Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies, MA

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies, MA

Introduction

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies at Aberdeen is an exciting new programme, building on a strong track record of Celtic teaching to offer a fascinating, flexible and interdisciplinary study of the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian peoples. You will cross traditional boundaries of literature, history and culture, and develop skills which open wide career options across the arts, media and more.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
5Q28
Degree marketing image

Aberdeen is one of very few universities in Europe where you can study the Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in comparison – and of course it’s an ideal location.

Our modules cover literature, culture, history and languages – with an emphasis on the Dark Ages and Middle Ages – but you can add ancient and modern periods as well, with the flexibility to choose your own pathway according to your interests and inspired by world-leading experts in the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon fields. You can also study this subject with various language options and courses which include Celtic literature in the modern age.

Aberdeen has been a centre for Celtic studies for more than a century, and the quality of our teaching and our library resources are outstanding.

You will be taught by specialists in the history and literature of Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, in medieval Celtic and Scandinavian literature and the cultural history of Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England.

You will gain essential skills in critical thinking, communication, and other attributes which will make you attractive to employers whatever your career choice. Our graduates work in a wide variety of areas in the arts and elsewhere, including heritage management, teaching, research, librarianship, enterprise and broadcasting.

You will enjoy our warm Aberdeen welcome and friendly, vibrant international community, beautiful campus with great facilities for learning, sports and leisure, many opportunities for personal as well as professional development, and to broaden your horizons through study abroad.

What You'll Study

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies is a diverse programme and you will benefit from the University's wide-ranging approach to the subject. You will study a range of topics, including the barbarians, gods and warriors, the Vikings, saga literature and the old English language. The MA degree programme is available either as a single or joint honours option.

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Language & Literature (AW1008)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Songs, Myths and Hero - Tales of the Old North (CE1537)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces the oldest vernacular literature of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, beginning in the sixth century AD. We explore heroic narratives featuring, for example, the Scandinavian monster-fighter Beowulf (immortalized in England’s first epic poem), the Irish warrior Cú Chulainn (hero of the Táin) and the tragic Welsh princess Branwen, caught up in a fatal power-struggle between Wales and Ireland. We examine praise-poetry, meditative poetry, and look at mythological tales about the old gods and voyages to Otherworld isles in the western ocean.

Optional Courses

Select AT LEAST TWO of the courses listed below.

Plus select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Barbarians, Romans, Gods and Warriors (CE1033)

15 Credit Points

This course gives you an exciting introduction to the Celtic and Germanic worlds. In lectures and small-group tutorials, we will explore the peoples who inhabited western and central Europe in Antiquity. We will discuss their cultures and their interactions with Greece and Rome. The course also covers the fates of these cultures in the post-Roman world. Change over time will provide a major driver of the course: for instance, empire and its effect; the history and impact of the "barbarian"; the successive impacts of Roman religion and of Christianity, and how they were represented in mediaeval "heroic" literature.

Modern Irish Language for Beginners 1 (CE1036)

15 Credit Points

This course gives students an introduction to the modern Irish language. It covers basic conversation skills, and the structures of the language, through the use of songs, videos and speaking practice in class. It is open to those with little or no knowledge of the language.

Gaelic Scotland (GH1015)

15 Credit Points

Gaelic is Scotland's oldest living language. In this introductory course you will learn about the Gaels, their history and their role in the shaping modern Scotland. You will also learn about how Gaelic language and culture became minoritised in its own country. Students will learn learn about various contemporary initiatives that are aimed at saving and promoting this indigenous language and culture and this will be compared to minority languages and cultures elsewhere in the world.

Gaelic for Beginners 1a (GH1007)

15 Credit Points

This is an 11-week course in the modern Scottish Gaelic language for students who have little or no prior experience of the language, or for students with no formal qualifications in Gaelic.

You will learn Gaelic through a mixture of interactive language classes, a class which focuses on conversational skills, and a programme of homework exercises, together with self-directed learning.

