University of Stirling

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University of Stirling
University of Stirling logo.jpg
Motto Innovation and Excellence
Type Public
Established 1967
Endowment £3.2 million (2015)[1]
Chancellor James Naughtie
Principal Gerry McCormac [2]
Chairman of the Court Fiona Sandford
Administrative staff
Students 11,100 (2014/15)[4]
Undergraduates 7,995 (2014/15)[4]
Postgraduates 3,105 (2014/15)[4]
Location Stirling, Scotland, UK

     Malachite green

and Dove grey[5]
Affiliations Association of Commonwealth Universities

The University of Stirling is a UK research intensive campus university founded by Royal charter in 1967 in Stirling, Scotland.

It is ranked among the top 60 universities in the world that are under 50 years old by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[6] In the 2014 assessment of research in the UK, Research Excellence Framework, it was ranked 5th in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity.[7]

Stirling is an international university with over 120 nationalities represented on campus.[8] It has international degree programme partnerships in Singapore, Oman and Vietnam. The University has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway.


Stirling was the first new university to be established in Scotland for nearly 400 years.[9]

The original site of the campus was selected from a shortlist of competing sites. The Robbins report's author, Lord Robbins, was later appointed the University's first Chancellor in 1968.

In 1967 a house for the University Principal Dr Tom Cottrell was completed, designed by architects Morris and Steedman. It was listed as category A in 2009.[10]

The Pathfoot Building opened in 1968

The Pathfoot Building was completed in 1968 and originally housed the University's principal facilities. The building was extended in 1979 to include a Tropical Aquarium and again in 1987 to include a Virology Unit.

In 1970 development began on what was subsequently named the Cottrell Building, following the premature death of Dr Cottrell. It houses lecture theatres, departmental offices, classrooms and computer labs.The University Library and what was renamed the Andrew Miller Building (after a former Principal) were completed in 1971.[11]

Unfortunately, Stirling is still best known for the events of 13 October 1972 when HM The Queen was subjected to a rowdy reception by students, widely reported in the media. Although calls for it to be closed were rejected, some years later it, along with a number of other universities, suffered drastic cuts in public funding from which it took many years to recover.

The world-renowned Institute of Aquaculture was opened in 1982, the R.G. Bomont Building (named after the second University Secretary) completed in 1998, the Iris Murdoch building opened in 2002 housing The Dementia Services Development Centre, and the Colin Bell Building (named after a deceased Principal) completed in 2003.

In 1993 the Pathfoot Building was selected by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of sixty key Scottish monuments of the post-war era. It was also voted as one of Prospect's 100 best modern Scottish buildings.

In 2002, the University of Stirling and the landscape of the Airthrey Estate was designated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites as one of the top 20 heritage sites of the 20th century within the UK.[12]


Airthrey Castle
Airthrey Castle

The University campus is set within 330 acres (1.3 km2) of grounds beneath the Ochil Hills, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the centre of Stirling, close to the town of Bridge of Allan.

It is regularly described as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world[13] and was ranked 1st for campus environment in the International Student Barometer, 2012.[14]

It is situated on the site of the historic Airthrey estate which includes the Robert Adam-designed 18th century Airthrey Castle and includes the Hermitage woods, Airthrey Loch,[15] Airthrey Golf Course[16] and a 50-metre swimming pool.[17]

The Andrew Miller Building incorporates an Atrium, which contains several retail and food outlets including a bookstore, bank and general store. This building links the Library and Robbins' Centre Students Union and has connecting bridges to the Cottrell Building, on-campus student residences and the MacRobert Arts Centre.

Airthrey Loch, the University's Cottrell Building and the Wallace Monument.

The Library holds over 500,000 volumes and over 9,000 journals. It reopened in August 2010 after a major refurbishment programme.

MacRobert Arts Centre is a small theatre and cinema complex open to members of the University community and the general public.

The University has a considerable fine art collection in the Pathfoot Building, comprising over 300 works including paintings, tapestries and sculpture.[18]


Willow Court, Halls of Residence

The University of Stirling offers almost 3,000 bed spaces spread over 20 properties located on and off campus.[19]

There are 2,000 residential bed spaces located on-campus, including 800 within brand new accommodation built as part of a £40m investment programme in student accommodation which was completed in September 2015.[20]

Halls of Residence located on-campus include:

  • Andrew Stewart Hall
  • Beech Court Flats & Studios
  • Fraser of Allander House
  • H H Donnelly House
  • Muirhead House
  • Polwarth House
  • Willow Court Flats & Studios
  • Juniper Court Flats & Studios
  • Union Street, Stirling

Residential buildings located off-campus, within Stirling city centre, include Union Street and John Forty's Court.

