Highlands and Islands Literature MLitt

Course code Q500

What is special about this course?

This exciting taught postgraduate literature course allows you to study the writers and literatures of the 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.

You will study three main themes throughout the course, namely:

  • landscape and identity
  • the literary and linguistic legacy for the modern period
  • the place of Highlands and Islands literature in the wider context

You will benefit from lectures and seminars by local writers, and the team at the Institute for Northern Studies. Our small classes will give you a more personal study experience during this masters course in Highlands and Islands Literature.

Special features

  • Lectures and seminars by local writers
  • A creative writing module
  • The chance to study and explore the Highland and Islands at the same time
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development, or work towards the PgCert, PgDip or full masters degree
  • You can attend the course full time or part time or from a distance using our online and video conference technologies, which means you can fit your studies around your personal and professional commitments

Entry requirements

  • 2:1 honours degree or above (or international equivalent) in English Literature
  • Applicants with a 2:1 honours degree in another strongly-related subject will be considered on an individual basis
  • A bridging unit entitled 'A Survey of Scottish Literature' is available for those without an English Literature degree or with non-standard qualifications


*Funding support notice*

Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scottish domiciled and EU students)

Loans for tuition fees are available from SAAS for eligible Scotland domiciled and EU students, and loans for living costs for eligible Scottish students.



  • Tuition fee loans (for full-time and part-time students) and living costs loans (full-time students only) to study up to PgDip level may be available for eligible applicants from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), for more information visit: http://www.saas.gov.uk/forms_and_guides/postgraduate.htm

Access routes

Students can access the programme from a range of our undergraduate programmes including:


Core modules are:

  • The Gaelic legacy
  • Writers and place
  • Literary iconographies


Core modules are:

  • A tour of the Highlands
  • Modern Scottish Gothic

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Archaeological heritage of Orkney and Shetland
  • Exploring creative writing
  • Medieval history of Orkney and Shetland
  • Picts: revealing the painted past
  • Scotland’s customs: traditional beliefs and folklore
  • Selling cold islands
  • Small island governance
  • The Highlands and Islands story


To achieve the award of MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature you must complete a research dissertation.

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 and student advisor
  • International students requiring a Student Route visa to study with us must be based at UHI Orkney during their studies. International students undertaking the course from their home country can study online and by video conference, in real-time or recordings
  • All other students can choose to study at UHI Orkney, UHI North, West and Hebrides in Stornoway, or from their own location studying online and by video conference in real-time or recordings
  • An online induction will be offered at the start of your course

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years @ 10 hours per week

The 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?

  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney College UHI

This course is delivered online with scheduled seminars and may also be of particular interest to students in Perth and Shetland who wish to study the writers and literatures of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, in the communities to which they belong.

Start date

  • September
  • January


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


Eligible Scotland-domiciled students studying full-time can access loans up to £10,000 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This comprises a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. 

Eligible Scotland-domiciled students studying part-time can apply for a tuition fee loan from SAAS. You must be intending to complete the course in no longer than twice the length of time it would take for a full-time student. For example, if your course is available to full-time students as a one-year programme, you will be funded for a maximum of two years' part-time study. If your course does not have a full-time option, you must complete within three years. You can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £5,500, which will be paid pro-rata for each academic year of study. 

Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.

Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you’ve successfully completed the MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • School teaching on completion of a relevant PGDE qualification
  • Community education
  • Adult education
  • Journalism
  • Working for government agencies
  • Tourism
  • Teaching on this or similar degrees

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to PhD study at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and other institutions.

Is there more information available online?

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Doing the MLitt in Highlands and Islands Literature changed my life! As a mature student with a young daughter, I really valued the flexibility of being able to access recordings of lectures, as well as attending face to face tutorials. The quality of the teaching on the course,  along with the support and encouragement I received throughout, gave me the skills and confidence to pursue an academic career. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue my research and stay in Orkney. 

Rebecca Ford is a final year postgraduate research student with the university’s Institute for Northern Studies.


The MLitt Highlands and Islands Literature has been universally recommended for its use of global concepts of literature in an area-specific context. It is an ideal programme for students wishing to go on to teacher training.

Professor Donna Heddle, director of the university's Institute for Northern Studies.


Apply for Highlands and Islands Literature MLitt

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2024

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.