Undergraduate study - 2023 entry
Open to the world

MA Celtic and French

UCAS code: QR51

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Celtic and French

Leugh an duilleag seo sa Gàidhlig

This joint honours programme gives you the opportunity to study the languages, literatures and cultures of the Celtic world and of French-speaking countries around the globe.

Celtic

We work with the medieval literary tradition in Early Irish and Medieval Welsh (the most extensive in the whole of Europe), as well as Scottish Gaelic from the late Middle Ages to the present. We also explore the rich oral tradition recorded from the 18th century to the present day, and poetry from the 18th century golden age of Gaelic literature.

You will study 19th and 20th century responses to the rapid social, cultural, and linguistic changes in countries where the Celtic languages are spoken. You will also study the writing, song, and media production emerging from the lively and varied contemporary cultural scene in Gaelic Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

At all levels of study, we offer courses in language, literature, history, and culture. This will enable you to build your programme by developing your own interests in particular areas, periods, and disciplines of Celtic studies. Our expertise extends to:

  • theoretical and practical issues of current sociolinguistics
  • language policy
  • language revitalisation

Celtic languages

You can choose to study Scottish Gaelic from Year 1, and continue to learn about Scottish Gaelic language, literature, and culture throughout your studies.

If you choose this pathway through the programme, it doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner in Scottish Gaelic; we stream our Year 1 classes to suit all levels of prior knowledge or none.

You can also learn a medieval Celtic language at honours level (Years 3 and 4). For this path, you will study Celtic civilisation and literature in Years 1 and 2, with texts presented in English translation.

Both Old Irish and Middle Welsh are available, and students may choose to study one, or both.

French

French is a major world language, spoken in many parts of Europe, Africa and the Americas.

At Edinburgh, you will study the French language in the context of the diverse countries, cultures and societies in which it is spoken.

Over the course of your four-year programme, you will have the opportunity to acquire near-native fluency in French while gaining the broad cultural education valued by graduate employers.

We will introduce you to the extraordinary richness and variety of one of the world's great civilisations. You will explore aspects of French culture, including Francophone:

  • literature and cinema
  • political history
  • social movements
  • philosophical ideas

Our courses cover material from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century and include specialist options taught by leading experts in their field. Topics include post-colonial studies and gender studies, among others.

###Why Edinburgh

We are unique in Scotland in offering students a full academic year abroad within the four-year honours programme, regardless of whether you spend the year studying or working.

Our programme is extremely flexible. In Years 1 and 2, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines, and specialise as you progress through your honours years.

As a world-leading festival city, and Scotland's capital, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to study Celtic alongside a global language in cultural context.

When you graduate, you will have the combination of broad cultural education and specialist knowledge valued by employers worldwide.

One of the most attractive characteristics of this four-year programme is its flexibility.

In Years 1 and 2, your pre-honours years, you will choose option courses from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Celtic and French.

As well as broadening your education and skill set, this may enable you to change the focus of your programme in Years 3 and 4, your honours years.

Year 1

Celtic

In Year 1 of your Celtic studies, you can choose between studying the Gaelic language and Celtic Civilisation.

Language pathway

If you are taking the language pathway, your course will be determined by how much Scottish Gaelic you already know.

If you have no previous knowledge, you will gain confidence in written and spoken Scottish Gaelic by taking our Gaelic 1A course.

If you are an advanced speaker, our Gaelic 1B course will deepen your experience of Scottish Gaelic literature and develop your language skills.

Civilisations pathway

The civilisations pathway (our Celtic Civilisation 1A and 1B courses) seeks to place the Celtic languages of the past and present into wider historical and contemporary context.

You will consider the impact of modern Celticness on how the past has been understood and will be introduced to Celtic Studies in the medieval and modern periods.

There is also the opportunity to combine the study of Celtic Civilisation with our basic language learning course, Introduction to Gaelic Language and Culture.

French

If you have limited knowledge of French, you will take French 1A, an intensive language course that also introduces you to French culture.

If you have studied French beyond National 5 (SQA) or GCSE level, you will typically take French 1B. As well as developing your written and spoken language skills, this course focuses on modern French literature, culture and civilisation.

