Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Celtic and Scandinavian Studies

UCAS code: QR56

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Celtic and Scandinavian Studies

Leugh an duilleag seo sa Gàidhlig

There has long been a strong Scandinavian influence on the Celtic world. This programme gives you the opportunity to study the languages, literatures and cultures of the Celtic and Scandinavian countries, side-by-side.

Celtic

In 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 and Irish 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 with 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.

Our expertise spans theoretical and practical issues of current sociolinguistics, language policy and language revitalisation.

Scottish Gaelic

Scottish Gaelic is at the heart of our Celtic programme and, at honours level, it is also possible to study the medieval Celtic languages. At all levels, we offer courses in language, literature, history, and culture, enabling you to build your programme by developing your own interests in particular areas, periods, and disciplines of Celtic studies.

Scandinavian Studies

The languages, history, politics and culture of the Scandinavian countries have had a considerable impact beyond the Nordic region, including in Scotland. In this part of your programme, you'll learn a Scandinavian language while exploring Scandinavian culture, past and present.

Over four years, you'll specialise in the modern language of either Denmark, Norway or Sweden but, whichever you choose, you'll also gain an understanding of the other two. You do not need a previous knowledge of any of the languages, as courses are available for beginners, and you'll spend your third year abroad gaining lived experience of Scandinavian culture.

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

This means that in Years 1 and 2, you'll choose option courses drawn from a wide range of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Celtic and Scandinavian Studies.

This not only gives you a broader education, but may enable you to change the focus of your programme in your honours years (Years 3 and 4).

Year 1

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

If you’re taking the language pathway, your course will be determined by how much Scottish Gaelic you already know. Students with no previous knowledge will gain confidence in written and spoken Scottish Gaelic by taking our Gaelic 1A course, while advanced speakers will deepen their experience of Scottish Gaelic literature, as well as developing their language skills, on our Gaelic 1B course.

The civilisations pathway (courses Celtic Civilisation 1A and 1B) 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 you will examine 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 & Culture.

You will choose one of the three intensive beginners' language courses: Danish 1, Norwegian 1 or Swedish 1. These courses also introduce the culture and literature of your chosen Scandinavian country.

Over the course of Years 1 & 2, you'll be encouraged to take one, or both, of two courses in Scandinavian Civilisation. These provide an overview of important trends in the history, society, culture and politics of the Scandinavian and wider Nordic world, from the earliest times to the present.

The Scandinavian Civilisation courses are among a range of options offered by the University of Edinburgh, which include - but are not limited to - courses in:

  • business
  • politics
  • social policy
  • informatics
  • economics
  • history (including art and architectural history)
  • classics
  • archaeology
  • philosophy
  • linguistics
  • divinity

Year 2

In Year 2 of Celtic, you can choose between continuing to study the Gaelic language, and Celtic Literatures.

If you’re taking the language pathway, you’ll 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’re taking the literature pathway, you’ll 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.

In Year 2 of Scandinavian Studies, you will continue with Danish Language 2, Norwegian Language 2 or Swedish Language 2, building on and developing your linguistic knowledge from Year 1.

You will also take further courses in Scandinavian literature and languages. You can opt, for example, to develop your skills in understanding all three Scandinavian languages.

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

Year 3

International travel restrictions permitting, you'll spend your third year in either Denmark, Norway or Sweden, either studying or completing a work/teaching placement.

Whether studying or working, our graduates have told us how much the year abroad has benefitted their broader life experience and skills, as well as their understanding of Scandinavian culture.

During your year abroad, we'll 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. While away, you will undertake prescribed assessments in both Scandinavian Studies and Celtic. For example, for Scandinavian Studies, you'll take an e-learning language course which will count as part of your third year mark and prepare you for your final year courses in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

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

In Year 4, you will choose specialist courses in both Celtic and Scandinavian studies and will complete your dissertation or long essay.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the University of Edinburgh's Central Area.

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the National Library, Museum, Archives, and Galleries of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library, and Scottish Storytelling Centre.

As well as the University's excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, you will also have access to specialist collections. These collections include the School of Scottish Studies Archives, a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland (including some 33,000 audio recordings), and to the Archive's extensive library holdings, including important Celtic holdings.

We host the Northern Scholars programme which fosters co-operation between scholars of the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Scotland, largely through events such as public lectures, workshops, and the involvement of visiting guests in teaching and learning activities.

Study abroad

If international travel restrictions allow, you’ll spend Year 3 abroad (a minimum of 30 weeks), in a Scandinavian country. This is your chance to immerse yourself in the culture of Norway, Sweden or Denmark, 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 and seminars. 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.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2021/22)

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.

As there are relatively few graduates from UK universities specialising in the Scandinavian languages, there are excellent opportunities for those who do learn Danish, Norwegian or Swedish, particularly since speakers of one language are widely understood in all Scandinavian countries.

Our graduates are to be found in every kind of career, especially those that place a premium on well-honed communication skills, thinking that is both disciplined and imaginative, and where the skills and experiences developed during your Year Aboard are highly valued.

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.

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: no specific Higher subjects required. Applicants with Gaelic, or a language other than English, at B, preferred. National 5s: English at C and a language other than English at B (if not at Higher).
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. Applicants with a language other than English, at B, preferred. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and a language other than English at B or 6 (if not at A Level).
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. Applicants with a language other than English, at 5, preferred. SL: English at 5 and a language other than English at 5 (if not at HL).

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

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

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
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade 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 module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

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, 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 Scandinavian Studies

Additional costs

International travel restrictions permitting, you will spend Year 3 abroad. Your costs will depend on where you decide to go and how you spend your time.

Universities may charge you a fee for courses, but we will reimburse you for this provided the course has been approved.

You will be informed about the cost implications as you plan your year abroad, during Year 2.

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