Sport facilities[edit]

National Swimming Academy

Stirling was designated as Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence by the Scottish Government in 2008.

[21] Scholarships are available in five core sports: football, golf, swimming, tennis and triathlon, which allow student athletes to prepare for international competition.[22]

The University has a comprehensive range of sports facilities including its own 9-hole Airthrey Golf Course[16] and a 50-metre swimming pool[17] completed in 2001 as part of the National Swimming Academy - a partnership between the University, Scottish Swimming and British Swimming.

The sports centre also holds the Gannochy National Tennis Centre, badminton and squash courts, a fitness centre, strength and conditioning centre, sports halls and all-weather playing fields available for students, University staff and the public.

The campus has been selected as the headquarters for a number of sports agencies including the sportscotland institute of sport, Commonwealth Games Scotland, Scottish Swimming and triathlonscotland. Falkirk FC opened a football academy on campus in 2008.

Highland and Western Isles campuses[edit]

The University has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway which specialise in Nursing and Midwifery.

The Highland site is on the outskirts of Inverness within the grounds of Raigmore Hospital. The site has purpose-built teaching facilities and student accommodation.The Highland Health Sciences Library is also located on this campus and caters for both the students and staff of the University, as well as the employees of NHS Highland and its associated Trusts.

The Western Isles campus is located in Stornoway and the teaching accommodation is part of the Western Isles Hospital. This is a small campus site and also has student accommodation within the environs of the hospital.

International degree partnerships[edit]

The University has international degree programme partnerships in Singapore,[23] Oman and Vietnam.[24]

Organisation and governance[edit]

As of March 2016, the University is split into five Faculties and Stirling Graduate School.[25]

  • Faculty of Social Sciences
    • Applied Social Sciences
    • Education
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    • Communications, Media and Culture
    • History and Politics
    • Law and Philosophy
    • Literature and Languages
    • London Academy of Diplomacy
  • Stirling Management School
    • Accounting & Finance
    • Economics
    • Management, Work and Organisation
    • Marketing and Retail
    • Centre for Advanced Management Education
    • Centre for Graduate Research in Management
  • Faculty of Natural Sciences
    • Aquaculture
    • Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • Computing Science and Mathematics
    • Psychology
  • Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
    • Sport
    • Health Sciences


The University of Stirling's constitution is laid out in its Royal Charter. University Court is the governing and financial body of the University and the Academic Council looks after academic affairs[26]

Day-to-day management of the University is undertaken by the University Principal (who is also Vice-Chancellor). The Chancellor is James Naughtie and the Principal is Gerry McCormac.[27]

The University's constitution, academic regulations, and appointments are outlined in the University calendar.[28]

University Court[edit]

The University's governing body is the University Court. It has overall responsibility for the management of the University's resources, the ongoing strategic direction of the University and the approval of major developments.

The Court meets four times over the course of the academic year. In May 2015 the University announced Fiona Sandford would be their new Chair of Court, taking up the post on 1 August 2015, for a period of four years.[29]

Stirling's University Court has had a number of well known members including James Naughtie and Alistair Moffat.

Academic Council[edit]

Academic Council is the body responsible for the management of academic affairs, awarding of all degrees, and for the regulation and superintendence of the education, discipline and welfare of the students of the University. The Council consists of various academics and is chaired by the Principal of the university.

Academic profile[edit]


Stirling has offered modular degree programmes since its inception. The first teaching semester lasts from mid-September to mid-December and the second from the beginning of January to the end of May.

The University has more than 256 courses (including combination courses) at undergraduate degree level and more than 100 at postgraduate level.[30]

Stirling achieved a 5 Star Excellence Award for Teaching by QS in 2015.[31]


Stirling is an interdisciplinary research-intensive University focused on research areas including Health and Wellbeing; Culture and Society; Environment; Enterprise and the Economy; and Sport.

