MSc Sustainable Mountain Development


This is a fully online, part-time, interdisciplinary programme with exit awards at Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert), Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), and MSc levels.

If you want to make a real difference towards the sustainability of mountain regions, this postgraduate course in Sustainable Mountain Development is for you. You will access the latest thinking on complex mountain issues by studying modules with a focus on advanced theory and practice relating to environmental, social, economic and professional development.

By the end of your studies, you will be equipped with the practical skills and knowledge to help you understand and manage the real challenges faced by people living and working in mountainous areas today.

Dr Rosalind Bryce is the Programme Leader and Director, Centre for Mountain Studies

Read a blog by Rosalind - Developing a virtual student community - MSc Sustainable Mountain Development - published by MOVING (MOuntain Valorisation through INterconnectedness and Green growth), a Horizon 2020 project 

2023/24 academic year content

2023/24 academic year

2023/24 academic year

The academic year 2023/24 started on 4 September 2023 (semester one). 

You can apply for a 22 January 2024 (semester two) start: apply online 



2024/25 academic year content

2024/25 academic year

2024/25 academic year

Apply online to start in September 2024

Course Details content

Course Details

Course Details

To complete the PgCert: 3 x 20 credit core modules
To complete the PgDip: 3 x 20 credit core & 3 x 20 credit optional modules
To complete the MSc: 3 x 20 credit core & 3 x 20 credit optional modules , 1 x 60 credit dissertation

View full course details

Graduate testimonials content

Graduate testimonials

Graduate testimonials

Greg Dainty

"I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in mountains and sustainability.  It opens your eyes and provides a solid basis for discussion of some of the issues that are at the core of popular concern in our world today"

John King

"I’d definitely recommend the course to anyone who is interested in mountains and sustainable practices"

Brian MacDonald

"I would encourage anyone thinking about this course to embrace the opportunity for further learning and enjoy the journey"

Christine Plante

"I would recommend this university to anyone. It is an affordable, effective learning facility that has granted me so much in my years of study. The lecturers and programme leaders continue to amaze me with their efforts and publications. I have been so impressed with my experience here"

Helen Steen

"I would strongly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in the future of people and wildlife in mountains, islands and other fragile areas"

Michael Maunsell

"A valuable, enjoyable and enriching experience; it was invaluable for developing a deeper understanding of the social, environmental and economic issues mountain places and communities contend with"

Sally Wier

Sally found that the online, flexible scheduling of the programme easily allowed her to work while pursuing her graduate studies. The program also allowed her to focus her dissertation studies on Himalayan communities, and she was able to conduct field research in Nepal, which was an incredible experience, both in terms of gaining skills in research, as well as being a profound personal adventure

Article on the MSc published in Mountain Research & Development content

Article on the MSc published in Mountain Research & Development

Article on the MSc published in Mountain Research & Development

The Online MSc in Sustainable Mountain Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland: Experiences and Impacts

This article by Martin F Price and Rosalind Bryce was published in Mountain Research and Development Volume 40, Issue 4 (November 2020)
Core Modules content

Core Modules

Optional modules content

Optional modules

Optional modules

A range of optional modules are available, some of these are for skills development; others will help to develop a deeper understanding of the key issues. All modules are available as standalone modules for Continuing Professional Development. Experts from across the UHI help equip you with a qualification tailored for working in mountain area

Students choose 3 optional modules.  If you are planning to continue to dissertation level, we strongly recommend Research Methods and Techniques 

Communities & nature (semester 1)

Research methods and techniques (semester 1) 

Sustainable land use and renewable energy (semester 1)

Water Resources in a Changing Climate (semester 1)

Biodiversity management (semester 2)

Developing communities (semester 2) 

Developing potential through placement (semester 2) 

Local economic development (semester 2)

Sustainable deer management (semester 2)

Sustainable tourism (semester 2)

Download module summary: MSc Sustainable Mountain Development modules

Dissertation content



The dissertation is a 60 credit module and normally takes 2 semesters to complete

View Dissertation details 

To give you an idea of dissertation topics, you can view a List of dissertation titles submitted by students

Fees and funding content

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

2023-24 & 2024-25 fees 

Students who meet the Scottish residence eligibility can apply through the Scottish Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a tuition fee loan for the MSc course (part-time students must complete the course in within three years). 

Student handbook content

Student handbook

Student handbook

View the current Student Handbook


Integrated Land Use Conference content

Integrated Land Use Conference

Integrated Land Use Conference

In March of every year, UHI organises an Integrated Land Use Conference in the Cairngorms National Park for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Students on the MSc in Sustainable Mountain Development are welcome to participate.  

Further information content

Further information

Further information

Please contact us for further information or if you have any questions:


Programme Leader:


Tel: +44 (0)1738 877761