This provides a fascinating insight into historical characters and their reputations, from William Wallace to Nelson Mandela, taking in male and female figures from world history over a thousand years.

Secondly, at advanced level and in the final year we offer special subjects that last the whole academic year (Semesters 7 and 8). These allow students to benefit from the enthusiasm and interest, and indeed the most recent research, of staff committed to their field of study. This level of in-depth study runs in parallel with the dissertation which must be taken by all History and Scottish History Honours degree students. At Stirling the final year is quite an experience.

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.

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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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Live Life

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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:
ABB - one sitting.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
35 points.

Essential subjects:
To include History.

Other qualifications

Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.
Advanced entry
Year 2 entry may be possible with an HND in Social Sciences with specific units. Please consult our Advanced Entry pages for details.

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

Foundation Apprenticeships:

Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Essential subjects:
As listed above or equivalent.

Additional information

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.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

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

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

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 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

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Scottish History may be taken as a Single Honours degree, as well as in a number of Combined degrees in a Scottish History stream of the History degree.

Students take Scottish History plus two other subjects in semesters 1-3.

Semesters 1 - 3

You will take the following core modules:

  • Scotland in pre-modern Europe c.1200-1707: An introduction
  • Concepts of History: Themes and Transformations
  • Reputations in History

Semesters 4 - 6

You will normally take at least six modules in Scottish History, chosen from the following:

  • Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce
  • Stewart Scotland, 1406-1488: Kingship or Tyranny?
  • Castles: Power and Authority, Landscapes and Contexts
  • 'For God, King and Parliament': the birth of modern Europe c1500-c1700
  • Union, Rebellion and 'Ages' New: Scotland, 1707-c1830
  • 19th-century Scotland, c1800-1914
  • Everyday life in Victorian Britain - Hands on History
  • Picts in Perspective: Archaeology and the Historian

In addition, Single Honours students must take the Semester 6 module Approaches and Methods.

Semesters 7 - 8

Honours students take a ‘special subject’ involving the use of printed documentary collections and other source material. Single Honours students also write a supervised dissertation of between 14,000 and 16,000 words on a chosen research topic. The range of special subjects includes:

  • Bruce and Stewart Scotland, 1329-1406
  • The ‘Golden Age’ of the Scottish Parliament: 1660-1707
  • Environment, Landscape and Improvement in the North Atlantic World, c1500-c1900
  • Government and Society in Scotland, 1800-1914: Problems and Responses

Delivery and assessment

Each semester’s work is assessed separately. Assessment is based on a combination of essays, examinations and oral performance. The Honours classification is based on grades obtained in Semesters 5 – 8.


The following is the History course for 2017-2018, which is subject to change due for a variety of administrative and research reasons:

Semester 1

  • Scotland in pre-modern Europe c.1200-1707: An introduction
  • The Making of Modern Britain, 1707-2000: An introduction

Semester 2

  • Concepts of History

Semester 3

  • Reputations in History

Semester 4

  • Europe in the Long 19th Century 1787-1918
  • American History, 1787–1890
  • Everyday Life in Victorian Britain - Hands on History
  • War, Famine, Disease and Death, c.1250–c.1650
  • Scotland in the Age of Wallace and Bruce

Semester 5

  • The United States since 1890
  • Gender in Britain, 1750–1930
  • Stewart Scotland, 1406–1488: Kingship or Tyranny?
  • Nineteenth Century Scotland, c.1800–1914

Semester 6

  • Environment, Politics and People in Colonial Africa
  • From World War to Cold War: Europe 1944 - 1990
  • Radicalism to Labourism: Popular Politics 1800-1914
  • Approaches and Methods: Dissertation Preparation
  • Stewart Scotland II: 1488-1542 - The Glory of Princely Governing?
  • Picts in Perspective: Archaeology and the Historian

Semester 7 and 8 (special subjects)

