Postgraduate study
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Celtic Studies MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Celtic Studies

A Masters by Research (MScR) programme is ideal if you have a clear idea of the independent research you wish to undertake at masters level. The programme is a good stepping-stone to a PhD, but is equally of value as a stand-alone qualification.

As a Masters by Research student, you’ll be part of a wider masters community while specialising in what interests you most for the duration of the programme (its key difference to a taught Masters [MSc]).

We specialise in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Celtic - and in particular the Gaelic-speaking peoples, from Iron Age Europe to the present.

Based in Scotland’s capital and festival city, our research community is at the forefront of policy development and cultural innovation, and of linguistic, cultural, literary, and sociolinguistic research in the Celtic languages, with a particular focus on Scottish Gaelic. We play a leading role in relation to language planning and maintenance, particularly for Scottish Gaelic.

Research excellence

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research in Celtic Studies was submitted in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Panel D - Arts and Humanities; Unit of Assessment 26).

The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK.

As published in Times Higher Education's REF power ratings, this result is based on the quality and breadth of our research in the unit of assessment.

Join our community and undertake a 20,000-word dissertation under the guidance of an experienced and well-published supervisor. Our Celtic Studies expertise covers:

  • Celtic sociolinguistics and language policy
  • Gaelic folklore
  • Gaelic language and culture in the diaspora
  • Gaelic linguistics, dialectology, and language technology
  • Medieval Gaelic religious culture
  • Old Irish and Middle Welsh language, literature and culture
  • Scottish Gaelic and Modern Irish language, literature, and culture
  • The 'Celtic Revival' in Scotland

We are happy to discuss your proposed topic with you prior to application.

Go beyond the books

Beyond the Books is a podcast from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at research and the people who make it happen.

Listen to a mix of PhD, early career and established researchers talk about their journey to and through academia and about their current and recent research. In the first episode of Series 2, host Emma Aviet talks to Wilson McLeod, Emeritus Professor of Gaelic, about diversity, technology and more.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCeltic Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScRCeltic Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

This programme includes access to training on research skills, methods, and problems, while working with your supervisor to consider specific research methodologies in Celtic Studies using a combination of traditional and innovative methods.

You will be encouraged and supported to make direct contact with original sources and to gain hands-on experience, whether in reading medieval manuscripts or in handling electronically stored data.

Between the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the Careers Service and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), you will have access to a further range of programmes and resources to help you develop your postgraduate skills, as well as to the University’s fantastic libraries, collections and worldwide strategic partnerships.

Join in

As part of our research community, you will be immersed in a world of scholarship, with lots of opportunities to share ideas, learning and creative work. Activities include:

  • a regular seminar series (with talks by staff, research students and visiting speakers)
  • annual lecture series in Celtic and Scottish Studies (O'Donnell Lecture; Alan Bruford Lecture; John MacLeod Memorial Lecture)
  • performances and traditional music sessions, coordinated by our In-Residence colleagues (Gaelic Writer and Traditional Artist)
  • a range of conferences, including a colloquium series with Scandinavian Studies on Thinking About Mythology in the 21st Century
  • dedicated Gaelic language officer
  • active student Celtic Society (Comann Ceilteach)

Our graduates tell us that they value LLC’s friendliness, the connections they make here and the in-depth guidance they receive from our staff, who are published experts in their field.

Our research resources and facilities are outstanding. Our research community works in close proximity to a wide range of specialist materials, medieval to modern, in a variety of media.

As a researcher, you will have access to the University’s many collections, including rare books and manuscripts, such as the Carmichael-Watson Collection, the Donald MacKinnon Collection, and the David Laing Collection, and to the wealth of resources curated by the National Library of Scotland.

We are founding members of Soillse, the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture, and of Faclair na Gàidhlig, a collaborative project to publish a historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic.

Through the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group (GARG), an international team researching modern technologies for Gaelic, we have led the development of the world’s first working Automatic Speech Recognition system for Scottish Gaelic.

Passionate about music, literature, song and storytelling, we have strong links with the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the National Museum of Scotland, all of which are located close to our buildings in Edinburgh’s historic city centre.

We work closely with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national Gaelic development agency, of which Professor Rob Dunbar is a Board Member (2023 to 2027). Rob also sits on the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages - the only treaty in the world designed to protect and promote regional and minority languages and to enable speakers to use them both in private and public life.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCeltic Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRCeltic Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 30 June 2024

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

For a Masters by Research programme, you should include:

  • a sample of written work of about 3,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree)
  • a research proposal - an outline of your proposed area of study, helping us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve

See our guidance:

Before you apply, you should look at the interests and expertise of our research community on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and your supervision needs.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH