Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History MSc

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What is special about this course?

This ground-breaking, internationally acclaimed masters programme offers you a unique opportunity to investigate Gaelic culture – entirely through the language of the Gaels themselves.

The course gives you the chance to study in-depth the extraordinary transformations affecting the Gaelic world during recent centuries up to the present day, drawing upon the wealth of material culture, literature, tradition, and language of the people of the Highlands.

You may already be knowledgeable on the tradition, material culture and history of different Highland districts. By placing them in a wider regional context through your studies, with a specific focus on material culture – the many objects made and used in the Highlands – you will attain a deeper understanding of the world of the Gaels, both past and present.

The course is taught in Gaelic, from a Gaelic perspective, by internationally recognised scholars, therefore communicative ability in the language is essential.

Special features

  • It is available to study entirely online
  • You can fit your studies around your personal and professional commitments
  • Emphasis on developing skills in fieldwork, oral interviewing and archival research
  • Building strong links with local communities, local and national museums and agencies
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards the PgCert, PgDip or masters degree

Entry requirements

  • 2:2 honours degree or above in a relevant subject
  • Applicants without these qualifications but with relevant professional experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • A good standard of fluency in Gaelic is necessary


Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scottish-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

Direct entry from our own Gaelic-medium degrees.


Core modules are:

  • Material culture and European ethnology
  • Research methods
  • Settlement and land use


Core modules are:

  • Historical perspectives
  • Contemporary issues

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Environmental evolution and sustainability
  • Regions and identities
  • Migration: cultural continuity and change


To achieve the award of MSc you must complete a research dissertation.

How will I study my course?

  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured) - this option allows you to be more flexible regarding the length of time you may take to complete the course and the pathways to completion are less likely to be pre-set
  • Assessment methods involve a mixture of projects and fieldwork assignments
  • You will be required to attend an induction session at the start of the course, either face-to-face at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI on the Isle of Skye or online
  • This course may be studied by international students from your home country

How long will my course last?

  • Part-time (structured): 3 years @ 12-16 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): 6 years @ 10 hours per week

The number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which will include 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


The following fees apply to this taught postgraduate course:

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
Rest of UK
(inc EU)
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £900
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,700
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,400
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,120

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 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. Contact Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

  • Positions within the heritage sector; museums; community groups; the media; creative industries; the public sector; developmental and environmental agencies; and PhD research

Can I progress into further study?

  • PhD or other research

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

The thing I enjoy most about this MSc is studying the different aspects of highland heritage and history through the medium of Gaelic. I also enjoy taking part in the extra-curricular activities that are open to both students and staff alike to promote Gaelic as a community and social language, such as the drama group, Gaelic conversation circle and outdoor activities (eg hiking, kayaking).

Holley McCoy is studying part time on the MSc Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History at our Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI campus.

Apply for Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History MSc

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2020

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.