About Us

The Institute for Northern Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands is a world leading research and teaching centre which was rated first in Scotland for research impact and fifth equal with the University of Oxford across the UK in the Research Excellence Framework Exercise in 2014. We are internationally renowned for our 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, we operate from three key locations at Orkney, Shetland, and Perth Colleges UHI. We also work closely with both Orkney College UHI and Shetland College UHI and their associated learning centres and island communities. All of our MLitt programmes are delivered using a mixture of online and video-conferencing, with students studying from Australia, Canada, European locations and across the UK.

As well as teaching, our 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 by Research (a one year programme) and, from there, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). 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

We also offer undergraduate study with the BA (Hons) Culture and Heritage single and joint degrees, the Cert HE in North Highlands Tourist Guiding, and the Scottish Tourist Guides Association Orkney Green Badge qualification