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Scottish American Society

Below listed are opportunities for those of Scottish Ancestry - or are just interested in the culture of Scotland - to further their knowledge.


The Past and the Future at the University of the Highlands and Islands


In the past few decades things have been changing in the Highlands and Islands. Communities have acted together to buy and run their land resulting in population growth and new businesses.  For several years Inverness has been the fastest growing city in Europe.  The Pentland Firth has become a leader in renewable energies. Instead of abandoned crofts, there are new homes. Instead of a constant flow of talented young people to the south and across the ocean, established residents and newcomers alike have real opportunities. An intrinsic part of this growth has been the establishment of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Britain’s newest university.  The Centre for History is a core part of UHI’s mission to provide Highlanders with the opportunity for higher education, employers with a highly-skilled workforce and local communities with self-confidence.  History graduates have a high level of literacy, research and analytical skills as well as a reflective understanding of how society, culture, economics and politics change over the long term, all of which are vital for the development of our society.


 Founded in 2005, the Centre for History has gone from strength to strength, developing three under-graduate honours degrees (Scottish History, History and Politics, and Scottish History and Archaeology), one Masters degree (Highlands and Islands history), and a strong research base. The degrees are offered across the UHI region (which encompasses half the land mass of Scotland!) so people are able to study from one of 13 colleges and research centres, over 50 local learning centres, or online. In order to serve the whole of the Highlands and Islands we have embraced technology through providing learning materials on an internet-based teaching system, holding discussion-based classes using video-conferencing, and investing in e-books.  The technology enables our students to study and communicate with each other from Argyll to Lewis, Perth to Thurso, and Barra to the tiny Shetland island of Whalsay.   

The Centre for History’s Masters’ degree in the History of the Highlands and Islands was launched in September 2011. UHI is currently the only university to offer a degree specialising in the history of this fascinating region.  Due to the considerable amount of international interest the programme is fully online.  As Professor Jim Hunter put it, “taught from the Highlands: available anywhere on earth”! While some of our students wish to gain a full Masters’ degree and see it as a pathway to a PhD, many others are pursing the subject for personal interest and are taking whichever modules appeal to them most on a stand-alone, short course basis.


The vision of UHI to make a positive impact on the economic and social development of the Highlands and Islands isn’t fanciful dreaming, it is happening and it is having an influence on real people and real businesses.  For a Highland historian, it is so exciting to be part of an organisation which is part of the solution to the long-lamented ‘Highland problem’.