Introduction

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and Archaeology at Aberdeen adds to your exploration of the lives and legacy of the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian peoples within a broad study of human activity.

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
5V6Q
Degree marketing image

Aberdeen has been a centre for Celtic studies for more than a century, and leads research in all aspects of the northern polar regions including its peoples. You will study literature, culture, history and languages, inspired by leading 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.

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies focuses on the history, culture and literature of the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon worlds. The programme also includes several language options and courses on Celtic literature in the modern age. Taught by leading inter-disciplinary research staff, you will benefit from being taught by world-leading experts in the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon fields.

Archaeology is a diverse and wide-ranging discipline that spans the humanities and physical sciences and is unique in exploring the human past in its entirety. In seeking to understand how ancient people lived their lives, structured their world, and engaged with their environment, archaeologists ask the big questions that can provide us with the tools to tackle global challenges in the present.

What You'll Study

Year 1

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.

View detailed information about this course
Archaeology in Action (AY1003)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to how archaeological discoveries are made, the types of questions we can ask about past human societies using the evidence of their material remains, and the range of methods that archaeologists can draw on to try to answer the questions that excite them. By visiting archaeological sites, focussing on some of the world's most spectacular archaeological discoveries, and discussing some of the department's own original research projects, we will explore what the discipline of archaeology adds to our understanding of the human past and present, and what tools and techniques archaeologists employ in different environments.

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Caves to Kingdoms: an Introduction to Prehistoric Archaeology (AY1503)

15 Credit Points

This course provides a romping introduction to the deep human past, from our earliest hominin origins in Africa to the emergence of the first Early Medieval Kingdoms in Northern Europe. Along the way we will discover the key stages in the evolution of our species and what it means to be 'human', from our use of symbols to express thoughts, ritualistic behaviours to our domestication of plants and animals and militarized empires. The archaeological evidence for these fundamental transitions in human societies provides us with powerful insights into some of the world's most fascinating civilizations,

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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’.

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Songs, Myths and Hero - Tales of the Old North (CE1037)

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select at least two of the following courses:

  • Modern Irish Language (CE1036)
  • Gaelic Scotland (GH1015)
  • Gaelic for Beginners A (GH1007)
  • Latin 1 (LT1009)
  • Latin 2 (LT1507)
  • Modern Irish Language for Beginners 2 (CE1536)
  • Lost Gods and Hidden Monsters in the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages (CE1538)
  • Gaelic for Beginners 1B (GH1507)

Plus select further credit points from courses of choice to a total of 120 credits.

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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

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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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

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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.

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Modern Irish Language for Beginners 2 (CE1536)

15 Credit Points

Course Aim

This course aims to give students a continuation of their study of the modern Irish language, and will encourage conversations in Irish on more advanced topics.

Main Learning Outcomes By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. understand at a more advanced level the grammatical structures of the modern Irish language;
  2. read and comprehend more complex passages in Irish; and
  3. hold more challenging conversations in Irish.

Course Content

This course covers the grammatical structures of the modern Irish language at a more advanced level than Modern Irish Language for Beginners 1, including continued study of pronunciation and further analysis of the dialects of Irish. Students will be encouraged to practise conversation in Irish on more challenging topics

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

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Lost Gods and Hidden Monsters in the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages (CE1538)

15 Credit Points

Primordial giants, godlike ‘immortals’, elves, leprechauns, trolls, water-monsters and the walking dead: uncanny Otherworldly beings feature widely in the literature of the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages, as its Christian authors reimagined their cultures’ pagan pasts. Drawing primarily on Gaelic and Norse-Icelandic literature, this course will explore how these beings were conceptualized, how (if at all) they related to pre-Christian myth and religion, and why they continued to be significant to these cultures many centuries after Christianization.

View detailed information about this course
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.

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Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Prehistoric Britain: from Boxgrove to Bede (AY2009)

15 Credit Points

Britain has been inhabited by humans for more than half a million years. This course provides an introduction to the peoples and societies that have occupied this island from the first pioneer populations to the dawn of history.

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Test Tubes and Trowels: an Introduction to Archaeological Science (AY2006)

15 Credit Points

Ever wondered how Archaeologists know what Neandertals ate, or what killed Ötzi the Iceman? Test Tubes & Trowels provides an accessible overview of the key scientific approaches used in modern archaeology to better understand archaeological sites and materials and to reconstruct past lives. Using a combination of lectures and practical workshops, the course will cover scientific methods of dating, artefact provenancing and ancient technologies, methods used for the study of diet, health, and movements of humans and animals in the past, and the identification of the environmental impacts of past human activities.

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Past Lives (AY2508)

15 Credit Points

Archaeology is ultimately the study of human social lives. This course provides students with a detailed introduction to archaeological approaches to the study of human society. Through case studies and key texts we will investigate how archaeology can generate detailed insights into the richness and diversity of the diverse human communities and individuals of the past.

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The Archaeology of The North: Lifeways & Cultural Change (AY2505)

15 Credit Points

This course is a detailed introduction to the ecological, economic and spiritual dimensions to the archaeology of the northern world. Lectures will draw on a series of case-studies to examine the human adaptations to northern landscapes, ritual and spirituality, and finally the impact of colonisation and contact upon northern cultures.

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Optional Courses

Select at least two of the following courses:

  • Arthur in Medieval Celtic and Scandinavian Literature (CE2034)
  • Vikings: An Introduction (HI2526)
  • Introduction to Scottish Gaelic (GH2514)
  • Lost Gods and Hidden Monsters in the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages (CE1538)

Plus select further credit points from courses of choice to a total of 120 credits.

