Contemporary Art and Archaeology MA

What is special about this course?

This new MA programme is unique in the UK in linking the fields of contemporary art and archaeology. It encourages students to take a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to artmaking and research-led creative practice. Core modules will immerse you in an established, interdisciplinary community of practice operating not only in Orkney, but also in Shetland, the Western Isles, and the mainland of Scotland.

This outward-looking MA embraces this setting by providing creative and interdisciplinary approaches to the scholarly study of material and visual culture, arts, and heritage. From crafting landscapes and ancient monuments to renewable energy and cutting-edge technology, the Highlands and Islands is where past, present, and future meet, at the interface of the global and local. Specialist optional modules in art or archaeology will allow you to build a bespoke MA which explores both the deep past of this fascinating region and plays a role in its sustainable, creative future.

This exciting course will allow you to explore, both independently and collaboratively, original and creative responses to current issues and develop your own practice as a uniquely interdisciplinary art and archaeology practitioner.

Special features

  • Developed and directed by a specialist team of academics and visual artists based in Orkney, allowing access to world-famous archaeology
  • The only course of its kind to link contemporary art practice with archaeological study
  • The course is delivered online and can, therefore, be studied from anywhere in the world
  • Specialist optional modules in art and archaeology will allow you to tailor your course to your own interests 

Entry requirements

  • 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject.
  • Students without formal qualifications, but with professional experience, will also be considered 
  • You will also be required to submit a portfolio with evidence of work and attend an interview either in person, by phone, VC, or Skype


You will study the following core module:

  • Art and archaeology: contemporary theory and practice

You will also choose two option modules, one in archaeology and one in creative practice.



You will study the following core modules:

  • Contemporary art and archaeology in practice
  • Research skills and methods

You will also choose one option module in either archaeology or creative practice.


To achieve the award of MA you must complete a final project in contemporary art and archaeology.

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

As your course was designed to be online, we can confirm that there will be no change to how it will be delivered next year. You will study online through a combination of video conference lectures (in real-time or recorded) and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have an online induction at the start of the semester one. The residential event will be planned in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing, and is likely to be a virtual event this year. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all staff and students
  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • You will study through supported online learning via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE). This will include a combination of video-conference lectures and tutorials available in real-time and recordings 

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 15 months @ 40 hrs per week 
  • Part-time: 3 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Orkney College UHI

You can study this fully online masters from any location. You will be enrolled and receive support from Orkney College UHI.

Start date

  • September 


Fees payable for this online postgraduate course depend on your assessed fee status:

2020-21Scottish (SC) and EU (EU)*Rest of UK (RUKO ) and EU (EUO**) International (INTO)**
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £980
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,940
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,880
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,820
2019-20Scottish (SC) and EU (EU)*Rest of UK (RUKO ) and EU (EUO**) International (INTO)**
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £960
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,880
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,760
Masters degree (60 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,640

*EU students with a term-time address in Scotland.

** EU or international students studying from their own country.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

This course is not open to international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider careers in the creative and cultural industries. This includes roles such as museum and exhibition curating, interpretation, or pursuing your own independent career as a creative practitioner.

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from this course to the university's postgraduate research degrees, which will allow you to undertake independent research into a range of art and archaeology subjects.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Contemporary Art and Archaeology MA

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2021

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.