Module information for MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature (180 credits)


This taught postgraduate literature programme allows you to study the writers and literatures of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, in the communities to which they belong. Trace the footsteps of these inspirational creatives, explore the literary heritage of the area and experience, first hand, the diverse culture of the region.

Core modules are :

  • The Gaelic Legacy (20 credits)
    This module looks at the imaginative world of Gaelic culture through the ages and evaluates its legacy. It will explore dominant ideologies, key texts, and oral literatures. While being taught in translation, it will aim to give students confidence in the pronunciation of Gaelic and an understanding of metrics. It will look forward to the future for Gaelic literary icons.
  • Writers and Place (20 credits)
    This module will examine a range of contemporary Highland texts, exploring their key technical and thematic features, and focusing on such issues as: the role of writing in their construction of regional identity; the literary use of non-standard language; regional identity; literature and politics. The course will also feature appearances by prominent Scottish writers, who will talk about their own work in the modern Highlands and Islands context.
  • Literary Iconographies (20 credits)
    This module examines a range of contemporary Scottish/Highlands and Islands fiction and poetry from a variety of literary critical perspectives – Scottish theory, poststructuralism, deconstruction, postcolonialism, cultural materialism/new historicism, feminism – and explores a rich diversity of narrative/poetical themes and forms. It also analyses the works’ socio-historical contexts and interrogates if/how/why they interact with contemporary issues.
  • Modern Scottish Gothic (20 credits)
    Taking the history of the Gothic genre into account, it looks at modern Scottish Gothic short stories and locate them within their cultural contexts, exploring what this genre says about hegemonic discourses in Scotland today.  This module examines the role of Gothic fiction in Britain from the 18th to the 21st century. It examines the narrative themes and structures of classic Gothic novels and positions them within their contemporary discursive contexts of politics, law, science, religion, medicine and gender.
  • A Tour of the Highlands (20 credits)
    This module aims to explore the exocentric view of the Highlands and Islands expressed in historical travel writing and fiction. This module will contrast primary and secondary sources and the perceptions of non fiction writers such as Martin, Boswell, and Pennant and fiction writers such as Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg. The construct of a Highlands and Islands exoidentity will be evaluated and applied in a wider global context. The debate will be continued to the present day.
  • Research Dissertation (60 credits)
    The module aims to provide students with an opportunity to undertake a sustained, rigorous and independent investigation of some aspect of material culture and the environment. There is an online UHI postgraduate dissertation handbook for student guidance. The dissertation must consist of original work. It should be informed by the theoretical and practical knowledge and expertise which the participant has developed through other modules and/or in previously accredited learning. It should focus on a theme, topic or issue which is relevant to the subject. The resulting dissertation should not only present and interpret the research findings but also critically evaluate the research design and methodology employed; and identify the outcomes of the research in terms of actual or planned developments and changes.

You can also choose from our range of optional modules.

Programme entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree (or international equivalent) in English Literature.

A bridging unit entitled "A Survey of Scottish Literature" is available for those without and English Literature degree or with non standard qualifications

If you have an Honours degree in a cognate, or strongly-related subject, your application will be considered on an individual basis.

International students whose first language is not English must meet language competency standards as noted on the International page of our website.