Postgraduate Study in Mountain Development

Since 2004, the University of Highlands and Islands, Scotland has been running a part-time on-line MSc in Sustainable Mountain Development.  In 2007, it was validated for delivery across Europe, and students from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain have joined the course.  In 2012, it was validated for global delivery, and students from the USA have joined.  The course has international recognition through the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Mountain Development.
The course will be of interest to individuals who are currently working in, or interested in working in, mountain areas - whether in government agencies, as land managers, or in the fields of environmental or community development.  It may also be of interest to educators, as well as people who just like mountains!
Part-time on-line study allows students to fit their academic work around all the other demands on their time: work, family life, and recreation.  The flexibility of on-line study also provides students - who are all ‘mature’ and bring a lot of experience to the course - with many opportunities for interactions both with each other and with the module tutors: the degree of personalised attention is much greater than on many face-to-face degrees.  While nearly all modules are delivered on-line, there is an optional field studies module in Scotland, probably on the Isle of Harris or in the Cairngorms.
Students take either one or two modules per semester (September to December and January to May) and can exit at three levels:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (3 core modules)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (3 core + 3 optional modules)
  • MSc (3 core + 3 optional modules + 15,000 word dissertation)

Core Modules: Environmental and social issues in mountain areas; Sustainable development; and Policy analysis.

Optional Modules: Biodiversity management; Developing communities; Developing potential through placement; Field studies; Geographic Information Systems (GIS); Local economic development; Participatory approaches to community engagement; People and nature; Research methods and techniques; Sustainable deer management; Sustainable rural land use and energy; Sustainable tourism; Water management.  Not all of these run every year, depending on demand.
Next academic year starts in September 2013.

Further information:


Contact information

Prof. Martin Price
Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Mountain Development
Director, Centre for Mountain Studies
Perth College
University of the Highlands and Islands

E-mail: Martin.Price(at)

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