Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

MA Scottish Ethnology and Celtic

UCAS code: VQ95

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Literatures, Languages and Cultures

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Scottish Ethnology and Celtic

Uncover Scotland’s past and help shape its future, while gaining skills that you can apply to any culture.

This programme offers you the opportunity to study the languages, literatures and cultures of Scotland alongside the wider Celtic world, past and present.

Scottish Ethnology

Ethnology is the discipline which studies the culture and traditions of developed societies and is sometimes described as being at the intersection where history and anthropology meet.

While commonly offered in universities across Europe, this is the only full undergraduate programme of its kind available within the UK.

Focusing on Scotland, but introducing comparative material from elsewhere, you will study the varying ways in which a modern European nation expresses itself culturally, through such forms as its customs, beliefs, social organisation, language, music and song.

This programme explores questions like:

  • How do these help to create and shape identity in the modern world?

  • How do we use and make sense of the past from within our present?

  • How can this understanding help us to shape our future?

Working with a range of rich materials, from traditional archives to modern media and digital data, you will develop the practical and intellectual tools to help navigate and influence contemporary culture and society in an increasingly globalised world.

Celtic

The programme also provides you with an understanding of Scottish Gaelic and its cultural environment through the study of:

  • language

  • literature

  • history

  • culture

Language learning plays an important role in developing a deeper understanding of Scottish Gaelic literature and culture through direct engagement with primary sources, as well as with theoretical concepts.

You'll develop subject expertise in Celtic Studies, with the option to explore other Celtic languages in addition to Scottish Gaelic.

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 Scottish Ethnology and Celtic.

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

Scottish Ethnology

In Scottish Ethnology, you will study Scottish cultural history, heritage, cultural expression and representation.

Courses also look at literature, music and visual arts and how these are linked to Scottish identity.

Celtic

In Celtic, you can choose between studying the Gaelic language and Celtic Civilisation.

Language pathway

If you’re 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.

Advanced speakers will deepen their experience of Scottish Gaelic literature, as well as developing their language skills, on our Gaelic 1B course.

Civilisations pathway

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 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.

Option courses

In addition, you will choose from a wide range of courses 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

  • philosophy

  • linguistics

  • languages

  • divinity

Year 2

Scottish Ethnology

You will study oral and visual representations of Scotland through music, song, art, photography and film.

You will also study the social, cultural and topographical features of Scotland and their influence upon each other over time.

Celtic

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

Language pathway

If you’re taking the language pathway, you’ll:

  • refine your language skills

  • learn more about Scottish Gaelic’s literature, culture and linguistic structure

  • explore verse and prose

Literature pathway

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.

Option courses

As in Year 1, you will have a choice from a wide range of option courses.

Year 3

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

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.

As well as the University's excellent computing and audiovisual resources, support services and social spaces, you'll also have access to specialist collections such as the School of Scottish Studies Archives.

The Archives have a unique and extensive collection of audio and visual material relating to the culture and tradition of Scotland (including some 33,000 audio recordings).

The Archive's extensive library holdings include important Scottish ethnological, wider ethnological and Celtic holdings.

Scottish Ethnology in Edinburgh city

Edinburgh is a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections, including the:

  • National Library

  • National Museum

  • National Archives

  • National Galleries of Scotland

  • Scottish Poetry Library

  • Scottish Storytelling Centre

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 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

  • seminars

  • small group tutorials

Extensive use is also made of audio and visual resources, as well as readily accessible online materials.

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.

Great care is taken in providing a welcoming learning environment with regular face-to-face access to tutors, lecturers and support staff.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework and exams. In Years 3 and 4 you will complete a dissertation.

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 policy development

  • the arts, cultural and tourism sectors

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

Additionally, Scottish Ethnology graduates are highly valued in the workplace for their strong abilities in cultural analysis and the skills they have gained in research and communication.

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: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-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 Scottish Ethnology and Celtic

Additional costs

Your dissertation may involve some fieldwork, depending on your topic of study, which may mean paying for travel costs.

However, if you prefer, you can select an archive-based project that is unlikely to have any 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