PhD - Doctor of Philosophy


A PhD is a high level, globally-recognised qualification, rooted in original research and is rigorous and demanding. Most students are passionate about their area of interest and pursue a PhD as a result of their academic curiosity and desire for research excellence.

Hands holding fossilised skull

A PhD will typically take three to four years of full-time study, or five to six years of part-time study.

We can offer Doctoral Degrees in the following academic areas (subject to availability of academic staff for supervision) from various locations across the region.

Academic fields content

Academic fields

Academic fields

Subject to availability of academic staff, we can offer postgraduate research student supervision in the following academic areas

Academic FieldAvailable at
Archaeology UHI Orkney/Archaeology Institute -- UHI North West and Hebrides  -- UHI Shetland
Creative Practice in the Arts UHI Shetland
Energy and Engineering Environmental Research Institute  --  Scottish Association for Marine Science-- UHI Shetland -- UHI North West and Hebrides -- UHI Perth
Environmental science Environmental Research Institute  -- UHI Institute for Biodiversity and Freshwater Conservation
Health - Biomedical Sciences, Rural Health, Nursing and Midwifery Institute of Health Research & Innovation UHI -- UHI Inverness -- UHI North West and Hebrides -- UHI Perth -- UHI Moray
Gaelic and Related Studies Sabhal Mòr Ostaig  --  UHI Language Sciences Institute
History UHI Centre for History
Marine Science Scottish Association for Marine Science
Northern Studies UHI Orkney/Institute for Northern Studies -- UHI Shetland  -- UHI Inverness -- UHI Perth -- UHI North West and Hebrides -- Sabhal Mòr Ostaig -- UHI Moray
Sustainability Studies UHI Orkney -- UHI North West and Hebrides -- UHI Perth-- UHI Inverness --  Institute of Health Research & Innovation -- Scottish Association for Marine Science  -- UHI Shetland -- UHI Centre for History 
Theology UHI Highland Theological College


Some example projects undertaken across our locations content

Some example projects undertaken across our locations

Some example projects undertaken across our locations

Postgraduate students at the university undertake a diverse range of research from marine science to theology; nordic studies to sustainability; energy engineering to archaeology. Below is a small sample of projects previously researched by our students, in pursuit of their PhD or MSc by Research.

UHI Institute for Northern Studies

  • The traditional Shetland boat – its origins and developments
  • Nordic regions of Culture - intercultural links, regionalisation and communities of narrative after 1770

UHI Orkney

  • World Heritage sites in context: the creation of significance through management.
  • Coastal change and archaeological heritage in northern Scotland

UHI North, West and Hebrides

  • Linking habitat characteristics with red deer condition in the Scottish Highlands
  • The meteorological forcing of current and sea level anomalies in the Pentland Firth
  • Effective student collaboration in online environments
  • Sustainability of recycling in remote and rural communities
  • Wave energy extraction and coastal protection
  • Hospitality in adventure tourism: soft skills and natural knowledge

UHI Centre for History

  • History of sport and culture in Dornoch and the Moray Firth, c.1600 - 1800
  • Public health in the Highlands and Islands 1845 – 1912

Highland Theological College

  • Missional Ethics in the Book of Acts
  • Divine Providence and Moral Responsibility: a study of the moral implications of God’s decree

UHI Inverness

  • Mapping and Repositioning: Forestry skills for the 21st century
  • Rural community adaptation to climatic changes

UHI Centre for Health Science

  • Exploring the mechanisms of heart disease through proteome dynamics
  • Immunological phenotypes in neurodevelopmental disorders

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

  • The role of the media in the revitalisation and maintenance of the Gaelic language
  • Depictions of the young Gael in Gaelic Children's literature

Scottish Association for Marine Science

  • Arctic Fjords: simplified  modelling and the role of freshwater
  • Identification and Tracking of Harmful Algal Blooms using multi-spectral techniques from Remotely Piloted Aircraft platforms
  • Understanding Scottish bottlenose dolphin movement patterns

UHI Centre for Mountain Studies

  • An integrated sustainable  development framework for coastal and marine regions