Postgraduate: Highlands and Islands Literature, Highlands & Islands Culture, Viking Studies, Orkney and Shetland Studies, Island Studies. Undergraduate: BA (Hons) Culture and Heritage single and joint Honours; CertHE Tourist Guiding (North Highlands) training and qualifications


You will benefit from our unique research environment where small classes will give you a more personal learning experience. All our MLitt programmes are delivered using a mixture of online and video-conferencing, with students studying from Australia, Canada, Europe and across the UK. Courses are taught by our core team together with invited lecturers and writers. From our taught programmes you will be able to progress on to research degrees, gaining many valuable personal development skills along the way.

You can start in either January or September each year.

You can graduate at three different points :

  • Completion of three modules (60 credits) equates to a Postgraduate Certificate
  • a further three modules (120 credits in total) equates to a Postgraduate Diploma
  • Students who subsequently complete the Research Dissertation (180 credits in total) are awarded the MLitt degree.



For Highlands and Islands Literature, Orkney and Shetland Studies and Island Studies :

  • Postgraduate Certificate: three core modules
  • Postgraduate Diploma: Postgraduate Certificate + two core modules and one option
  • MLitt: Postgraduate Certificate + Postgraduate Diploma + Dissertation


For Highlands and Islands Culture and Viking Studies

  • Postgraduate Certificate: two core modules and one option
  • Postgraduate Diploma: Postgraduate Certificate + two core modules and one option
  • MLitt: Postgraduate Certificate + Postgraduate Diploma + Dissertation




The Institute for Northern Studies offers PhD provision within areas related to the culture, history, archaeology, literature, languages and area studies of the North Atlantic areas. Please see our staff pages for more information about available supervisors and their individual areas of expertise.

What we can offer : PhD students may work from anywhere in the world or come in to either of the Institute for Northern Studies' campuses in Kirkwall and Scalloway. As a PhD student you will be entitled to a supervisory team consisting of a director of studies and up to three additional supervisors, at least one of whom must have successfully supervised PhDs to completion in the past, and one of whom must be from our validating partner Aberdeen University. The student meets with the supervisory team at regular and frequent intervals. Students working from a remote location make use of our modern video-conferencing facilities. You will also be in contact with The University of the Highlands and Islands Graduate School which offers relevant courses and workshops and general support for the PhD student community within the university.

Signing up : Please contact the Institute for Northern Studies on +44 (0)1856 569 300 or e-mail for an initial chat about ideas and possibilities. If you have a specific supervisor in mind, please contact them directly through the contact details you can find on our staff pages.

Practical information : A PhD should normally be completed within 3 years of full-time study (part-time options are also available). Within this time, you would be required to undertake a substantial piece of independent research under the guidance of your supervisory team.

Fees information : Research postgraduate tuition fees

BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) Culture and Heritage single and joint Honour degree courses are exciting, award winning, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary.   This course has the cultural identity and communities of the Highlands and Islands at its heart.  Take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the varied and fascinating cultural identity, media, society, beliefs, images, visual research, poetry, history, folklore, heritage, music, traditions, literature and languages of our Highlands and Islands. You will learn an unprecedented amount of information and understanding of the region, its driving issues, what makes it so original, and you will study our culture and heritage in a global context.

We have fully flexible choices to help you develop key strengths as you progress through your degree towards your chosen career.   We have optional modules in Museum Studies (second year) and placement modules at third and fourth years (still in development), meaning you will gain not only a degree recognised for its originality and innovative design, but also gain real world life and work experiences.

You can study full-time, part-time structured (half time) or part-time unstructured (however many modules you prefer to study) to suit your personal circumstances.  We will work around you. You can also study individual modules with us for personal or professional development.

In addition to your own study, the learning process employs tutorials, seminars, lectures, fieldwork, case studies, and projects. Traditional learning resources such as books, journals, and other publications are important, but you will also make full use of computer-based materials and the internet, and will use email and video conference extensively as a means of communication and study.  You can study full time or part time, and will study through video conference lectures and tutorials and online study through the UHI virtual learning environment (VLE), which will be supplemented with face-to-face teaching.

Students can start the programme in either January or September each year.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above, these must include English
  • Prior learning or experience is also taken into account


How long will my course last?

  • Full time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part time (structured): 8 years @ 20 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.

There are exit points at the end of each year with the qualifications of CertHE, DipHE, BA and BA (Hons).


Short Courses


The Institute for Northern Studies offers a portfolio of summer courses, which are on offer both as bespoke events tailored to visiting groups and as open courses available for booking by individual members of the public.

We also offer evening classes for the general public. Please contact us for more information on forthcoming classes. Evening classes span a range of topics such as Shetland Culture, Orkney Dialect for Beginners, and Nordic Literatures.


Cert HE Tourist Guiding (North Highlands)


What is special about this course?

This unique one year SCQF level 7 programme aims to create fully trained Tourist Guides for the North Highlands area. Students will achieve a nationally recognised Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) Green Badge qualification, along with qualifications in managing and promoting their own businesses, as part of a higher education qualification which can then be articulated into a number of University of the Highlands and Islands degrees.

This course will appeal to those seeking to work in the tourism industry and those already working there who wish to upskill and gain recognised qualifications.

Special features

  • You will gain a nationally recognised tourist guiding qualification
  • Learn from expert academic and tourist guide trainers from the North Highlands area
  • Access extensive virtual resources
  • Take part in a residential weekend for assessment


Entry requirements

  • 2 Scottish Highers at grade C or above
  • 1 A level at grade C or above.
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis


Click here to download a full prospectus of the course


Find information and apply via the UHI website