Undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Study

In classWe teach courses in Gaelic language, culture and literature and cater for all levels of fluency, especially beginners.

Gaelic Studies offer single, joint, and combined MA degrees at undergraduate level. You can also learn Gaelic alongside your core degree discipline in first and second year only, as part of the University's options.

Here you will find information about how the Gaelic degree is structured and how you might chose Gaelic as an additional subject in your first year of study. Also take the opportunity to attend an open day hosted by the university so you can visit us and experience life on campus and in the city.

You might only study with us for a semester, or for the duration of your undergraduate degree. Whichever path you follow, we offer you the opportunity to learn more about Scotland's oldest living language, and to develop your Gaelic skills in a friendly and supportive environment.

Gaelic Degree

Here you can find out more about your options to study Gaelic as part of your degree at Aberdeen.

How is the MA in Gaelic Structured?

Gaelic Studies concentrates on modern Scottish Gaelic language, literature and society. There are three distinct language streams in the degree course: for absolute or near beginners, for those with Higher Gaelic (learners), and for those with Higher Gàidhlig (native speakers).

The beginners’ intensive course helps students work towards fluency in both reading and writing in as short a time as possible, while the courses for those who have done Gaelic already focus on improving accuracy and increasing students’ vocabulary and range of expression.

In addition to the language, from first year onwards our students have the chance to learn about areas like folklore, literature, language planning, linguistics and sociolinguistics. You also study subjects in other disciplines, alongside Gaelic. The MA in Gaelic Studies can be taken as a single or joint honours programme.

Which Language Stream is for Me?

Students with little or no Gaelic study an intensive beginners course in Years 1 and 2.

The beginners course follows a structured programme of language classes, based on a custom-written textbook series called 'Progressive Gaelic', by Dr Moray Watson.

Students with a good pass in Higher Gaelic for learners follow an intermediate Gaelic language stream, and students with a good pass in Higher Gàidhlig for native speakers follow an advanced stream specifically for native speakers.

GH1507 LongWhat else can I study alongside Gaelic?

In the first two years, your compulsory studies in Gaelic will take up only some of your study, and you choose other subjects to study alongside. So, it is important that you consider the broad range of subjects you might like to take before you arrive (see the Catalogue of Courses).

At Aberdeen, our Gaelic degree is offered as a Joint-Degree programme, so you can choose from Year 1 to have two main areas of study. The following information will help you identify what other subjects you can study with Gaelic to honours level.

Joint Honour Degrees in Gaelic

  • MA in Gaelic Studies – Joint Programme: with Anthropology, Celtic and Anglo Saxon Studies, Divinity, Economics, English, Film and Visual Culture, French, Geography, German, Hispanic Studies, History, History of Art, Language and Linguistics, Literature in a World Context, Management Studies, Politics, Religious Studies, Scandinavian Studies, Sociology or Scottish Studies.
  • MA Combined Honours with either Psychology or Maths (with Gaelic as the ‘minor’ component’).
  • LLB (Law) with Gaelic

For information about compulsory courses, see the Gaelic Studies Programme Specification

Can I still study Gaelic as part of a Celtic degree?

From September 2013, honours degrees in Celtic Studies and in Celtic Civilisation are being replaced with a new, expanded MA degree in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies. Students will be able to study Gaelic as part of their single honours degree in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies, or students can choose to do a joint degree in Gaelic and Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies.

Enhanced Study

Enhanced study options give you the opportunity to study Gaelic alongside your core degree discipline. All single honours undergraduate degrees at Aberdeen, with the exception of Medicine and Dentistry, include Enhanced Study options. Here you will learn more about how you can study Gaelic.

Sustained Study in Gaelic

In 2013, Gaelic language will be one of fourteen sustained study courses offered to students entering at Level 1. To have Gaelic on your degree transcript, you need only take one language course per semester for the first two years of your degree. Students join the Gaelic language course appropriate to their level of Gaelic language skills at Level 1 and, if they complete our Level 1 courses successfully, students continue into Level 2 Gaelic language. Studying the Gaelic language for two years is likely to enhance your employability in Scotland, and in the Highlands and Islands region in particular.

Discipline Breadth in Gaelic

Students can choose to study courses in Gaelic Studies alongside their core degree discipline during their first two years of study as part of their Discipline Breadth study. Students join the Gaelic language course appropriate to their level of Gaelic language skills at Level 1 and, if they complete our Level 1 courses successfully, students continue into Level 2 Gaelic language.


Graduate employability is excellent Gaelic. The Gaelic professional world, in particular, has robustly withstood the recessions and is still very much a growth area.

Our graduates are generally in very high demand, and the range of subjects we teach – coupled with our practice-based, experience-driven approach – equip students admirably for the job market. We maintain links with employers, government bodies and other organisations with a history of employing our graduates, and we use these links to inform and improve our courses on a continuing basis.

Graduates of our three degrees find themselves in a wide range of interesting, exciting and challenging careers, and often find themselves uniquely mobile and flexible in comparison with graduates of other kinds of disciplines.

Our Recent Graduates

Recent graduates, among other things, are currently:Ceumnachadh

  • Studying for several PhDs, both in Aberdeen and also internationally
  • Working in art, design and digital production
  • Working in Gaelic media
  • Teaching in Gaelic Medium Education
  • Working for Iomairt Loch Abair
  • Publishing a novel
  • Working in Gaelic archives
  • Training to be teachers.

 Our recent postgraduate students include:

  • Dr Lindsay Milligan Dombrowski, who is now a lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland
  • Ashley Powell, who is now the University’s Gaelic Development and Policy Officer
  • Dr Pía Coira, author of By Poetic Authority: The Rhetoric of Panegyric in Gaelic Poetry of Scotland to C.1700
Gaelic Summer School

The Department of Gaelic (formally the Department of Celtic) developed and pioneered the National Gaelic Language Summer School for Gaelic, which gives students an opportunity to take part in a bespoke residential course to improve their fluency in the language. Now, students of other universities also take part in the Summer School, which gives our students the chance to meet their peers and make useful contacts.

In 2013 the 3-week inter-university Gaelic Language Summer School will be based at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (SMO) on the Isle of Skye.