Gaelic and Traditional Music BA (Hons)

UCAS code QW53
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

The BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music offers traditional singers and instrumentalists an outstanding education in Gaelic musical heritage within the broader contexts of Gaelic and related studies.

The course has a strong practical element where students learn from leading musicians and are given frequent opportunities to perform and record, both at the college and further afield.

You will be based in the heart of the Gàidhealtachd at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI and have the option of studying abroad for a semester in Canada or Ireland in the honours (4th) year.

Special features

  • Study and practice traditional music in the heart of a Gaelic community on the beautiful Isle of Skye
  • Improve Gaelic language skills
  • Develop a range of practical skills for solo and group performances, learning from leading practitioners
  • Deepen your understanding of music within the wider contexts of history and cultural studies with leading specialists
  • Make important professional contacts through a variety of learning opportunities
  • Learn 'hands-on' in an outstanding dedicated recording studio
  • Study for a semester in Ireland or Canada in year 4
  • Learn vital professional skills for a successful and wide-ranging career in the music industry
  • Be part of the wider Gaelic-speaking college community and participate in a range of social activities


We offer modern student accommodation on campus ideally suited to students on this course.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above, preferably including Gaelic (learners) or Gàidhlig (fluent speakers) at grade B or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • You will be required to attend an interview to assess your Gaelic language skills and an audition to determine your level of musical ability
  • Please contact Admissions at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI for specific information regarding the musical audition requirements for this programme. Please phone 01471 888304 or email

Access routes

Year 1 - CertHE

Subjects include:

Year 2 - DipHE

Subjects include:

  • Music performance 2 (1:1 lessons, group singing
  • and ensemble classes)
  • Theory, composing and arranging 2
  • History of Gaelic music 2

Year 3 - BA

Subjects include:

  • Music performance 3 (1:1 lessons and ensemble classes)
  • Gaelic song 3 (group singing)
  • Teaching music
  • Professional, presentational and organisational skills

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Subjects include:

  • Music performance 4 (1:1 lessons, group singing and ensemble classes)
  • Themed production
  • Composing and arranging portfolio
  • Recording and producing

You must also complete a dissertation.

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, from September 2020, your course will be delivered mainly online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities and teaching will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing.
  • Full-time
  • You will learn via face-to-face lectures and tutorials, plus practical musical work at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI on the Isle of Skye and off-campus

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 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?

  • Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

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

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £11,650 £12,000
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,820 £6,000
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,940 £2,000

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music course you might like to consider a career in:

  • The music profession
  • Gaelic cultural sector
  • Gaelic media
  • Education

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

There are no other courses that offer Gaelic and Traditional Music together like this course does and I believe that my ability to now speak Gaelic will be a great asset to my career. My advice would be, don’t just do something because you feel you have to or have been pressured into it: really consider whether it’s the right path for you, and if you will truly enjoy your studies in that area.

Lauren Byrne, fourth year student, BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music.

Apply for Gaelic and Traditional Music BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2021

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate 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.