  • Apartheid in South Africa, 1948–94
  • 'Around 1968': Protest movements and social activism in the UK and Europe
  • Immigration in Britain from the 1880s to the 1980s
  • Government and Society in Scotland 1800–1918
  • 'Dark and Drublie Days': Bruce and Stewart Scotland c.1329-c.1406
  • Environment, Landscape and Improvement in the North Atlantic World c.1500 to c.1900

Combined degrees

Although combined degrees are not offered with Scottish History, a History degree with a Scottish History stream, can be combined with other subjects. The following combined degrees subjects are offered along with History:

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
Religious Studies VV16
Religious Studies/Professional Education VXC1
Sociology LV31
Sociology/Professional Education VXD1
Spanish RV41
Sports Studies VC16

Learn more about studying these subjects

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.

In Semesters 1-3, students study three subjects. This table is illustrative only and your programme of study may differ. A full Honours degree in Scottish History would develop on the following lines (see degree course above):

Year Semester Subject 1 Subject 2 Subject 3
1 1 Scotland in pre-modern Europe c1200-1707 Politics English Studies
2 Concepts of History Politics French
2 3 Reputations in History French Film and Media
4 Union, Rebellion and 'Ages' New: Scotland 1707-c.1830 America 1787-1890 Politics
3 5 Stewart Scotland, 1406-1488 Nineteenth century Scotland, c, 1800-1914 Interwar Europe: 1914-1945
6 Castles, Power and Authority. Landscapes and Contexts Approaches and Methods: Dissertation Preparation The Birth of Modern Europe 1500-1700
4 7 Scottish special subject Dissertation  
8 Scottish special subject Dissertation  

Why Stirling?


At the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 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 may apply to study in the United States under the University’s exchange scheme with a wide range of American universities and colleges.


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).

History 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, revolution studies and political and social change are taught within the wide geographical spread of Europe, America, Africa, Britain and Scotland.

Our students

The University of Stirling is a beautiful place to work and the History staff  have always been very supportive.  During the first few years of my undergraduate degree I appreciated the flexibility to choose and change modules and courses of study.  Students are made to feel valued and I particularly benefited from the regular meetings and full feedback provided by my tutors in my final undergraduate year and during my postgraduate year.  Although I did a degree in History I completed a range of Scottish topics from the Scottish stream, including both my final-year dissertation and special subject. I have now gone on to study a Master’s degree in Scottish History. Overall, I have been very happy at Stirling.

Stephen Bowman BA (Hons) History, graduated 2010.


Our staff

Dr Alastair Mann, the Course Director, is an early modern Scottish historian with interests in political history, the Scottish Parliament and the press form 1500 to the present. He is himself a graduate of Stirling and returned to teach here in 2005. He is author of the recently published biography James VII: Duke and King of Scots (2014).

Dr James Smyth, the Admissions Officer, took his degrees at the University of Glasgow and his PhD at Edinburgh University.  He joined the Department in 1993.  His principal research interests are in the social and political history of modern Scotland and his recent publications include articles on crime and punishment, housing, and the treatment of the poor

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.

Graduates in Scottish History will find opportunities for a wide variety of posts within and outside of Scotland. Some will be in history-related areas, such as teaching and work in museums and libraries; others in administration, commerce, the civil service, banking and insurance.

Success stories

Studying Scottish History at the University of Stirling proved an immensely rewarding experience. The course covered a thousand years of Scotland’s past, from the Dark Ages right up to the twentieth century, and therefore encouraged an understanding of the trends and developments that have shaped the country’s experience over the long-term.

At the same time, expert guidance by a group of dedicated and approachable tutors ensured that there was ample opportunity for in-depth study of whichever topics or periods most piqued my interest.  But the benefits of a Scottish History degree were not limited to the acquisition of knowledge.  Consistently, and particularly through a number of specially-designed assignments and modules, the course provided essential training in subject-specific skills, not to mention enhancing a range of core transferable skills. In short, I found the course challenging and exciting, and I left feeling confident about, and prepared for, the world ahead.'

Allan Kennedy BA (Hons) Scottish History, graduated 2007; MRes , graduated 2008.

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