Archaeology and Environmental Studies BSc (Hons)

Course code VF49

What is special about this course?

Do you want to study in one of the best natural and archaeological landscapes in the UK?  If the answer is yes, the BSc (Hons) Archaeology and Environmental Studies degree is for you.

This course gives you the opportunity to focus on the scientific aspects of archaeology while combining your studies with sustainability issues, techniques in field-based evidence, and ethics.

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland offer some of the best nature and heritage conservation sites in the UK and the residential field modules, which form part of your studies, will enable you to experience these while developing your environmental and archaeological skills. This skillset will provide opportunities to pursue careers across a variety of research, policy and interpretation roles, in a wide range of wildlife and heritage organisations.

Special features

  • You will have unparalleled opportunities to develop environmental and/or archaeological skills in some of the UK’s best sites for nature or heritage conservation
  • Optional field modules are available
  • Combine two subjects in this joint honours degree
  • You will undertake a work placement, 'Engaging with external agencies', in your fourth year
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development (CPD)


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

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • Applicants with other qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

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

Core modules are:

  • Principles of biology
  • Archaeological theory and method
  • Historical landscapes
  • Collecting and analysing data
  • Ecological principles: biodiversity and ID skills (including a one day residential)

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • European prehistories
  • Climate, land and people
  • Science and archaeology
  • World archaeology

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Scottish archaeology
  • Environmental processes
  • Digital heritage
  • Introduction to geographical information systems

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Excavation skills (residential): should be taken in semester 2 of year 2, as well as a compulsory field school in the summer, at a site location off-campus
  • Managing archaeology for contemporary society
  • Freshwater environments
  • Wetland archaeology
  • Marine environments
  • Society and culture in mountain regions

Year 3 - BSc

Core modules are:

  • Archaeological science
  • Archaeology and interpretation
  • Assessment of the impact of development
  • Archaeology or research skills project

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Archaeology placement
  • Prehistory of the Highlands and Islands
  • Economics of mountain regions
  • Practical environmental archaeology (residential)
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment

Year 4 - BSc (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Sustainability past and present
  • Engaging with external agencies, including a work placement

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • People, plants and animals
  • Neolithic Scotland
  • Landscape archaeology
  • Science and society
  • Conservation of biodiversity

You must also complete a dissertation (extending over both semesters) in either Archaeology or Sciences.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE) with support from your tutors
  • You may also take part in field trips

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable @ 10 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.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • HTC
  • Inverness - September start only
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • 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.

Additional costs

 You will be responsible for covering the costs of any travel and accommodation associated in your participation in the field schools

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BSc (Hons) Archaeology and Environmental Studies course, you might like to consider a career in:

  • Policy development
  • Interpretation with a range of wildlife or heritage groups including Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission
  • Archaeological contract units
  • Consultancy
  • Archives and museums
  • Government agencies and local authorities
  • Media and politics
  • Tourism and heritage management
  • Teaching
  • Research

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BSc (Hons) Archaeology and Environmental Studies to the following postgraduate courses:

Is there more information available online?

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In my 4th year I studied the module Engaging with external agencies, which involved a work placement. I was supported by the module leader to find a placement, and introduced to ADL Nature (Angus Davidson Ltd) by the Careers and employability team. As I had developed an interest in Geographical information systems (GIS) this was a perfect placement for me because the company specialised in this along with peatland restoration. 
I really enjoyed my placement and undertook all aspects of planning a peatland restoration project. The team were so friendly and welcoming that I immediately felt comfortable. At the end of my placement I managed to secure a Peatlands and data management role at the company.  
I feel incredibly lucky that my degree has given me the skills and knowledge to start a graduate role the week after I finished university, and in a job that I am already enjoying immensely. I am so glad I made the choice to go to university as it has given me this amazing opportunity. I cannot stress enough how much this decision has changed my life. I now feel so proud of what I have achieved and it has been a huge boost to my confidence. 

Jessie MacKintosh studied the BA (Hons) Archaeology and Environmental Studies. 

Apply for Archaeology and Environmental Studies BSc (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.