Module information for MLitt Orkney and Shetland Studies (180 credits)


Our unique programme of Orkney and Shetland Studies focuses on studying the history, culture, literature, archaeology and language of the Orkney and Shetland Islands; communities of significant strategic importance through the ages.

Core modules are :

Orkney and Shetland: Myths and Origins (20 credits)

This module will evaluate and analyse the different primary sources for information on the earliest days and perceived origins of the Orkney and Shetland Islands. It will also look at the effect on present day perceptions of identity and history.

Archaeological Heritage of Orkney and Shetland (20 credits)

The module is intended as an introduction to the Northern Isles archaeological heritage, the material element of the region’s cultural identity. By looking at buildings, farming landscapes and portable artefacts the module will outline the development of Northern Isles society from the Mesolithic to the Viking period. The module will introduce concepts such as the human impact on the environment, inter-cultural contacts, technology and social evolution.

Medieval History of Orkney and Shetland (20 credits)

This module will make a comparative analysis of the history of Orkney and Shetland in the medieval period from AD 500- AD 1500. It will assess the significance and the legacy of the Picts, the Norse, and the Scots in the development of the Northern isles.

Scotland’s Customs: Traditional Beliefs and Folklore (20 credits)

This module will investigate the range of traditions in custom and belief, both religious and social, ancient and modern, which influence the lives of families and communities in Scotland even in this day and age. They include the ancient roots of Scottish Folk Belief, Gaelic and Norse elements of folklore, local calendar customs and others. These beliefs and practices will be placed in their cultural, historical and geographical context.

Modern History of Orkney and Shetland (20 credits)

This module will make a comparative analysis of the history of Orkney and Shetland in the modern period from AD1500 to the present. It will assess the political, social, and economic impact of internal and external factors on the development of the Northern isles.

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 a relevant subject, such as History, Archaeology, Literature, or Ethnology. Other disciplines, such as human geography and the social sciences, will also be considered

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