Archaeology courses

You may have decided that you want to go to university (undergraduate) or you may have decided that you want to continue at university (postgraduate) or undertake some professional CPD. But where and what course?

You will no doubt look at all the university websites and Facebook pages, but also take some time and ask yourself, “Where do I want to live ?” You will be spending one to four years there and so you need to know that it is the right place for you.

Dan Lee with students at the Ness of Brodgar excavation in Orkney.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute will offer you the opportunity not only to study in a world-class archaeological environment but also live in a truly amazing place. Whether that is in the Orkney, Shetland, The Hebrides or The Highland college campuses.


In effect, the Archaeology Institute has its hub in Orkney College but has students across the UHI college locations. They are all linked by video conferencing and so if you decide to study in, say, Inverness, Perth, Shetland or Lews Castle College, you will have access to resources of the institute in Orkney and even attend lectures over a video link.

It works very well and gives you the flexibility to study no matter where you are in Scotland. You also have the opportunity to change location during your study and continue with your course, if you need to.

There are a number of routes into studying archaeology at the Institute and if you look at our website you will see the full details of each course ( here ).

Click through to our student stories page to see how several of our students have progressed. Also take a look at our You Tube Channel to give you a flavour of the work we carry out.

Set out below is a pocket guide to our courses at The  University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute. To apply, click here, which will take you through to the University of the Highlands and Islands website.

Access Course

This course is designed for students who want to discover archaeology and is really an introduction to the subject.

It is open to anyone who wants to learn about archaeology and will involve two hours per week taught classes. The course is available through the UHI virtual learning network (in other words – over the internet). So that means you can work from anywhere that has an internet connection. Teaching will focus on the archaeology and history of the north of Scotland. We use local tutors for support where necessary.

To apply or need answers to your questions then e-mail us at

Introduction to archaeology

The course is aimed at people who are interested in the history and archaeology of Scotland and is designed to be an introduction to the fascinating landscape of the British Isles.

Students will not only study how landscapes have changed over time but also investigate an area of landscape in detail and learn how to conduct a Desk Based Assessment (DBA) on an area of landscape of their choice – a key employment skill in archaeology.

Undergraduate degrees

UHI Archaeology Institute lecturer Martin Carruthers during a field trip to Skara Brae, Orkney.

These courses are designed for students who want to qualify with a Honours Degree. You will need three Scottish Highers at grade C or above or two A Levels at grade C or above.

You can study part-time or full-time and you can choose where you study at the University of the Highlands and Islands colleges, including Argyll College, Highland Theological College, Inverness College, Lews Castle College, Moray College, North Highland College, Orkney College, Perth College, Shetland College and West Highland College.

For more details contact Martin Carruthers on (01856) 569321 or e-mail To apply for any of the above degree courses, you have to go through UCAS click here.

Masters degrees

These courses are designed for students who have already obtained a 2:2 Honours degree or above in archaeology or a relevant subject or equivalent academic or professional qualifications. However, candidates who possess experience in archaeology or a related field may also be able to apply. If in doubt then just get in touch with us.

For more details, contact Dr Ingrid Mainland on (01856) 569225 or e-mail

You don’t have to study a whole masters course. You can complete individual modules that support your own requirements, for example, if you want to complete a stand-alone module to support your own professional CPD.

Contact or ring (01856) 569225.

This course requires a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Candidates without formal qualifications, or with less than a 2:1 but with professional experience evidenced by their portfolio, will also be considered.

For more details, contact Dr Antonia Thomas.

Research degrees

  • You can also study for either MPhil (Master of Philosophy) or Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in archaeology.

Contact us to discuss your ideas, by either e-mailing or ring Dr Ingrid Mainland on (01856) 569225.

Optional modules


This course will appeal to those students who have studied archaeology, art history, fine art or related subjects at undergraduate level.

You can enrol in this course as a stand-alone module or use it as CPD (continuing professional development) for use in your workplace. The course can also be used as an optional module for students studying Fine Art MA, Archaeological Studies MLitt or the Archaeological Practice MSc.

For more information contact Dr Antonia Thomas.


Student accommodation can be obtained through the Orkney College Student Accommodation web page.