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.

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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.

View detailed information about this course
Arthur in Medieval Celtic and Scandinavian Literature (CE2034)

15 Credit Points

The course provides a survey of literature on Arthur in the Middle Ages, focusing on early Welsh and Gaelic sources, related Scandinavian literature and French, Welsh and English romances. It includes discussion of broader themes and questions posed by the literature, e.g. whether Arthur could have been a real person, how the Arthurian legend evolved over time and in different areas of Europe, and why the character has been elevated to iconic status.

View detailed information about this course
Lost Gods and Hidden Monsters in the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages (CE1538)

15 Credit Points

Primordial giants, godlike ‘immortals’, elves, leprechauns, trolls, water-monsters and the walking dead: uncanny Otherworldly beings feature widely in the literature of the Celtic and Germanic Middle Ages, as its Christian authors reimagined their cultures’ pagan pasts. Drawing primarily on Gaelic and Norse-Icelandic literature, this course will explore how these beings were conceptualized, how (if at all) they related to pre-Christian myth and religion, and why they continued to be significant to these cultures many centuries after Christianization.

View detailed information about this course
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Professional Archaeology i: Field Methods (AY3010)

15 Credit Points

We only have three days to find out! Excavation and field survey in modern archaeology can lead to spectacular discoveries regarding our past. This course, built around a short fieldschool and follow-up practicals and classes, will introduce and develop key skills in field archaeology, including excavation, field survey and sampling. Students will go through the whole process of designing, carrying out and reporting on a site and landscape in a course that will provide invaluable professional development.

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Professional Archaeology II: Post - Excavation Analysis and Employment (AY3514)

15 Credit Points

Lectures and laboratory practicals will provide experience in the techniques used to process and analyse archaeological artefacts and samples. We will introduce analytical basics for lithic, ceramic, faunal and historic artefact analysis as well as techniques for conserving, cataloguing and curating archaeological collections. This course also introduces practical skills required to obtain employment and placement in an archaeological workplace through practical exercises in writing CVs, job cover letters and job interview skills.

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Optional Courses

NOTE: If you intend to take your dissertation in Archaeology you must take AY 3512 Archaeological Research Project Part I in level 3.

Plus select further credit points from level 3 courses in Archaeology to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline.

Plus 60 credit points of level 3 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses.

*Duplicate versions of these courses are available in levels 3 and 4 but only one version may be taken.

Archaeological Research Project Part 1 (AY3512)

15 Credit Points

This course is the first stage in producing an archaeological dissertation, which is completed in Level 4. Lectures and practical training sessions introduce the theory and practice of archaeological research design. As the course progresses the student puts this into practice through the development of their own original research project, its presentation at a research seminar, and the submission of a full research proposal, which they subsequently take forward as their dissertation. A personal supervisor is identified and provides support, in addition to the other lecturers involved in delivering the lectures and skills training.

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Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Choose one of the following options:

  • Dissertation in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies (CE4598) AND Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510)
  • Archaeological Research Project Part II (AY4002) (with AY3512 as pre-requisite)

Plus further credit points from level 4 course(s) in Archaeology to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline.

Plus further course(s) at Level 4 in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies to gain 60 credit points in the discipline:

*Duplicate versions of these courses are available in levels 3 and 4 but only one version may be taken.

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.

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Current Issues in Archaeology (AY4510)

30 Credit Points

Archaeology is a contemporary discipline and the focus in archaeological questions, subject areas and theoretical debates constantly change with time. In this course we focus on some of the topics that are important for the ongoing research within our department, from domestication and climate change to community archaeology and relating to death. The different issues are discussed in text-based seminars, where the students themselves are responsible for presenting the topic and leading the seminars. The course aims to explore and challenge current trends in the archaeological discourse.

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Archaeological Research Project Part 2 (AY4002)

30 Credit Points

Building directly on the skills learnt in AY3512, the student undertakes an original research project, under the guidance of their personal supervisor and course co-ordinator, and at the end of the course submits an archaeological dissertation. The session begins with a research seminar when students present how their research has progressed over the summer and what they will now be doing to complete it.

View detailed information about this course

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

Learning Methods

  • Field Work
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • 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 learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

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

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

Why Study Archaeology and Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies?

  • The Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies programme at Aberdeen is unique in Scotland, and emphasises critical thinking and small-group discussion.
  • Students gain not only an in-depth knowledge of history, literature, and languages, but transferable skills which will enhance their employability.
  • The academic staff are leading interdisciplinary researchers who have published books and articles in a wide variety of fields including Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian literature and history.
  • Our diverse courses are designed to engage students through lectures, tutorials and seminar presentations.
  • Many of our students are members of the 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.

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

2021 Entry
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.

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
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Students Admitted in 2021/22
Home Students £1,820
Students Admitted in 2021/22

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.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

Graduates gain essential skills, which include critical thinking, oral and written communication, task management, and organised and disciplined working practices. These skills are among the Graduate Attributes which students are encouraged to develop during their time at the University, and are crucial in a wide range of professional careers. Our graduates work in a wide variety of areas in the arts and elsewhere, including heritage management, teaching, research, librarianship, enterprise and broadcasting.

Career Opportunities

  • Junior Lecturer
  • Museum Officer
  • Researcher

Our Experts

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

Other Expert
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

Image for Archaeology Fieldwork
Archaeology Fieldwork

Archaeology Fieldwork

We encourage all of our students to participate in a University field project, although opportunities to work on approved digs and surveys outside of the University are also supported.

Find out more

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.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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