Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Celtic and Linguistics

UCAS code: QQ15

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Celtic and Linguistics

Leugh an duilleag seo sa Gàidhlig

This programme offers you the opportunity to investigate the languages, literatures and cultures of the Celtic worlds alongside linguistic study in a worldwide context.

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.

Linguistics

The study of linguistics enables you to investigate the development of languages, using theories of language structure, language acquisition, and language use.

You will have the opportunity to formulate and test scientific hypotheses about linguistic phenomena, and you will learn to use specialist equipment and software for the analysis of the sounds of a language. You will be able to describe the phenomena and processes that influence the changes that languages undergo over time.

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 Linguistics.

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, to consider the impact of modern Celticness on how the past has been understood, and to provide introductions 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 & Culture.

You will take two semester-long introductory courses in linguistics:

Linguistics and English Language 1A

This course offers a brief introduction to the study of language in general and of English in particular.

Linguistics and English Language 1B

This course will help you develop the tools and knowledge needed to investigate in a systematic way the different subsystems of language.

In addition to your compulsory courses, you will also choose from a wide range of option courses offered by the University of Edinburgh. These include - but aren't limited to - courses in business, politics, social policy, informatics and economics, and in history (including art and architectural history), classics, archaeology, and 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.

You will also take a course looking at linguistic theory, and choose between a course on the variation observed in the languages of the world or one on the structure and history of the major European languages.

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

Year 3

In Year 3, you will choose from a range of specialist courses in both Celtic and Linguistics.

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.

You will have access to the University's excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces. You will also have access to specialist collections such as 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.

Specialist linguistics resources include recording studios, experiment booths, and a perception laboratory.

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 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.

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.

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 Linguistics

Additional costs

There may 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