The most recent Teaching Quality Assessment by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council awarded the School of History at St Andrews the highest grade of EXCELLENT.
Teaching at subhonours level is principally by lectures (three a week) and small group tutorials (once a week). Lectures are given by all members of the School, enabling students to hear active researchers in each field talk about their specialism. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert.
It must also be stressed from the start that this classroom teaching, in lecture halls and in staff offices, is only a focus for the substantial commitment of time and effort which is required in independent study from each student.
Teaching at honours level in the final two years moves away from large group lecturing. Students meet in groups of about 15 (honours options) or about 6 (final year special subject) for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully. Students in single history honours will usually have two such classes each week and joint honours students will have one.
All students will again be required to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside the classroom.
Final year students will also write a dissertation in place of one of these weekly classes in one semester. This is supervised by a member of staff, but is essentially a piece of independent research which builds on areas of interest and skills developed in the preceding four years of study.
While the School of History remains committed to personal teaching by experts in each field and to personal contact with students, it has also been keen to use the opportunities provided by new electronic technology to supplement and develop this teaching. Virtual learning now provides very useful support for students outside the classroom and electronic sources are often used in seminars and lectures