Research Degrees

MLitt, PhD

Head of Research Area

Head of School: Professor Patrick Crotty


Academic Staff: 6

For Further Information Contact

Dr Aideen O'Leary
School of Language & Literature

Related Taught Programmes


The Celtic Department at Aberdeen provides a highly supportive research environment which fosters a wide variety of scholarly approaches to the ancient, medieval and modern cultures of the Celtic-speaking countries.

There is a special focus on contemporary Scottish Gaelic language, literature and socio-linguistics, minority-language planning and policy, medieval history, ancient Celtic religion and mythology, and the formation of our image of the Celts in the modern period.

The Department is represented on the Board of Celtic Studies (Scotland) and in close contact with the Celtic Departments of other Scottish Universities (Edinburgh, Glasgow). 

Postgraduates are encouraged to make use of such links. Celtic at Aberdeen is also a member of the Irish-Scottish Academic Initiative, involving the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde along with Queen's Univeristy Belfast and Trinity College Dublin. This provides students and staff with opportunities for scholarly exchanges of various types.

Applicants to the MPhil or PhD must provide a detailed research proposal and two academic references from their most recent academic institution.

Our Research

Prof David Norman Dumville is a leading expert in medieval Insular Celtic history and palaeography. He is editor of the Journal of Celtic Studies and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.

Ms Margaret MacIver was formerly the Education Officer of Comunn na Gàidhlig and is a specialist for Gaelic-medium education. Together with Christina Walker she acts as recruitment co-ordinator for Celtic and Gaelic.

Ms Christina MacKenzie has special research interests in literature and politics, the changing role of women in the Gaelic community, Gaelic as a minority language and Gaelic poetry of the 18th century.

Dr Michelle MacLeod specialises in modern Gaelic literature, the concept of Gaelic identity, the modern Gaelic community, Gaelic drama, and language teaching and planning. She is an Adviser of Studies and the Gaelic Summer School co-ordinator.

Dr Moray Watson specialises in lexicographical scholarship leading into analysis of corpus planning principles and outputs and in literary criticism with a focus on modern Gaelic literature. He is an Adviser of Studies and the Department Information Officer.

Dr Aideen O'Leary has a wide knowledge of medieval Insular languages and has undertaken research on religious literature from the Middle Ages (in particular concerning fears about the apocalype) and medieval Irish poetry.

Dr Ralph O' Connor is based in the History department but is involved with postgraduate teaching in Celtic. He is currently working on his third book, a literary and historical study of the medieval Irish Saga 'Togzil Bruidne Da Perga'. He has published articles on the Phaedra myth in Norse and Celtic literatures, early Irish kingship ideology and the concept of fiction in the Middle Ages.

Postgraduate degrees in Gaelic or Celtic can lead to careers in University teaching and research, but they can also lead to careers in, for example, the civil service, tourism, heritage management and the media. With the implementation of the Gaelic Language Act, special opportunities may be expected to arise for graduates who have acquired the ability to speak and write Scottish Gaelic with fluency.


Tuition fee rates for the academic year can be found at :-

Sources of Funding

The Arts and Humanities Research Council may provide fees and maintenance for UK students and fees only for European students:  

The College of Arts and Social Sciences offers a limited number of awards to assist with fees. Details are available via the website:  

Scottish students with a first-class Honours degree may obtain funding from the Carnegie Trust:  

Research students may also be offered the opportunity to undertake a small amount of paid teaching in the Department.

Course Contact

Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
Elphinstone Road
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576