We will introduce you to the extraordinary richness and variety of one of the world's great civilisations by focusing on social and political events from the Second World War to the 21st century.

These include:

  • resistance and collaboration
  • the Fifth Republic
  • May 1968
  • feminism
  • colonisation and decolonisation

Option courses

You will complete your Year 1 studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

You can, for example, opt to study another language. We offer one of the widest ranges of languages of any UK university. The majority are suitable for complete beginners and include cultural study.

Other options include, but are not limited to, courses in:

  • linguistics and language sciences
  • business, economics and informatics
  • politics, social policy and social anthropology
  • art and architectural history
  • history, classics and archaeology
  • Celtic and Scottish ethnology
  • philosophy, divinity and law

Year 2

Celtic

You can choose between continuing to study the Gaelic language or studying Celtic Literatures.

If you are taking the language pathway, you will refine your language skills, as well as learning more about Scottish Gaelic’s literature, culture, and linguistic structure, and exploring verse and prose.

If you are taking the literature pathway, you will 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.

French

You will develop your written and spoken language skills in readiness for your year abroad in Year 3.

You will also build on your knowledge of French and Francophone culture. In these courses, the focus now shifts to exploring the 16th to 19th centuries.

You will study work by authors such as Molière, Montaigne and Baudelaire alongside texts that have been considered marginal to French culture for reasons of gender or colonial politics.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will complete your studies with option courses chosen from a wide range offered by the University of Edinburgh.

These include a great selection in European languages and cultures, allowing you to study literature, film and theatre in themed and comparative contexts.

You will also have the chance to study French politics or different aspects of linguistics.

Year 3

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 in a French-speaking country, turning classroom learning into living engagement with Francophone culture.

Whether studying or working (for example, as a teaching assistant in a school), our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has broadened their life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of the French language and culture.

During your year abroad, we will aim to ensure your experience is as beneficial as possible to your final year, as well as to your wider language learning, cultural awareness and skills development.

You will complete prescribed work in both Celtic and French. For example, you will take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your final year French courses.

If international travel is not possible, you will be offered an alternative means of engaging with your subjects, enabling you to meet your learning outcomes and preparing you for your final year.

Year 4

You will undertake advanced language work aimed at developing high-level oral and writing skills.

You will also choose specialist, honours-level courses in both Celtic and French and complete your dissertation or long essay.

Celtic

Modern courses explore literary, cultural, and historical aspects of Gaelic Scotland and Ireland (such as linguistics and sociolinguistics) from around 1600 to the present day.

Medieval courses introduce the Early Irish and Medieval Welsh languages and develop your study of literature, history and culture.

French

Courses cover topics such as:

  • French political thought
  • 17th and 19th-century theatre
  • autobiography
  • the modern city
  • French New Wave
  • France's relations with former colonies

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 (2022/23)

Our facilities

On campus

When you are on campus, you can expect to spend most of your time in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area - in class, in the library, or in one of the University’s many social spaces.

The Central Area is located on the edge of Edinburgh's historic Old Town, surrounded by lots of green space.

Take a virtual tour of the Central Area

Libraries, collections and centres

We hold the Celtic Class Library, which comprises a wide range of specialist materials, and the larger Scottish Studies Library. You will also have access to the University’s rare books and manuscripts, such as:

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

The Main University Library also holds academic books, journals and databases, including over 118,500 books and 25,500 journals in French. You will have access to films, newspapers and other media in French.

One of the University's treasures is the School of Scottish Studies Archives, an extensive collection relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland. The Archives contain thousands of hours of recordings of songs, music, stories, rhyme and verse in Scots, Gaelic and English, as well as in dialects now extinct. There are also photographs and rarely-seen historic documents which capture exceptional and everyday aspects of Scottish culture and heritage.

We are founding members of:

  • Soillse (the National Research Network for the Maintenance and Revitalisation of Gaelic Language and Culture)
  • the Gaelic Algorithmic Research Group
  • Faclair na Gàidhlig (a collaborative project to publish a historical dictionary of Scottish Gaelic)

Events and activities

The Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) supports more than 300 student-led societies and clubs, and promotes opportunities with local charities through its volunteering centre.