By the end of the course, you will be able to speak, read, write and understand Gaelic at a basic level and you will have mastered a large working vocabulary.

Latin 1 (LT1009)

15 Credit Points

Latin 1 is an introductory, intensive course for those with little or no previous exposure to Latin. Students completing this course should have a Latin vocabulary of about 400 words and a basic understanding of Latin grammar and syntax. Students successfully completing this course will be adequately prepared to attend Latin 2. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin. The etymological roots of many English words can be traced to the Latin language.

Gaelic for Beginners 1b (GH1507)

15 Credit Points

This is an 11-week course in the modern Scottish Gaelic language for students who have completed GH1007 Gaelic for Beginners 1A.

You will attend three interactive language classes and one conversation class each week, as well as undertaking self-directed learning.

By the end of the course you will be expected to have mastered a large working vocabulary and to be competent in understanding and using most of the major structures of the language.

Latin 2 (LT1507)

15 Credit Points

Latin 2 picks up where Latin 1 finished in first term. By the end of this course students should have a more or less comprehensive understanding of Latin syntax and grammar, a Latin vocabulary of 700-800 words, and should be capable of translating simple Latin texts into idiomatic English. Students will very likely discover that their knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar/syntax is improved by their study of Latin.

Year 2

Optional Courses

Select AT LEAST two of the courses listed below.

Plus select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Love, Loss and Revival: Gaelic Ireland, 1700 to the Present (CE2063)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to Gaelic Ireland from the eighteenth century to the present, a period of great historical trauma but also of unrivalled literary expression across many genres, from courtly poetry to the folk song, the autobiography and the novel. Reference will be made throughout to the political upheavals in which Gaelic Ireland was refashioned, alongside other key themes including the changing status of the Irish language, and Ireland's relationship with the rest of Europe. Though much Gaelic writing of this period closely reflect the bleakness of history, it has also been a vehicle for joyful affirmation, comedy, and tragic grandeur and resilience.

Vikings: an Introduction (HI2526)

15 Credit Points

The year 793: a surprise viking attack on the peaceful monastic island of Lindisfarne. This raid is often considered to mark the beginning of the so-called Viking Age, a time of turbulence and transformation with repercussions throughout Europe and beyond. This period saw violence and warfare, cultural contact and religious conversion, political overhaul, and literary and artistic creativity. As well as critically interrogating the concepts of the ‘viking’ and the ‘Viking Age’, this course provides an introduction to key themes and topics in the study of early Scandinavia, c. 800-1200.

Introduction to Scottish Gaelic Literature (GH2514)

15 Credit Points

This survey course is an introduction to Scottish Gaelic literature from the 17th century to the modern day. Scottish Gaelic has one of Europe's oldest secular literatures and this is an exciting choice for anyone with an interest in Scotland's history, literature and culture: it is taught using translated texts and originals for those whose Gaelic language is good enough. Students will gain new perspectives on key areas of Scottish society such as Jacobitism, the Clearances, the Highland Land Wars, the Celtic Twilight Movement and the Gaelic renaissance in the modern period. This course is suitable for anyone in Programme Year 2 with an interest in Scottish society.

Year 3

Optional Courses

Select 90 credit points of level 3 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses from the list below. Plus, select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Introduction to Old English Language (CE3047)

30 Credit Points

This course will provide an introduction to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. It will focus on grammatical study of the language, and translating basic Anglo-Saxon passages into modern English. It will be based on a new version of the Old English course designed by Dr Duncan Macrae-Gibson, an eminent Anglo-Saxonist and inspirational lecturer at Aberdeen. This 21st-century version of the course (published by Aberdeen University Press) will include traditional and online elements. The course will give students the opportunity to begin learning the language in which 'Beowulf' and many other fascinating poems and prose texts were composed.

