Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners)

UCAS code: 3R67

Duration: 5 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Education and Sport, The Moray House School of

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Introducing MA Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners)

The Gaelic language is a vital part of Scotland’s heritage, national identity and cultural life. As an official language of Scotland, Gaelic influences and shapes Scottish literature, music, art, film and TV, festivals, and of course, education.

Study with us, and you will be a part of a proud tradition of teacher education spanning nearly 200 years.

Our MA (Hons) in Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners) is unique in the world in educating non-Gaelic speakers to become Gaelic-medium primary School teachers.

It was developed to help meet the national shortage of Gaelic teachers and to enhance the professional capacity of future teachers.

With this degree, you will benefit from:

  • living and studying for a year on the beautiful Isle of Skye, for an immersion experience at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
  • a full-year placement in a Gaelic-medium primary school setting, unique only to the University of Edinburgh
  • a qualification to enable you to teach in Gaelic or English
  • dedicated courses on bilingualism and immersion education, with a focus on Gaelic and Scotland
  • a £1,000 grant from Bòrd na Gàidhlig

By the end of the 5-year programme, not only will you meet the need for Gaelic teachers in Scotland, ensuring your career viability, but also the sustainable future of Gaelic in Scotland.

Why Edinburgh

The city of Edinburgh has a long-established Gaelic community and a lively contemporary cultural scene. For example, there are:

  • conversation groups for practising Gaelic socially.
  • fèisean for performers.
  • an annual festival, Seachdain na Gàidhlig.

University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC)

You can benefit from studying across two schools at the University of Edinburgh: Moray House School of Education and Sport, and the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC).

LLC is a founding member of Soillse, the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture.

Through the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group (GARG), LLC is leading an international team researching modern technologies for Gaelic, including the development of the world’s first working automatic speech recognition system for the language.

In addition, LLC has a Traditional Artist and Gaelic Writer-in-Residence, a composer/musician and a writer who works with staff and students on a range of projects and performances.

Mental health and wellbeing partnership

Student teachers at the University of Edinburgh can also engage with our mental health and wellbeing programme.

This is provided through our unique partnership with children’s mental health charity Place2Be and helps you to support mental wellbeing in your classrooms and yourself.

Place2Be at Moray House


The programme is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) enabling students to teach in English and Gaelic.

After graduating, all UK students can register with the GTCS as provisionally qualified teachers and are guaranteed a one-year induction post in a Scottish school.

Year 1

You will study:

  • Primary Studies
  • Primary Literacies
  • Educational Studies
  • Gaelic 1A or 1B (these courses are for learners with differing prior experience of Scottish Gaelic, including complete beginners)

Primary education courses include placements in schools.

Year 2

You will study:

  • Primary Studies
  • Educational Studies
  • Gaelic 2A or 2B (these courses include further practical language work, as well as the study of Scottish Gaelic history and literature)
  • Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, including issues relating to language contact, shift and status

Primary education courses include placements in schools.

Year 3

In Year 3, you will:

  • spend a year at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye, focusing on developing your Gaelic
  • complete An Cùrsa Comais, an intensive language learning course designed for intermediate level learners whose aim is to become fluent in Gaelic

Year 4

In Year 4, you will:

  • complete a year-long school placement in a Gaelic-medium primary education setting
  • experience a range of school stages
  • work to develop the professional skills and abilities required for provisional registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • study Education and Gaelic in Scotland, and Primary Studies (with a Gaelic-medium focus) during the year, coming back into the University on specific weeks for classes, with other classes taken online

Year 5

In Year 5, you will study:

  • Primary Literacies
  • Educational Studies, including a dissertation
  • Theory and Pedagogy of Immersion and Bilingual Education
  • Additional Support for Learning

Primary education courses include placements in schools.

Option courses

You will select an option course from a suite of courses within Moray House.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2024/25)

Our facilities

Most of your teaching will take place at Moray House School of Education and Sport. The school is part of the Holyrood Campus in the University's Central Area.

You will also have access to the University's libraries and computing facilities, including its outstanding resources for the study of Celtic.

These are largely held over three sites clustered around George Square in the Central Area:

  • the Main University Library and its Centre for Research Collections
  • the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) and its Celtic Class Library
  • the School of Scottish Studies Archives and its Scottish Studies Library

Across these sites, you will find:

  • more than 400,000 rare books
  • six kilometres of archives and manuscripts
  • 33,000 recordings of songs, music, stories, rhyme and verse in Scots, Gaelic and English, as well as in dialects now extinct
  • thousands of works of art, historical musical instruments and other objects
  • thousands of photographs and rarely-seen historical documents which capture exceptional and everyday aspects of Scottish culture and heritage

Highlights for the study of Celtic include:

  • the Carmichael-Watson Collection
  • the Donald MacKinnon Collection
  • the David Laing Collection

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the Moray House School of Education and Sport and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of the Moray House School of Education and Sport


You will go on professional experience and practice placements throughout your programme.

In Year 4, you will complete a year-long professional experience and practice placement in a Gaelic-medium primary education setting.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • workshops
  • independent small-group activities
  • e-learning and virtual learning environments

Language tutorials in Scottish Gaelic allow you to develop your linguistic skills in a range of real-world tasks under the supervision of an experienced language teacher.

These classes typically cover skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking – all of which involve learning and applying grammar.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a range of methods, including:

  • exams
  • essays
  • portfolios
  • student presentations

You will be assessed by school staff and University tutors while on school placements.

Our graduates typically go on to teach in Gaelic-medium or English-medium primary schools.

Further qualifications can be gained through part-time postgraduate study for those who wish to enhance their knowledge of teaching and learning and/or pursue leadership roles.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: English at C. National 5s: a language other than English at B and Mathematics or Applications of Mathematics at C. For alternative acceptable Mathematics qualifications please contact the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office via the Enquiries link below.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English Language and English Literature, both at C or 4, a language other than English at B or 6, and Mathematics at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: English at 5. SL: Mathematics at 4 and a language other than English at 5.

Additional requirements

It is important that applicants for teacher education degrees show commitment, motivation and suitability for their degree and the profession.

This can be demonstrated in your personal statement by reflecting on relevant work experience, and explaining your understanding of the teacher's role.

For more guidance please see the school website.

Moray House School of Education


Admission to this degree includes an interview process. Further details on the process will be sent to candidates shortlisted for interview.

Fitness to practise

There is fitness to practise guidance for people who wish to become teachers, we strongly advise you to make yourself aware of this before you apply. Please consult the Higher Educational Occupational Physicians/Practitioners (HEOPS) website for fitness to practise guidelines for this degree.


Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

Protecting Vulnerable Groups

All successful applicants will be required to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme before starting the programme. In addition, all applicants who don't live in the UK, or who have spent more than a year abroad, will need to provide equivalent verification from the relevant national authority.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners)

Additional costs

All successful applicants will need to join Disclosure Scotland's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme with the University of Edinburgh as the Registered Body.

You must pay the cost of joining the scheme. This is currently between £18 and £59.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding