Undergraduate study | Celtic
Uncover Celtic's rich languages, literatures, histories and cultures as part of a single or joint honours degree.
Why study Celtic in Edinburgh?
Available in multiple degree combinations, Celtic has been taught here since 1882, making us the longest-established Celtic department in Scotland.
Celtic civilisations produced the earliest vernacular literature in Europe after Latin and Greek, and today Celtic languages and cultures continue to flourish in writing, song, theatre, the media and more, with a broad international reach and a steady stream of enthusiastic new speakers and audiences.
Based in a city with a long-established Gaelic community, and with strong links to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Celtic at Edinburgh is at the heart of this lively contemporary scene and leads the way for future language planning and maintenance, particularly for Scottish Gaelic. We work at the cutting edge of linguistic and sociolinguistic research in the Celtic languages.
Our award-winning department is small, friendly and innovative, with access to a fantastic range of sound, video, film and photographic resources, an annual prize-giving scheme, and a great relationship with An Comunn Ceilteach (The Highland Society), the University’s oldest Student Society and organisers of the city’s largest annual cèilidh.
Studying Celtic at Edinburgh has allowed me to explore different areas of interest both medieval and modern and get a well-rounded understanding of the subject by connecting with Celtic speaking cultures throughout history - there is always something fresh and engaging on offer.
You’ll complete a four-year Master of Arts (MA) honours degree. You can take Celtic as a single honours degree, or jointly with one of a range of other subjects. Each year, your courses will give you 120 credits.
- You can take a language or non-language pathway through the Celtic programme. If you choose to study Scottish Gaelic, it doesn’t matter if you're a complete beginner; you’ll always be taught at a level that meets your needs. Alongside language skills, you’ll learn more about Scottish Gaelic’s literature, culture, and linguistic structure. You can study the Medieval Celtic languages and literatures at honours level.
- If you’re taking the non-language pathway, you’ll study Celtic civilisation and literature. You will study Celtic in its historical and contemporary context, and gain an overview of key literary genres and texts from Gaelic Scotland, Ireland and Wales from the early medieval period to the present, with texts presented in English translation. You can choose to learn the basics of the Scottish Gaelic language.
Years 1 & 2
Our programmes are very flexible. In your first two years, you'll likely get to choose option courses from a wide range of subjects alongside Celtic and any partner subject. This may enable you to change the focus of your degree going into your final two (honours) years, which is when you start to specialise.
Years 3 & 4
- On most programmes, you’ll typically spend your third year in Edinburgh - though it’s possible to study elsewhere through the University’s Study Abroad programme. However, if you’re doing a joint degree with French or Scandinavian Studies, you will spend your third year abroad.
- You will learn how to undertake your own research to the level of completing a dissertation or long essay in your final year. This is your chance to focus on a topic, period or discipline that’s of particular interest to you. We have an extensive range of honours courses to choose from.
- You’ll typically be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh, in the city’s historic centre, close to the National Library of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland.
- The Main University Library is just across the square from us, as is the School of Scottish Studies Archives where resources include some 33,000 audio recordings, thousands of photographs from the 1930s onwards, films, videos, and manuscripts.
Learning, assessment and support
- Celtic is taught by an award-winning group of staff who are immersed in Celtic culture and the development of Gaelic beyond the classroom.
- Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, computer-assisted learning, practical language classes, grammar workshops, reading classes and conversation classes.
- You’ll be assessed through a combination of exams and coursework. If you're studying abroad in your third year, you will either be assessed by your host university or will submit written assignments to us, depending on your placement.
- There are lots of support systems to help, from your Personal Tutor to our web-based hub, Support for Success in LLC.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, you can take Celtic as a single honours degree, or study any of the following joint honours degree combinations...
|Celtic & Scottish Literature||Celtic & Scottish History||Scottish Ethnology & Celtic|
|Celtic & English Literature||Celtic & English Language||Celtic & Linguistics|
|Celtic & French||Celtic & Scandinavian Studies||Law & Celtic*|
We also support the delivery of two degree programmes in Primary Education with Gaelic: one for fluent speakers; and one for learners.
* Please note that Law and Celtic is an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree and does not have the same structure as our MA Hons programmes, though it is still a four-year degree.
Applications for 2021 entry are now closed. If you are holding an offer to start studying with us in September 2021, keep an eye on your email for details of our offer holder events, and check out our Offer Holder Hub for Celtic and Scottish Studies.
Keen to get a head start for 2022?
There’s lots of information about our undergraduate Celtic programmes on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder. For example, you can find out about entrance requirements, English language requirements, fees, and funding opportunities.
If you’d like to study on any of our undergraduate programmes, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Applications for 2022 entry open in September 2021.
Thanks to an ever-broadening international reach, Celtic languages, literatures and cultures have a steady stream of enthusiastic new speakers and audiences.
In Scotland particularly, developments such as the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, the creation of BBC Alba (the Gaelic digital television service), and the ongoing expansion of Gaelic-medium education have increased demand for highly-educated Gaelic speakers or specialists in Celtic culture.
Employment prospects are particularly high within education, journalism and the media, broadcasting (both radio and television), politics and the cultural sector. In some areas, there are more Gaelic-related jobs than there are people qualified to fill them.
There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with the honours years in particular developing the research skills you’ll need if you choose this path.
Get to know us better
Thinking of joining us this year or next? Take a virtual tour and explore what it's like to study and live in Edinburgh through vlogs, photos, and more.
Talk to a current student