Introduction to Old Gaelic 1a (CE3063)

30 Credit Points

The course provides a basic introduction to Old Gaelic, and is an exciting option for students who are interested in exploring the history of modern Scottish Gaelic, and/or curious about Celtic grammatical structures. We will read some basic texts in the original language. Any previous language study will be an advantage. Old Gaelic is the earliest form of a Celtic language which we can reconstruct with some certainty. It holds the key to the earliest vernacular literature north of the Alps, and is the earliest attested form of both Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

Early Modern Gaelic Language and Texts A (GH3059)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the Gaelic language and society of the early modern period c1200-c1700. Students will learn to read short texts in the original language (with help); students will also read translated texts and scholarly materials about historical and cultural topics of that period.

Independent Study In Celtic & Anglo - Saxon Studies A (CE3099)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide the opportunity for self-motivated students to pursue in-depth exploration of a specific topic in Celtic and/or Anglo-Saxon Studies. It gives students an opportunity for intensive engagement in a specific area within the research field of an individual staff member, and can be arranged as preparatory work towards a dissertation. The content of this course varies depending on the topic chosen, but the course focuses on enhancing the student's knowledge and research skills in the specified topic. Students interested in taking the course MUST discuss their specific interest before the course begins with a possible supervisor and with the Programme Co-ordinator (Aideen O'Leary).

Scottish Archaeology (AY3009)

15 Credit Points

Here in Scotland we have a world-class record of past human society. From the spectacularly preserved Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae to 19th century clearance villages, this course explores the broad sweep of Scottish prehistoric and historic archaeology. In lectures and a day long study trip students will get an in-depth insight into the archaeology of Scotland and will explore some of the major issues in human history: the origins of agriculture and monumentality, worldview and belief in the north, settlement and social structure, urbanism and the emergence of the modern world.

Saints, Sinners and Heretics in the Celtic and Anglo - Saxon Worlds (CE351B)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore developments in religious beliefs and practices in the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon worlds (especially Scotland and Ireland) from 400 to 1200. Topics included will include some or all of the following: conversion to Christianity, saints and monasteries, the production of saints’ Lives and other texts, heresies real and alleged, Culdee works and teachings, apocryphal texts and prophecies, the influence of canon law, effects brought about by Vikings, and the wide-ranging reforms of the twelfth century.

The Heroic Age in Gaelic Sagas (GH3527)

30 Credit Points

Are heroes always a good thing? Medieval Gaelic legendary narrative offers no simple answers. Its rich and hugely entertaining body of heroic sagas dramatizes the feuds, loves and fatal flaws of great men and women of medieval Ireland and Scotland, to reflect on urgent questions about royal and aristocratic conduct. Storylines studied will include cattle-raids, fights with saints, beheading competitions, family breakdowns, love-triangles, and people uprooting trees for no apparent reason.

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Celtic & Anglo - Saxon Studies (CE4598)

30 Credit Points

The Dissertation in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies is for Senior Honours students registered in the Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies degree programme. It will consist of approximately 3 one-hour tutorials, to provide students with guidance on selecting a suitable academic topic and developing a methodology for tackling this topic.

Optional Courses

Select 90 credit points of level 4 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses from the list below.

Introduction to Old English Language (CE4047)

30 Credit Points

This course will provide an introduction to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. It will focus on grammatical study of the language, and translating basic Anglo-Saxon passages into modern English. It will be based on a new version of the Old English course designed by Dr Duncan Macrae-Gibson, an eminent Anglo-Saxonist and inspirational lecturer at Aberdeen. This 21st-century version of the course (published by Aberdeen University Press) will include traditional and online elements. The course will give students the opportunity to begin learning the language in which 'Beowulf' and many other fascinating poems and prose texts were composed.

Introduction to Old Gaelic Ib (CE4063)

30 Credit Points

The course provides a basic introduction to Old Gaelic, and is an exciting option for students who are interested in exploring the history of modern Scottish Gaelic, and/or curious about Celtic grammatical structures. We will read some basic texts in the original language. Any previous language study will be an advantage. Old Gaelic is the earliest form of a Celtic language which we can reconstruct with some certainty. It holds the key to the earliest vernacular literature north of the Alps, and is the earliest attested form of both Irish and Scottish Gaelic.

