Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Celtic

Why choose Celtic at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Edinburgh is a leading centre for the study of minority languages, language planning and language maintenance in the Celtic context.

  • Edinburgh provides an outstanding learning environment for those interested in Celtic and Gaelic and the University offers great experience in language teaching. We have previously won the Best Department category in the Edinburgh University Students' Association Teaching Awards.

  • Our facilities include unrivalled library resources for students of Celtic and Gaelic, innovative courses as well as sound, video, film and photographic resources from the School of Scottish Studies' archives, offering you unique opportunities for the study of traditional Gaelic literary and cultural heritage. You can also access important collections in the National Library of Scotland, National Museum of Scotland and National Archives of Scotland, which are all located close to the University.

Study abroad

I’m not only learning what my courses are teaching me directly, like new languages, cultures and literature, but being taught to be inquisitive and ask questions about everything.

Mika Cook 4th year MA (Hons) Celtic & Scandinavian
Mika Cook 4th year MA (Hons) Celtic & Scandinavian

Leugh an duilleag seo sa Gàidhlig

The study of Celtic offers the opportunity to learn about extraordinarily rich cultures, languages and literatures from the Middle Ages to the present day. We work with the medieval literary tradition in Gaelic and Welsh, the most extensive in the whole of Europe, with 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.

We explore 19th- and 20th-century responses to the rapid social, cultural, and linguistic changes in countries where the Celtic languages are spoken, and work with the writing, song, and media production emerging from the lively and varied contemporary cultural scene in Gaelic Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. We also work at the cutting edge of linguistic and socio-linguistic research in the Celtic languages.

Scottish Gaelic

Scottish Gaelic is at the heart of the study of Celtic at the University of Edinburgh, and at honours level, it is also possible to study modern Irish and 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.

Year 1

If you are already qualified in Scottish Gaelic, you will study Gaelic 1B, focusing on Scottish Gaelic language and literature. If you are a beginner you will study Gaelic 1A, concentrating on language learning. Introduction to Gaelic Language & Culture includes basic language-learning opportunities. Celtic Civilisation 1A and 1B provide overviews of the social and cultural history of the Celtic peoples from late antiquity to the present day, including language, literature, religion and art.

Year 2

Two language courses expand and develop your familiarity with Scottish Gaelic language and literature. Gaelic 2A builds on the work of Gaelic 1A, while Gaelic 2B builds on the work of Gaelic 1B. Celtic Literature 2A and 2B enable you to explore medieval, early modern and modern literature in translation, covering the Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gaelic literary traditions. Celtic Literature 2A plus 2B qualifies you for the medieval curriculum at honours level. Gaelic 2A or 2B qualifies you for either the medieval or modern curriculum.

Year 3

You can develop your programme of study by choosing from courses from both the modern and the medieval programme. Medieval courses introduce early Irish and Welsh language and develop your study of literature, history and culture. Modern courses open up the study of literary, cultural, and historical aspects of Gaelic Scotland and Ireland from around 1600 to the present day, such as linguistics and sociolinguistics, modern Irish language, and advanced Gaelic language work aimed at developing high-level oral and writing skills.

Year 4

As Year 3.

Are there additional costs?

There may be additional costs if you choose to follow a programme with a Study abroad element. Please check individual programme descriptions for details.

Our facilities

Teaching will take place within the University's Central Area, in modern lecture theatres and seminar rooms. You will have access to the University's libraries, the School of Scottish Studies Archives, which include extensive Celtic library holdings, and general computer facilities, in George Square.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to study abroad through Erasmus+ and the University's international exchange programme.

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 careers in the Gaelic world.

How will I be assessed?

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

Our Celtic graduates have always been very successful in gaining academic, educational, administrative, political and journalistic employment, as well as work in the cultural sector.

Thanks to the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, the creation of BBC Alba, the Gaelic digital television service, and the ongoing expansion of Gaelic-medium education, among other developments, there has been increased demand for highly educated Gaelic speakers and cultural leaders, particularly within the education sector, Gaelic-related research, and media and broadcasting.