MLitt by Research / MPhil / PhD

Students can register with the Centre for a research degree programme on a full-time or a part-time basis, for the award of Master of Letters by Research (MLitt), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and, from there, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

MRes History

For the MRes History, students undertake a research programme leading to the submission of a thesis of a maximum of 40,000 words. The programme is designed for those wishing to either do postgraduate research, but not to move to the stage of completing a PhD or find a pathway to PhD studies but regarding whom, for other reasons, a taught MLitt is unfeasible or impractical.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

For the MPhil, students undertake a research programme leading to the submission of a thesis of a maximum of 70,000 words.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

For the PhD, students undertake a research programme leading to the submission of a thesis of a maximum of 100,000 words.

Research students have access to a range of facilities in the Centre, including a dedicated study space, computer and library facilities. PhD students also have the opportunity to take part in the Centre’s extensive programme of public engagement and to work with local heritage bodies and the community.

The Centre’s research students receive support from UHI’s Graduate School and Research Office. All postgraduate research students undergo an intensive programme of induction, organised by the Graduate School. This three-day event brings together doctoral students from across the University to undergo training in research, how to write a PhD, the University’s resources for research and the supervisory process. Each year, the Graduate School organises a Postgraduate Conference, which provides students with the opportunity to present their research to a university-wide audience. In addition, the Graduate School also offers a range of workshops and training programmes throughout the year and students have access to funds to support travel to archives and conferences.

Research students at the Centre benefit from our close relationship with local archives and libraries, including the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness and Inverness Museum and Gallery. Collections include a wide range of local, regional, national and international material, including the archives of the Caledonian Societies of Kenya and Zanzibar, donated to the Highland Archive Centre by one of our former MLitt students, Robert Lewis-Lettington. An interactive map of archives in the region may be found here.

UHI also subscribes to a wide range of digital primary source collections, including Adam Matthew Digital.

For further information on undertaking a research degree at the UHI Centre for History, please contact . Information on fees and funding can be found on the UHI website.

Current research students

Mary Souter (PhD)

Mary graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands in 2013 with a first class BA (Hons) in Scottish History. She became interested in the history of health in the Highlands and Islands when undertaking research for her undergraduate dissertation on Inverness District Lunatic Asylum in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After completing a module from the Strathclyde/Glasgow Caledonian Universities MSc in Health History course called Health and Healthcare in the Long Nineteenth Century, she began a PhD with UHI in 2015. The research focuses on public health in the Highlands and Islands from 1845 when the government began to a play a more active role in people’s health up to 1912 when the Dewar Commission marked the beginning of more radical health interventions. She is particularly interested in how public health issues and solutions in the most northerly counties differed from other parts of Scotland and will consider geographical, social, technical and economic circumstances.

Mary is looking forward to exploring the archives in Orkney and Shetland this summer when she also intends to fit some walking and sight-seeing into her visits.

Linda Ross (PhD)

Linda joined the UHI Centre for History in October 2015 and is undertaking an AHRC-funded collaborative doctorate with UHI and Historic Environment Scotland. Prior to this she received a MA (hons) in History of Art / English Literature from the University of Glasgow and a PGDip in Museum & Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews. Following this she spent nine years working as Curator at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

Linda brings her love for industrial heritage and the built environment to this PhD studentship, which focuses on the impact of Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment on the far north of Scotland. Her research will explore its impact on the built environment, the community and the north, all aspects which are interlinked and which had a particularly significant effect on the town of Thurso.

Outwith her studies Linda is a keen Polaroid photographer, mainly shooting industrial or architectural sites in black and white. She adores the Highlands and Islands, and is happiest when out and about exploring the area.

Joanna Rodgers (PhD)


Joanna joined the UHI Centre for History in October 2016. Her PhD project is entitled ‘Understanding the interplay between Scottish heritage and ancestral tourism’ and her Director of Studies is Dr Robertson. Joanna’s research explores the ways in which ancestral tourism affects perceptions of Scottish heritage for both visitors and residents. The project is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Joanna joins the Centre for History from the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), a 5-star heritage attraction where she spent three years in the Operations & Public Engagement team. Prior to this she was awarded an MA (Hons.) in International Relations and Modern History, and an M.Litt in Modern History, both at the University of St Andrews.

Joanna is delighted to return to the Highlands & Islands, having left Lochaber after school. Outwith her studies she makes the most of everything the area offers – wild camping, island-hopping, hill-running and the vibrant traditional music scene.


Completed research students

Wade Cormack PhD

Wade joined the UHI Centre for History as the recipient of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club / UHI Development Office-funded Royal Dornoch PhD Studentship and commenced his study in September 2013, under the supervision of Dr David Worthington.  Hailing from Canada, Wade holds a BAS (Hons) and a MA in History from the University of Guelph.  

Wade's research explores the history of sport and culture in the Moray Firth region from the 17th to the 19th century.  His research looks into the cultural factors that influenced sporting practices through an examination of archery, golf, football and shinty, while also investigating sport's place in festival celebrations.  As part of his studentship, Wade is working closely with the Royal Dornoch Golf Club to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of golf in Dornoch, which is set for 2016, and engaging with the public through a series of public talks.

In addition to his historical research, Wade likes to get out and enjoy the links with a round or two of golf, if he is not out exploring the Highlands on foot. 


David Taylor PhD

Having retired in the summer of 2009, David decided to undertake a PhD with the Centre for History, starting in October 2009. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in Scottish Historical Studies in 1972, and then embarked on a career as a history teacher, spending the last 30 years as Principal Teacher of History and Modern Studies in Kingussie High School.

The theme of David’s PhD was social and economic change in Badenoch, 1750-1800. This ranged widely over such issues as landownership, estate management, tacksmen, agriculture, sheep-farming, sport, economic problems, famine and migration. David’s research focused on Badenoch because he has become fascinated by the deserted and largely forgotten settlements which litter the hillsides in the area, and also because it is one of the relatively untouched areas of Highland history.

Apart from history, David has a keen interest in the traditional music scene in the Highlands, and has been involved with the teaching of folk music and piping over many years.

Darren Tierney PhD

Darren joined the Centre for History as a PhD research student in September 2010. He holds an LLb (Hons) from Glasgow Caledonian University and a MLitt in History (with merit) from the University of Glasgow. Prior to joining the Centre, he worked for two years in the welfare-to-work sector.

Darren's research focused on 19th Century Catholicism in Scotland, with particular reference to lay wills, gifts and legacies. The project sought to establish the importance of the Highlands laity to the Scottish Mission by considering not only monetary gifts and legacies but also those that took on a non-monetary form. In doing so it threw new light on the interaction between the laity and the clergy (and bishops) and generally added a new level of detail to our understanding of Catholicism in the region.

In addition to his own research, Darren also assisteds with teaching at the Centre and has recently taken on the role of Newsletter and Seminar Series Co-ordinator for the Scottish Catholic Historical Association.

Bob Chambers PhD

Bob, who was the first doctoral student to register at the Centre on us being validated as a research area back in 2008, was awarded his PhD in April 2013. Bob’s thesis was entitled ‘Inter-war land settlement scheme impacts on Skye and the Outer Hebrides’.

Cathel Hutchison

Cathel completed his MLitt by Research with us as early as 2007. His thesis was entitled ‘Tartan entrepreneurs in nineteenth century Canada: the importance of a Highland origin in determining their success’.