Orkney and Shetland Studies MLitt

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What is special about this course?

This is the only course of its kind that focuses on studying the history, culture, literature, archaeology and language of the Orkney and Shetland Islands; communities of significant strategic importance through the ages.

Come with us on a journey to explore the islands’ unique culture and heritage, delivered by the prize-winning Centre for Nordic Studies team.

You will be able to progress on to research degrees once you have completed this Orkney and Shetland Studies course and you will have gained valuable personal development skills along the way.

Special features

  • Unique course content not available anywhere else
  • You are taught by local experts in Orkney and Shetland
  • We use video conferencing and a virtual learning environment to deliver the course at a distance
  • Small class sizes
  • You can also choose options in palaeography, creative writing and North Atlantic Rim studies
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards the PgCert, PgDip, or full Masters degree

Entry requirements

  • 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, such as History, Archaeology, Literature or Ethnology
  • Other disciplines, such as history, human geography and the social sciences, will also be considered

Access routes

Students can access the programme from a range of UHI undergraduate programmes including:


Core modules are:

  • Orkney and Shetland: Myths and Origins
  • Archaeological Heritage of Orkney and Shetland
  • Medieval History of Orkney and Shetland

Option modules include:

  • Early Scottish and Norse Literature
  • Historical and Cultural Perspectives of the North Atlantic Rim
  • The Orkney and Shetland Tongues


To achieve the award of MLitt Orkney and Shetland Studies you must complete a research dissertation.


Core modules are:

  • Traditional Custom, Belief and Folklore of the Northern Isles
  • Modern History of Orkney and Shetland

Option modules include:

  • Orkney and Shetland literature
  • The Language and Palaeography of Older Scots
  • Exploring Creative Writing
  • The North Atlantic Rim Literary Context

How will I study my course?

  • Full time
  • Part time (structured)
  • Part time (unstructured)
  • You will study this course through a combination of video conferenced seminars and learning through the UHI virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors and student advisor.
  • Students, including international students, can study in Orkney, or from their own locations.
  • You must attend a two-day induction in Orkney, or by video conference or online if you are based elsewhere, at the start of your course.

How long will my course last?

  • Full time: 1 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part time structured: 2 years @ 10 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

Start date

  • September
  • January

How much will my course cost?

The following fees apply to this taught postgraduate course:

2015-16 2015-16 2015-16
Scottish and EU
and online
Rest of UK
on-site and online**
Per module (20 credits) £520 £650 £780 online
£1,100 on-site
Postgraduate certificate (PgCert) £1,560 £1,950 £2,340 online
£3,300 on-site
Postgraduate diploma (PgDip) £3,120 £3,900 £4,680 online
£6,600 on-site
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £4,680 £5,850 £7,020 online
£9,900 on-site

NB: *Scottish on-site fee includes EU; **RUK online fee includes EU

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

Enquiries from employers for multiple student registrations are welcome and special fee arrangements may apply.

What funding can I apply for?

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact Orkney College UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your Masters course in Orkney and Shetland Studies, there are a variety of careers you might like to consider.  Here is just a taster of the kind of opportunities available to you:

  • Primary school teaching on completion of a PGDE(P)
  • Secondary school teaching in English or History on completion of PGDE(P)
  • Community education
  • Adult education
  • Journalism – particularly newspaper and radio
  • Working for government agencies
  • Tourism
  • Teaching on this or similar degrees


Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to PhD study at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and other institutions.

Is there more information available online?

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

Apply for Orkney and Shetland Studies MLitt

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2015 or Jan/Feb 2016

International applicants should apply using the UHI International application form. Please download and print the form, complete and return using the address indicated. More information is available for international applicants at our international student page

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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