Celtic & Scottish Studies

Year 1

In your first year you can study the Gaelic language as well as Celtic civilisation.

There are three first-year courses in Scottish Gaelic, Gaelic 1A and Gaelic 1B, which run over both semesters, and Introduction to Gaelic Language and Culture, which is a one-semester course taught in the first semester.

Gaelic 1A


The qualification for entry to Gaelic 1A is normally a pass at Higher or A-level in a language other than English, or equivalent evidence of linguistic proficiency.

The course is not open to students qualified to take Gaelic 1B.

Gaelic 1A seeks to give students with no previous knowledge of Scottish Gaelic a thorough grounding in written and spoken Scottish Gaelic and is intended primarily for students intending to continue their study of Gaelic beyond the first year (including those enrolled for the MA in Celtic).

The work of the class consists of grammar workshops, language practical classes, reading classes and conversation classes.

In the second semester, students are introduced to a set of graded reading texts in Gaelic.

Written work includes a series of weekly language exercises handed in throughout the year, and a number of short Gaelic compositions.

Gaelic 1B


Gaelic 1B is designed for students with a pass in Higher Gàidhlig or Gaelic (or equivalent qualification).

The aims of Gaelic 1B are:

  • to extend students' experience in and understanding of Scottish Gaelic literature of the last three centuries, and to develop a general familiarity with the culture and literature of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, through reading and discussion of Gaelic prose and verse texts, thus introducing students at first-hand to the works of some of the most important Gaelic poets, and to a wide variety of Gaelic prose styles; and
  • to increase familiarity with, and powers of expression in, Scottish Gaelic by means of regular language work, thus leading students towards a sound competence in speaking, reading and writing Scottish Gaelic.

Introduction to Gaelic Language and Culture


This course is not open to students qualified to take Gaelic 1B or to students enrolled in Gaelic 1A.

This is a one-semester introduction to Gaelic language, literature and culture, taught in the first semester.

The course is designed for students who wish to acquire a basic knowledge of the Scottish Gaelic language and its cultural context. It is suitable as an 'outside subject' or as a subject for visiting students, but it does not allow for progression to second-year Gaelic courses.

Celtic Civilisation


There are no formal requirements or special linguistic skills needed for entry to these courses; they are self-contained, and neither is a prerequisite for the other.

There are two semester-long survey courses in Celtic Civilisation, each of which is a self-contained module.

Celtic Civilisation 1A (first semester) covers the origins and development of the idea of Celticness as an element of modern identity, and the changing ideas about the link between the Celtic languages and Celticness.

Celtic Civilisation 1B (second semester) covers the Celtic early Middle Ages (roughly AD 400-1000), which saw the transformation of society, religion, learning and politics in Britain and Ireland.

Both courses seek to place the Celtic languages of the past and present into wider historical and contemporary context, to consider the impact of modern Celticness on how the past has been understood, and to provide introductions to Celtic Studies in the medieval and modern periods.

The approach is interdisciplinary: the lecturing teams include experts in archaeology, history, linguistics, literature and social science. Lectures are backed up by tutorials and WebCT.