The University has a long history of supporting study at a postgraduate level in Gaelic and Celtic Studies. We currently offer a Master’s degree by research (normally the MLitt, or Master of Letters) and a doctorate by research: the PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy. The UK Research Councils ordinarily expect students to undertake a Master’s degree before embarking on a PhD, and this has become a widespread practice, but it is still possible for an outstanding individual to progress straight to the PhD in certain circumstances.

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In Aberdeen, the MLitt normally involves one year of full-time study. The culmination of the MLitt is the research dissertation of around 30000 words. Students also take research training courses during their year of study. It is also possible to study part-time for the MLitt.


A PhD in Aberdeen ordinarily follows the model of ‘1+3’, in that students normally take a one-year Master’s degree in preparation for the PhD itself. The PhD takes three years, for a full-time student, and involves the writing of a dissertation in the region of 90000 words. Like the MLitt, the PhD can be taken on a part-time basis. PhD students are expected to carry on taking training and development courses and to participate in the research environment of the Department, the School  and the University as a whole. This research environment includes conference organising and participation, publication of research, collaboration with members of staff and participation in the School’s postgraduate forum. Some PhD students are also given the opportunity to teach on undergraduate courses from time to time.

Postgraduate Funding

The College’s Graduate School has information about fees and about how MLitts and PhDs can be funded. The Department benefits from the existence of the Milne Bequest Scholarship and the MacLeod Scholarship. Both of these awards have been made available, on a competitive basis, to help cover the costs of postgraduate study. Typically, they are sufficient to offset the cost of UK/EU fees. Enquiries should be sent in the first instance to: Dr Moray Watson.