Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Celtic and Archaeology

UCAS code: QV54

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Celtic and Archaeology

Leugh an duilleag seo sa Gàidhlig

Uncover Scotland's past and help shape its future. This programme offers you the opportunity to study the languages, literatures and cultures of the Celtic worlds alongside the archaeology of Scotland and the wider world.

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.

Archaeology

Your studies in archaeology will take you back in time, and help you to develop a parallel range of skills in the interpretation of social and cultural change.

The programme also enables students to appreciate the material basis of archaeology, the contested nature of objects, the social relationships that are spun around them and the people who use and interpret them.

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 broad list of disciplines in addition to your core subjects of Celtic and Archaeology.

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 also study Archaeology 1A and Archaeology 1B. These courses offer a broad introduction to our human past, identifying crucial events in the development from the evolution of the first humans several million years ago, to the emergence of farming and the development of civilisations in Europe, Egypt and the Near East.

These courses also cover the key techniques that archaeologists use. These range from methods of site discovery, excavation and recording and analysing artefacts, to more recent and innovative approaches to reconstruct the lifeways of past peoples, including the scientific analysis of animal and human remains.

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

Over the long vacation at the end of Year 1, you will be required to undertake three weeks of fieldwork.

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 Archaeology, you will study the archaeology of Scotland from the earliest evidence of human occupation at the end of the last ice age to the Roman incursion in the early 1st millennium AD. A field trip to visit archaeological sites and visits to the National Museum of Scotland are core components of this course.

You will also study Archaeology in Action, which develops your understanding of professional archaeological practice and explores exciting innovations in archaeological methods through real-world applications and hands-on practical exercises.

As in Year 1, you will also have a choice from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh.

Year 3

This is the first of your ‘honours’ years, where you’ll specialise in the aspects of Celtic which interest you most by choosing from a range of courses.

Modern courses in Celtic explore literary, cultural, and historical aspects of Gaelic Scotland and Ireland from around 1600 to the present day, such as linguistics and sociolinguistics, and advanced Gaelic language work aimed at developing high-level oral and writing skills.

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

You will study Theoretical Archaeology, which explores the history of archaeology from its antiquarian beginnings in the 18th and 19th centuries and its development as an academic discipline. You will consider the theories that archaeologists have used to understand and interpret the remains that they have found and examine how these ideas have changed over the past 150 years.

You will also study Archaeology in Practice, which focuses on the contemporary practice of archaeology in the UK as well as internationally, providing an insight into the practical skills required of professional archaeologists. You will choose one additional course from Archaeology options.

Year 4

In Year 4, you will choose further specialist courses and will complete your dissertation.

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 (2021/22)

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.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to study abroad through the University’s international exchange programme.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, museum visits and fieldwork.

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.

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.

As well as for their practical Archaeology experience, our graduates are highly valued in the workplace for the skills they have gained in research, analysis, communication and presentation.

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.

There are also opportunities to continue studying at postgraduate level, with the honours years in particular, developing the research skills you will 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. National 5s: English at C and a language other than English at B.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and a language other than English at B or 6.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5 and a language other than 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

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 Archaeology

Additional costs

In Year 1 you will contribute to the cost of the vacation field school and fieldwork. Arrangements for the field school are currently under review. Normally the minimum requirement is three weeks of field experience. After Year 1, you may opt to undertake practical archaeological work in the vacations of Years 2 and 3.

Costs for assignments and other practical archaeological work depend on the type of work chosen and the location, which may vary from Scotland to the Middle East.

There may also be additional costs if you choose to study abroad in Year 3.

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