Study of archaeology and the culture and traditions of Scotland can now lead to degree awards for students living across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, thanks to the University of Aberdeen.
The courses are designed for part-time study and their delivery by evening class means that they are open to all members of the general public. The new distance learning programmes lead to designated degrees and have been organised by the Centre for Continuing Education in collaboration with a range of academic departments and the University's Elphinstone Institute.
The new Bachelor of Theology (BTh) and MA Combined Studies Degree are also being launched at the start of next term.
The degrees are the latest addition to the University's distance learning programme, which allows students from some of Scotland's more remote areas, many of whom are studying part-time, to participate in programmes through video conferences. These link the University to a network of study centres throughout the North and North-east of Scotland.
Scotland is well known for the quality of its surviving archaeological remains that have attracted the international interest of antiquarians and archaeologists for many years. The new degree in Scottish Archaeology will enable students to enhance their knowledge of this heritage, understand changes in archaeological interpretation and carry out their own investigations.
The Scottish Culture and Traditions programme will build from a foundation of general study at levels 1 and 2 of Scottish History, Scottish Landscape and Environment, Scottish Literature, Scottish Art and Celtic Cultural Studies towards increasing specialisation in ethnological approaches to understanding the culture and traditions of Scotland.
Meanwhile, the Bachelor of Theology degree programme enables those who cannot join the University as full-time students in Aberdeen to cover the same core disciplines and obtain the same qualification as on-campus student.
Dr Melvin Dalgarno, Director of Aberdeen University's Centre for Continuing Education, said: "In it's paper, Opportunity Scotland, the government sets out a vision of a society where every citizen has the right to access learning at any stage of his or her life.
"The University of Aberdeen and its partners are helping to make these twin visions of lifelong learning and a more socially inclusive higher education system a reality, by breaking down the geographical and other barriers which for too long have excluded so many people in Scotland from participating in higher education.
"These new developments are an important milestone in extending the six centuries of service the University has given the North and North-east of Scotland."
Centre for Continuing Education, (01224) 272449