Explore the story of the North East with this flexible online course that can also help you qualify as an official tourist guide.

From ballads to BrewDog, this remarkably comprehensive course delves into the North East from every angle. History, archaeology, law, politics, religion, food, music, language, geology – you’ll learn from academic experts from almost every one of our University schools.

Study for pleasure, or use this course to work towards a Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) Green Badge qualification. It allows you to work as an official tour guide in the region.

An always-on course, you can enrol whenever you like and you’ll have 12 months to complete it at your own pace.

100% online, you can study anywhere you have internet access. Available 24/7, you can study whenever it suits your schedule.

What you’ll study

The topics you’ll study include:

  • the history of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond
  • the landscape and geology of the area
  • the story of the fishing industry
  • the rise of tourism
  • how north-east Scotland’s identity has been informed by its Doric language, literature and music
  • the area’s remarkable contribution to the success of Scotland’s food and drink industry.

You’ll also gain the skills you need to undertake independent research, so you can go on to develop your own knowledge of the North East.

The course spans almost every discipline offered by the University:

  • Archaeology and architecture
  • Geology and natural history – including petroleum geology
  • History – including exploration of Aberdeen City Archives and Burgh records
  • Identity and culture – including education, food and drink, language, and sport
  • Law, politics and religion – including devolution, Scots law, and the court system.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Recall relevant data and elements of the primary topics presented on north-east Scotland.
  • Identify the key changes taking place within the topics presented and how they impact upon north-east Scotland today.
  • Specify how and where to locate further sources of information relating to north-east Scotland.
  • Evaluate the relevance and reliability of those identified sources.

Why study online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

This distance-learning course is delivered entirely online. You can study with us anywhere in the world.

The course is taught at HNC level (SCQF Level 7).

Online learning

A fascinating mix of learning materials has been created for this course, all available through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Also available as an app, you can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and mobile device 24/7.

You’ll enjoy:

  • interviews
  • audio clips
  • video lectures and presentations
  • slide shows
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from experienced academics, researchers and local guides.

Where this will take you

You’ll receive a certificate of completion from the University of Aberdeen when you successfully complete the course, including quizzes.

You can take this course standalone, or use it to progress to the next stage of training to become an STGA-accredited tourist guide for north-east Scotland.

Become a Green Badge tourist guide

This course is run in conjunction with the STGA to help you qualify as an STGA Green Badge tourist guide for North East Scotland.

To do so after completing this course:

  • Complete our online Running a Business course and a First Aid course of your choosing.
  • Apply to complete the STGA Professional Skills Training.
  • Pass the STGA final assessments to achieve your Green Badge certificate.

You’ll then be an STGA-accredited tourist guide with your own member’s page on the STGA website.

Scottish Tourist Guides Association logo

What is a Green Badge?

The STGA Green Badge is a regional tourist guide qualification. Green Badge members are affiliates of the STGA and wear the green ‘Regional Affiliate’ STGA badge.

Find out more about STGA Badges.

Further learning

This course is part of a suite of History and Society courses that we offer online.

You can use them to build up credits towards higher qualifications. Find out more about credits.

The University of Aberdeen is proud of its place here in the north-east of Scotland. It’s a fantastic place to work and live. The city and surrounding areas are known for their historic charm and we’re happy to be involved in initiatives that promote this to the wider world.

Professor Peter McGeorge, Vice Principal Education

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at undergraduate level. We warmly welcome anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of north-east Scotland or those wishing to become an STGA Green Badge tourist guide for North East Scotland.

Apply for this course

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