About Us

The Institute for Northern Studies is a leading research and teaching centre and part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. The Institute is internationally renowned for its innovative postgraduate teaching and research programmes in Orkney and Shetland Studies, Highlands and Islands Literature and Culture, Viking Studies and Islands Studies.

 Scott's House

Established in 2007, the Institute operates from three key locations...

in Orkney, Shetland, and at Perth College working with both the Orkney and Shetland Colleges and their associated learning centres and island communities. All our MLitt programmes are delivered using a mixture of on-line and video-conferencing, with students studying from Australia, Canada, European locations and across the UK.

As well as teaching, Institute staff also supervise postgraduate students researching various aspects of the history and culture of the regions of Scotland, with specialisms in archaeology, medieval history, literature and art, placename studies and with the history and culture of the North Atlantic regions.  Students can register with the Institute for a taught 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). 

We are also engaged in undergraduate study with the BA (Hons) Culture and Heritage single and joint degrees, and the CertHE Tourist Guiding (North Highlands) qualification.


Currently our staff are able to offer supervision in the following areas:

  • Viking Studies
  • Medieval and modern history and culture of the Highlands and Islands
  • Links between Scotland and the Nordic world
  • The history and culture of the Scottish islands within the North Atlantic region
  • Highlands and Islands Literature
  • Island Studies
  • The languages and dialects of Orkney and Shetland
  • Pictish studies