Culture, Heritage and Archaeology BA (Hons)

Course code V90A

What is special about this course?

This joint degree gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in both the cultural and physical identities of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. As well as exploring the fascinating and varied cultural heritage of the region, you will also acquire the practical skills required for archaeological fieldwork, surveying and post-excavation.

Archaeology is closely linked to the distinctive cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands as well as wider Scotland, and you will develop a wealth of skills in both disciplines through your studies and fieldwork. Your research skills will be refined throughout the course, enhancing your career prospects as well as equipping you for progression to postgraduate study.

Please see our FAQ sheet for further information on this course.

Special features

  • Study the culture, heritage and archaeology of the Highlands and Islands in a global context
  • Choose from a range of interdisciplinary subjects to suit your own research interests and career path
  • Undertake highly practical modules, allowing you to develop 'on-the-job' skills needed by the modern archaeologist, and fully transferrable across the heritage sector
  • Study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances
  • Study individual modules for personal and professional development


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

Entry to year one:

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • At least two should be from the list of relevant academic subjects
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

Advanced entry to year two:

  • HNC Social Sciences (12 SQA credits) with 3 additional SQA credits at level 7, which is equivalent to 120 degree credit points, and at least grade C in the Graded Unit will be considered for direct entry to year two

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Culture and heritage

You will study two core modules:

  • Scotland: the brand OR What is culture? (S1)
  • Culture. Heritage. What? OR Scotland's music (S2)


You will study two core modules:

  • Archaeological theory and method AND one of the following:
  • Historic landscapes
  • World archaeology
  • European prehistories
  • Archaeology and the lab (subject to validation)

You will also choose two option modules from across the university's humanities portfolio.

Year 2 - DipHE

Culture and heritage

You will study one core module:

  • Tradition, custom and belief OR Folklore (S1)

PLUS one of the following (S2):

  • Golden mead and burning hearts
  • Languages on the edge
  • Displaying the past: museum studies


You will study one core module:

  • Excavation skills - normally taken during the Summer vacation prior to the commencement of year two, at a site location off-campus. You will be responsible for covering the costs of any travel and subsistence associated with your participation in this two-week module

PLUS one of the following:

  • Scottish archaeology
  • Managing archaeology for contemporary society
  • Digital heritage

You will also choose two option modules from across the university's humanities portfolio.

Year 3 - BA

Culture and heritage

You will study one core module:

  • Interdisciplinary project (S1) (you can substitute this module for one from the list below if you choose to take the archaeology project option)

PLUS two options which may include:

  • Perceptions of heritage (S2)
  • Celtic and Celtic revival art in Scotland 600-2000 (S2)
  • Scotland in film (S1)
  • The Scottish Enlightenment and Highland society* (S2)
  • People and the natural environment* (S2)

* modules run on alternate years


You will study two core modules:

  • Archaeological sciences
  • Archaeology and interpretation

Plus one of the following:

  • Pre-history of the highlands and islands
  • Historical archaeology of the highlands and islands
  • Project (archaeology)
  • Practical environmental archaeology (subject to validation)

You will also choose one option module from across the range of humanities subjects.

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

You will complete a dissertation in culture and heritage or archaeology. You will also study one option module from your chosen dissertation subject, plus three option modules from the other subject.

Culture and heritage

  • Scottish tradition in philosophy (S1)
  • Faeries and fables: the story of Gaelic literature (S1)
  • Highland journeys (S2)
  • Vikings and Valkyries (S2)


  • Funerary and burial archaeology
  • Maritime archaeology and heritage of Northern Scotland
  • Iron Age of Scotland c. 800 BC - 800 AD  
  • Vikings and Norse archaeology in the North Atlantic
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Neolithic Orkney
  • Sustainability past and present

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of scheduled video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors. There is normally a weekly two-hour timetabled video conference lecture for each module. You will also undertake practical archaeology fieldwork and project work.
  • International students requiring a Student Route visa to study in the UK should apply to UHI Orkney and must be based there during their studies.
  • For more information, or if you have any questions about studying archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands, please contact us at:

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Shetland

Start date

  • September


Find out more about fees, fee waivers and funding options.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Culture, Heritage and Archaeology, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Primary and secondary teaching  
  • Archaeological field unit 
  • Tourism 
  • Interpretation with a range of wildlife or heritage groups, including Historic Environment Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, NatureScot, and Scottish Forestry 
  • Research and academia  
  • Museums and archives 
  • Developer-funded archaeology 
  • Policy development  
  • Community development  
  • Journalism and the media

Is there more information available online?

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You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I love Shetland and couldn’t really imagine living in a city. This course allows me to study while continuing to work and live in the same place. Through my work I have a passion for Shetland and the History of the Highlands and Islands, so this course seemed to be the perfect progression in my education.

Ailish Parham, BA (Hons) Culture and Heritage student.

Apply for Culture, Heritage and Archaeology BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2023

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.