Among the Celtic languages taught at Edinburgh University in the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, Scottish Gaelic, as an indigenous language of Scotland, receives the greatest emphasis. Early Irish and Medieval Welsh are also offered at Honours level. Since the establishment of the first Chair of Celtic in Scotland in 1882, the department has played a leading rôle both in research and in teaching. Celtic is a versatile academic discipline that includes both linguistic and literary scholarship, and in recent years an important socio-political dimension has emerged with particular focus on the modern Celtic languages, and especially on the situation of Scottish Gaelic in the devolved Scottish context. The study of Celtic develops the ability to engage in critical dialogue with literature and culture past and present, and to frame conceptually rigorous arguments in engaging with both texts and language.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise in 2008, 30% of the research in Celtic Studies at Edinburgh University was rated as 3*, internationally excellent, with a further 20% rated 4*, world-leading.
Archaeology provides a unique perspective on the human past, on what it is to be human. As the only subject that deals with the entire human past in all its temporal and spatial dimensions, it is fundamental to our understanding of how we evolved and how our societies came into being. Archaeology can be defined as the study of the human past through material remains with a chronological range from the earliest hominids five million years ago to the present day. It is a discipline with its own methods and theory drawing on a rich archive of past work; research and teaching in archaeology are therefore multi - or interdisciplinary: a particular topic or theme may be approached from different perspectives, and with different methodologies. At Edinburgh the main focus is on the prehistory of Britain, temperate Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East with a range of specialisms in bioarchaeology, illustration and landscape archaeology.
Specific areas which may appeal to graduates of this degree include heritage organisations, broadcasting and other media, publishing, arts development, tourism, local or national government, research, management or education. Having a knowledge of culture and the creative arts is relevant to employers both in a national context and overseas, given Scotland’s links to many countries across the world. The ability to undertake original research through cultural fieldwork, emphasised in several of the courses on this programme, is a key skill within many modern professions.
The University of Edinburgh has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its teaching and research and the resources for the study of Scotland at this institution and within the city at large are second to none. Students have access to the University’s libraries and computing facilities, to the internationally-renowned School of Scottish Studies Archives, and to a range of audio and visual recording and editing technologies, while the National Museums Scotland, National Library of Scotland and National Archives of Scotland are all close at hand.
The main aims of the programme are to
- Offer students proficiency in Scottish Gaelic language and/or Early Irish and Medieval Welsh language as well as the study of their historical, literary, cultural, and political contexts.
- Provide students with a thorough grounding in the literature of Scottish Gaelic and/or or Early Irish and Medieval Welsh, enabling them to access a wide range of original material.
- Enable students to recognise and evaluate the social, historical and intellectual contexts by which literary texts are shaped.
- Engage students in the theoretical debates about language and literature in order to encourage critical engagement with texts.
- 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