In the 2014 assessment of research in the UK, the Research Excellence Framework, the University was ranked 5th in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity.[7] The Research Excellence Framework also rated almost three quarters of research activity either world-leading or internationally excellent. Other rankings include:

  • 4th in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science
  • 1st in Scotland and 12th in the UK for Health Sciences
  • 3rd in Scotland and 18th in the UK for Psychology
  • In the top 25 UK institutions for Business and Management
  • 17th in the UK for Social Work and Social Policy
  • 100% of Psychology Impact case studies classed as world-leading[32]

The University is home to a number of specialist research centres:

  • Institute of Aquaculture[33]
  • Dementia Services Development Centre[34]
  • Institute for Social Marketing[35]
  • Institute for Retail Studies[36]
  • The Cancer Care Research Centre[37]
  • Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection (CCWP)[38]
  • Centre for Environmental History and Policy[39]
  • Stirling Media Research Institute[40]
  • Behavioural Science Centre[41]

The University of Stirling's research publications database, STORRE, is a source of free, full-text access to the University's research outputs.[42]

Business links[edit]

The University has major industrial research links through Stirling University Innovation Park. This large science park was founded in 1993 and is located adjacent to the main university campus. It is home to more than 50 companies engaging in various forms of research and development.[43]

The university also owns an International Conference Centre, Stirling Court Hotel, which is a purpose built conference and management training centre located on campus.

The University is ranked 7th in the UK for graduate employability using new data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, with 96% of graduates in employment, or further study, within six months of graduating.[44]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

(2015/16, national)
(2015/16, world)
(2015/16, national)
(2015/16, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[49]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[50]
(2016, national)

The University is ranked among the top 60 universities in the world under 50 years old by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[6]

Stirling ranked 5th in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity[7] in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

The University is ranked 7th in the UK for graduate employability by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 96% of graduates are in employment, or further study, within six months of graduating.[44]

Stirling achieved an overall 5 stars in the QS World University Rankings 2015[51]

In The Complete University Guide 2017, Stirling is ranked 1st in the UK for Social Work,[52] 2nd in Scotland for Communication and Media Studies and 2nd in Scotland for Marketing.

The University was one of the twenty institutions that was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary prize in 2014; the prize for Higher and Further Education for ground-breaking research recognised work led by the Institute of Social Marketing into the effects of tobacco, alcohol and food marketing on the health of young people.[53]

The Institute of Aquaculture is the top rated aquaculture department in the United Kingdom[54]

In March 2016, the University of Stirling Management School was accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) for its MBA and MBM programmes.

Student life[edit]

Students' Union[edit]

The University of Stirling Students' Union[55] is based in the University's Robbins Centre Students' Union on campus and is affiliated to the National Union of Students.

The Union provides students with entertainment, welfare and information services and represents students interests to organisations including the University itself. Senior members of the Union are entitled to seats on the University Court.[56]

The Union supports more than 60 clubs and societies. The Sports Union supports 53 sports clubs.

The University has student-run media services. Brig has been the campus newspaper since 1969. Air3 Radio, was the first campus radio station in Scotland (previously URA – University Radio Airthrey), and AirTV (formerly Videoworks) is a television station for students, set up in 2002.

Notable academics and alumni[edit]








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  2. ^ "Gerry McCormac". 
  3. ^ Scottish funding council (September 2004). "Scottish Funding Council – Description of Human Resources Management Modernisation in the University Sector" (PDF). Stirling University. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
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  5. ^ Charter iof the University of Stirling
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  9. ^ "About us – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
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  18. ^ "Art at Stirling". Stirling University. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  19. ^ "Properties – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
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  21. ^ "Stirling Overview". Stirling University. Archived from the original on 9 October 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
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  23. ^ "'Retail Marketing (Singapore)'". Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "Media and Communications Management (Vietnam)". Retrieved 7 January 2016. 
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  36. ^ "Institute for Retail Studies – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  37. ^ "The Cancer Care Research Centre – The Cancer Care Research Centre – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  38. ^ "The Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  39. ^ "Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  40. ^ "Stirling Media Research Institute – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  41. ^ "Behavioural Science – University of Stirling". Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  42. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2016-03-02. 
  43. ^ "About Us". Stirling University Innovation Park. Retrieved 5 April 2007. 
  44. ^ a b "Top 10 universities for getting a job (Oxbridge doesn't make the grade)". Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  45. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2015/16 - United Kingdom". Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
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  53. ^ "Winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prizes announced". (Press release). 3 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°08′44″N 3°55′10″W / 56.1455°N 3.9195°W / 56.1455; -3.9195