Sustainable Development with Gaelic Studies BA (Hons)

Course code D44G

What is special about this course?

The world is facing the prospect of a climate emergency, with decision-makers grappling with how to understand and respond to the pressures on our environment and society. Sustainable development, from the local to the global, is essential if society is to tackle the challenges faced. The necessary changes will impact on every facet of society, culture and the economy: this is a critical moment to study sustainability.

To develop a critical understanding of the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental, economic), you will study modules drawn from a range of social science disciplines such as geography, economics, politics, sociology, and environmental studies, as well as developing practical skills in research and working with communities. The modules take a critical approach to examining the historical context to development whilst looking firmly to the future drawing examples of change in action from around the globe.

As part of the BA (Hons) Sustainable Development with Gaelic Studies, you will develop a good understanding of Gaelic issues, Gaelic language,  and culture, as well as elements of Gaelic history and literature. There is no requirement for Gaelic language skills on entry, you will have the opportunity to learn the language or develop your language skills depending on your starting point. The Gaelic Studies are about Gaelic, taught in English, with Gaelic language modules suitable for all levels of ability. 

Delivered entirely online and available to study from anywhere in the world, you will benefit from collaborative discussions and activities with colleagues from a range of diverse backgrounds and experiences, facilitated by tutors with many years of experience in delivering online education. 

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

Special features

  • This degree is delivered by tutors with years of experience of teaching at a distance, and can be studied from home, full or part-time to suit your circumstances
  • Recent sustainable development graduates have careers in community economic development, managing rural development initiatives, working for UN agencies, and working on international renewable energy projects, while Gaelic graduates are in demand across a range of public and third sector organisations 
  • An optional residential weekend takes place each year, usually based in the Highlands and Islands. This annual residential will give you the opportunity to meet practitioners, staff and other students in an informal setting

Entry requirements

  • 3 Highers at BBC or above OR 
  • 2 A levels at BC or above
  • The above must include at least two from the list of required subjects
  • Applicants' qualifications and experiences will be considered on an individual basis

Advanced entry:

  • HNC Social Science (12 SCQF credits) with 3 additional SCQF 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

Year 1 - CertHE

You will study the following modules: 

  • Understanding sustainable development (S1)
  • Exploring economics in a changing world (S2)
  • Gaelic for learners 1A (S1)
  • Gaelic for learners 1B (S2)

You will also choose two further option modules from other humanities subjects.

Year 2 - DipHE

You will study the following modules: 
Approaches to economic development (S1)
Empowering communities (S1)
Gaelic for learners 2A (S1)
Gaelic for learners 2B (S2)

You will also choose two further option modules from other humanities subjects. 

Year 3 - BA

You will usually study the following sustainable development modules: 
Globalisation and sustainable development (S1)
Sustainable Tourism and the Environment (S2)
Advanced social research methods (S1) OR Climate change (S1)

You will also choose three Gaelic modules, which may include:
Traditional Gaelic culture (S1)
Gaoir nam ban: Gaelic women’s poetry 1644-1746 (S2)
Language policy and planning 1 (S2)
Language awareness (S2)

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

You will complete a dissertation in either Sustainable Development or Gaelic.

You will also study one option module from your chosen dissertation subject plus three option modules from the other subject.

Sustainable development modules may include:
Geo-political development issues (S1)
The consumerist society (S2)
Sustainable agriculture systems (S2)
Social enterprise and the social economy (S1)

Gaelic modules may include:
Traditional Gaelic culture in the 21st century (S1)
Iarshader to Iraq: poetry of conflict (S1)
Language policy in the workplace (S2)

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

How long will my course last?

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

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
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the world
  • Students based near to one of the listed campuses should apply to, and be enrolled and supported by, their local campus
  • All other students should apply to, and will be enrolled and supported by, UHI North, West and Hebrides

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £305 £305

Rest of the UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,020 £1,020

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK studying online from their home country, or living in the UK but assessed as international for fee status, the following fees apply:

This includes EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK and EEA and Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,540 £6,960
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,090 £1,160

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


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

If you wish to attend an optional residential weekend, or to join other field trips, student contributions will be required towards the overall costs incurred. The cost will vary depending on the event, your location and the amount of other funding available (for example, HISA contributions to the Student Society Residential weekend may reduce costs for individual students). Attendance at these face to face events is optional and not essential for completion of the course.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed the BA (Hons) Sustainable Development with Gaelic Studies, you might like to consider careers in: 

  • Government departments and development agencies 
  • Economic development departments of local authorities 
  • Community enterprises and community energy groups 
  • Community land initiatives 
  • Natural and rural heritage organisations 
  • Voluntary sector development posts 
  • International non-governmental organisations 
  • Independent consultancy on sustainability 

If you are considering studying at UHI, I would say don’t hesitate! The course is interesting and well-structured, the support from lecturers is excellent and there are many varied opportunities to work with other students while studying online. The best part about being in the Highlands is that it is a fantastic place to live – either in the city or rurally. It really does have the best of both worlds!

Louise studied Sustainable development at UHI North, West and Hebrides.

Apply for Sustainable Development with Gaelic Studies BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 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.