Early Modern Gaelic Language and Texts B (GH4059)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the Gaelic language and society of the early modern period c1200-c1700. Students will learn to read short texts in the original language (with help); students will also read translated texts and scholarly materials about historical and cultural topics of that period.

Independent Study In Celtic & Anglo - Saxon Studies B (CE4099)

15 Credit Points

This course will provide the opportunity for students to pursue in-depth exploration of a specific topic in Celtic and/or Anglo-Saxon Studies. It gives students an opportunity for intensive engagement in a specific area within the research field of an individual staff member, and can be arranged as preparatory work towards a dissertation. The content of this course may vary, but the course focuses on enhancing the student's knowledge and research skills in the specified topic. Students interested in taking the course should discuss their specific interest in advance, where possible, with the Programme Co-ordinator and a possible supervisor.

The Heroic Age in Gaelic Sagas (GH4527)

30 Credit Points

Are heroes always a good thing? Medieval Gaelic legendary narrative offers no simple answers. Its rich and hugely entertaining body of heroic sagas dramatizes the feuds, loves and fatal flaws of great men and women of medieval Ireland and Scotland, to reflect on urgent questions about royal and aristocratic conduct. Storylines studied will include cattle-raids, fights with saints, beheading competitions, family breakdowns, love-triangles, and people uprooting trees for no apparent reason.

Saints, Sinners and Heretics in the Celtic and Anglo - Saxon Worlds (CE451B)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore developments in religious beliefs and practices in the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon worlds (especially Scotland and Ireland) from 400 to 1200. Topics included will include some or all of the following: conversion to Christianity, saints and monasteries, the production of saints’ Lives and other texts, heresies real and alleged, Culdee works and teachings, apocryphal texts and prophecies, the influence of canon law, effects brought about by Vikings, and the wide-ranging reforms of the twelfth century.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Our staff have a wealth of teaching experience gained from universities across the world. We use a range of teaching styles, including introductory lectures, small-group tutorial discussion, student seminar presentations, and intensive language classes.

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies?

  • A unique programme in Scotland, emphasising critical thinking and small-group discussion, to gain in-depth knowledge of history, literature and languages, plus transferable skills to enhance your employability.
  • All teaching is on the beautiful, late-mediaeval King’s College campus, and the surrounding countryside is rich in archaeological and historic remains of Scotland’s Celtic and Nordic past.
  • Academic staff are leading international researchers who have published widely on Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian literature and history.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with great study facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive collections and resources for this programme.
  • A vibrant Celtic Society, one of the oldest, most famous and liveliest student societies in the University, organising social and cultural events, including Welsh and Irish themed evenings and traditional music sessions.
  • A packed campus programme of lectures, café events, exhibitions, and the annual May Festival attracting internationally acclaimed public figures, historians, authors and broadcasters to debate hot topics, and hosting a popular Viking tea-party!

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £19,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

Studying Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Studies at Aberdeen will provide you with unrivalled knowledge of the languages, literature and cultures of the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian people. Previous graduates of our programme have gone on to work in a wide variety of areas in the arts and elsewhere, including heritage management, teaching, research, librarianship, enterprise and broadcasting.

Study a Unique Celtic Programme in Scotland

Celtic and Anglo Saxon Studies is an interdisciplinary programme, unique in Scotland to study the culture and people of the past

Our Experts

Our courses in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon studies are taught by experts in their field. Your teachers will include, among others:

Other Experts
Professor Ralph O'Connor
David Norman Dumville
Dr Aideen O'Leary

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

Centre for Scandinavian Studies

Aberdeen has the largest concentration of experts on early Scandinavia in the British Isles.

Celtic Society

One of the oldest, most famous and liveliest student societies in the University. The Society organises social and cultural events, including Welsh and Irish themed evenings and traditional music sessions.

Image for Sir Duncan Rice Library
Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

Find out more

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX