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Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


Cost Scottish/EU Students £1,820; Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland £9,000; Overseas (Non-EU) Students £11,650

What is special about this course?

This unique course, the first of its kind in the UK, focuses on the many uses of the marine resource and how tourism interacts with these. You will consider many aspects including activities, climate and environment, community, customers and policy from both a UK and international perspective. The degree integrates theory and practice to develop the skills and academic knowledge you will need as a tourism professional working in the marine and coastal sector.

This integrated,  practical programme gives you the opportunity to gain experience and National Governing Body awards in activities including sailing, sea kayaking and SCUBA diving. This is supplemented by a programme of guest speakers, visits to shows and conferences, student expeditions and field courses. You will be ideally placed to get involved in a number of very real local development projects, working alongside and learning from the professionals.

We are based in Fort William, the 'Outdoor Capital of the UK', one of the finest UK locations for marine and coastal tourism. The natural heritage and culture of the West Highlands, its coasts and islands, provides our context and settings.

Special features

  • Strong links with many marine and coastal-based businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK
  • Applying cutting edge theory and research to the exciting and dynamic tourism sector
  • Excellent, optional work-based placement opportunities around the UK and abroad
  • Integrated practical programme to enhance your skills and experience in marine and coastal activities
  • Possibility to gain instructor qualifications endorsed by National Governing Bodies
  • Opportunity to plan and carry out significant expedition, with a discovery and research focus (previous destinations include the Lofoten Islands, off Norway, and to Iceland in 2018). Fundraising and gaining sponsorship are part of this process.
  • Be part of a vibrant and active student community of outdoor enthusiasts based in Fort William – within the Outdoor Capital of the UK
  • You will have access to outstanding facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK.


Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Marine and coastal tourism in the UK
  • Introduction to adventure tourism
  • Introduction to the customer-centred business
  • Adventure industry: products and services
  • Adventure education journeys

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Introduction to enterprise and marketing
  • Introduction to global environmental issues
  • Introduction to sustainable development
  • Adventure geography: the Scottish perspective

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Marine tourism field course
  • Adventure operations and risk management
  • The contemporary workplace
  • Marine environments

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Applied coaching and leadership
  • Work placement
  • Atmosphere, weather and climate
  • Contemporary marketing
  • Society and culture of mountain regions (also covers island and remote coastal areas)

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • International marine and coastal tourism
  • Research skills
  • Planning international expeditions
  • Management of the marine resource

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Archaeology and interpretation
  • Climate change
  • Developing entrepeneurial effectiveness
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment
  • Work placement
  • International expedition leadership

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Critical perspectives of marine and coastal tourism
  • Emergent tourism trends

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Cold island tourism
  • Maritime archaeology and heritage of northern Scotland
  • Inclusive adventure
  • Work placement, professional practice

You must also complete one of the following: dissertation; research and plan a new business; or a professional project

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, with some teaching by video conference from other university campuses, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE)

  • You will also have the opportunity of increasing your skills through practical experiential learning. The main practical disciplines included are snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing (dinghy and yacht), power boating, paddle sports (sea kayak and surf), surfing and coasteering, with a wide range of progression and application of theories at all 4 year levels

  • We have an extensive equipment stores for use by students on session, but do not provide personal clothing, excepting wetsuits

  • For some field trips, we may expect you to cover your own food while away.  Transport, instruction and entry fees are usually covered

  • The optional International Expeditions module is a major undertaking, and will usually involve either fundraising, or personal contribution, beyond college funding.  Cost will depend largely on your destination and ambitions. How to finance an expedition is part of the taught content, and you will be supported through the process

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Where can I study my course?

  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September 
Structural components
Internship/Workplace experience
International component
Research Project

Application procedure

Grant opportunities


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


Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • You will also need to have Standard Grade, National 4/5 or GCSE English and Mathematics, and be able to demonstrate your commitment to marine and coastal activities
  • Applicants with significant industry or activity experience will be considered providing they can demonstrate sufficient academic potential
  • You may be required to attend an interview
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake this course

Access routes

Students eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP) will be able to apply for entry to BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism with a grade profile of CCC in one of the below courses and 8 units passed at SCQF level 6:

  • Access to: Arts and Humanities (Newbattle Abbey College)
  • Access to: Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Teaching (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Teaching (North East Scotland College)
  • Access to: Celtic Studies incorporating Primary Education with Gaelic (Newbattle Abbey College)
  • Access to: Community, Education and Humanities (Dundee & Angus College)
  • Access to: Degree Studies (Forth Valley College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Arts, Social Sciences and Primary Education) (Fife College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Fife College)
  • Access to: Humanities (Perth College UHI)
  • Access to: Languages with Business (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: Languages, Arts and Social Sciences (Edinburgh College)
  • Access to: University Study (Dundee & Angus College)
  • NQ Access to: Social Sciences (West Lothian College)
  • NQ Access to: Teaching (West Lothian College)

ISCED Categories

Marine archaeology
Conservation and environmental management
Physical and chemical oceanography
Coastal and marine tourism