Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures MLitt

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What is special about this course?

The sea has often acted as a highway for people living along adjacent coasts and on islands; such communities have frequently experienced closer ties with each other than with places further inland. The MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures explores these environments from an interdisciplinary perspective.

This course is based on the internationally significant and world-class research of the staff involved and is led by the university’s Centre for History, in collaboration with our Archaeology Institute and Institute for Northern Studies. MLitt students will study two modules in history, archaeology and northern studies, and then complete a dissertation. 

This programme will be of interest to those wishing to develop transferable skills with respect to coastal and maritime themes, and to all who wish to pursue further arts and humanities-based research in these areas.

Taught from the Highlands and Islands, the MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures is available to study from anywhere in the world.

"This masters degree will forever change the way you look at the places where salt water meets the shore." Dr Julie Brown (Professor in English Literature, Clatsop Community College, Oregon, USA).

Special features

  • Study on the first ever coastal and maritime themed masters programme
  • Opportunity to gain new perspectives on the coast and sea
  • Support from expert staff at the university’s Centre for History, Archaeology Institute and Institute for Northern Studies, throughout your studies
  • Study online through the university's virtual learning environment which means you can fit your studies around your personal and professional commitments, where it suits you, in the UK and internationally
  • Opportunity to study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards a PgCert, PgDip, or full masters (MLitt) degree

Entry requirements

  • 2:1 honours degree or above (or international equivalent) in: history; Scottish history; archaeology; or culture and heritage studies
  • Those with degrees in another strongly-related subject will be considered on an individual basis


*Funding support notice*

Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scotland-domiciled and EU students)

Loans for tuition fees are available from SAAS for eligible Scotland-domiciled and EU students, and loans for living costs for eligible Scottish students.

Access routes

  • Students can progress from our own degrees in History, Archaeology and Culture and Heritage Studies


Core modules are:

  • Primary sources in history
  • Archaeology of the Highlands and Islands 
  • From Atlantis to Utopia: the nature of ‘islandness’


You will choose one option module from each of history, archaeology and northern studies which may include:


  • Rivers, ports and coasts in European history
  • Maritime lives: the Scottish northern isles during the Early Modern period
  • The lordship of the isles
  • Introduction to palaeography and languages for North Atlantic history
  • Varieties of history


  • Maritime archaeology and heritage of Scotland
  • Vikings and Norse in the North Atlantic
  • Iron Age Scotland in the Atlantic world
  • Neolithic studies

Nordic studies

  • From Muckle Flugga to Pladda: the Scottish Islands
  • Celts and Vikings in the North Atlantic Rim
  • Vikings in the Scottish Islands and the Irish Sea region
  • Traditional customs and beliefs of the Highlands and Islands
  • Medieval history of Orkney and Shetland


To achieve the award of MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures you must complete a research dissertation which will be taken in any one of the three subject areas of history, archaeology or northern studies.

How will I study my course?

  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (Structured)
  • Part-time (Unstructured)

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year @ 35 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years @ 17.5 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): up to 6 years

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

Where can I study my course?

  • UHI Centre for History

Start date

  • September
  • January


Rest of UK
(inc EU)
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £960
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,880
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,760
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,640

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


From 2017, eligible Scotland-domiciled students studying full-time for any taught postgraduate course, up to full Masters level, can access loans up to £10,000 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This comprises a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. EU students studying full-time can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £5,500.

Part-time students undertaking any taught postgraduate course over two years up to Masters level, who meet the residency eligibility, can apply for a for a tuition fee loan up to £2,750 per year.

Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.

Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company.

External scholarships and financial support may be available.

For further information on funding see the UHI website.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider a career in: the coastal and/or maritime heritage sector; teaching; the media; journalism; community or adult education; or museums and libraries.

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to consider progression to a postgraduate research degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands or elsewhere.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

Our staff draw on their research interests in Scottish, British and imperial history, maritime history, and sport, as well as palaeography and languages of the North Atlantic. Students receive a thorough grounding, also, in the ‘history of history’ and the major approaches that historians have taken to our subject.

Our programmes train students in the research methods used by historians and seek to open up a range of new perspectives on local, regional, national and global themes, from the medieval to the modern.

Dr David Worthington, head of the Centre for History and programme leader for the MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Culture.

Apply for Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures MLitt

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2020 or Aug/Sep 2020 or Jan/Feb 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.