An Comunn Ceilteach (The Highland Society) is the University’s oldest student society and organises the city’s largest annual cèilidh.

The French theatre society - Les Escogriffes - typically stages a play in French each year, with opportunities to direct, act, produce and promote.

Passionate about music, literature, song and storytelling, we regularly hold events for staff, students and visiting guests to speak, perform or present research.

We also have a Traditional Artist in Residence, a performer from within the traditional arts in Scotland who works with staff and students on a range of projects and performances.

Staff and student editors publish creative writing in nine European languages - including French - in the online magazine, Babble. Launch nights typically include readings and performances.

In the city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include the National Library of Scotland (which has one of the best French collections in the UK), the Scottish Poetry Library, and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

The city has a long-established Gaelic community and a lively contemporary cultural scene. For example, there are conversation groups for practicing Gaelic socially, fèisean for performers, and an annual festival, Seachdain na Gàidhlig.

There is plenty to see and do throughout the year, including events at the annual French Film Festival, and at the nearby Institut français d’Écosse.

Study abroad

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 (a minimum of 30 weeks) in a French-speaking country.

This is your chance to immerse yourself in Francophone culture, and to develop your broader life experience and skills towards life after university.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars and e-learning.

In our language teaching, there is an emphasis on interaction and developing fluency, and on building the strong linguistic competencies required for a range of careers.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams.

Skills and experience

Studying languages to degree level demonstrates that you are a good communicator, a resilient problem solver, and someone open to other cultures and new ideas – what employers value as Intercultural Competence.

Beyond the language skills you will develop on this joint honours programme, and the nuanced understanding you will gain of other cultures and societies, graduating with a four-year Master of Arts degree from the University of Edinburgh shows high-level intellectual strength and flexibility.

The skills you will be able to demonstrate to employers when you graduate include the ability to understand, analyse and articulate key concepts, and to work to varied briefs to deadline, both independently and in groups.

Opportunities at home and away

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 and specialists in Celtic culture.

Graduating with French too, you will be near-fluent in a major language of international communication, one of the most widely spoken in the world.

You will be well-placed to seek opportunities in the 29 countries where French is an official language, and the many multinational companies and institutions for which it is a working language, including the European Commission.

For language graduates, employment prospects are particularly high within:

  • education, outreach, advocacy and training
  • journalism, broadcasting and media
  • communications, marketing, advertising and public relations
  • politics, policy work, diplomacy, civil service and law
  • publishing, culture, heritage and the arts
  • translating and interpreting

In some areas, there are more Gaelic-related jobs than there are people qualified to fill them.

Your transferable humanities skills and Intercultural Competence will also set you apart in sectors such as:

  • business, finance and commerce
  • leisure, tourism and travel
  • research, development and venture acceleration

Further study

The enhanced research skills that you develop on a four-year programme, particularly in your honours years, are valuable assets if you wish to continue studying at postgraduate level.

At the University of Edinburgh, we typically offer:

  • MSc by Research degrees in Celtic and Scottish Studies and in French
  • Taught MSc programmes in Comparative Literature, Intermediality, and Translation Studies

Eventually, you may decide to conduct doctoral work, like several of our past students.

Careers advice

We have an excellent Careers Service. Throughout your time with us, we will encourage you to identify and hone your employability skills, including through peer initiatives such as Life After LLC (Literatures, Languages and Cultures) where you can draw inspiration from our graduates.

Be inspired by our alumni

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: Gaelic or French at B. National 5s: English at C and French at B (if not at Higher).
  • A Levels: French at B. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: French at 5. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements

Language requirement

For degrees that have a subject requirement of a language other than English, students may not use their own native language to meet this requirement. In these instances, English or an alternative language other than native will be acceptable.

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

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

SQA, GCSE and IB

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
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • 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.
  • 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 62 with at least 54 in each component.

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

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

English language requirements

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 Celtic and French

Additional costs

As long as international restrictions allow, you will spend Year 3 abroad. The costs incurred will depend on where you decide to go, and how you spend your time.

Some study placements at language schools may charge a fee, but we will normally reimburse you for tuition costs as long as your activity has been approved. You will be responsible for associated travel costs such as flights and visas.

Funding

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