Introduction

Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and Gaelic Studies is an ideal subject combination to add to your study in the lives and legacy of the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Scandinavian peoples. You will explore Gaelic from its Celtic origins to its role today as Scotland’s oldest living language. The language, historical perspective and study skills you will develop will give you a great advantage for a wide range of career options, especially with a Scottish or international dimension.

This programme is studied on campus.

Aberdeen has been a centre for Celtic studies for more than a century and is now a leading research centre 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.

Gaelic is an area of particular strength at Aberdeen. We have been teaching Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) and culture for a hundred years, led by teachers and researchers passionate about Gaelic, and whose work directly influences Scottish policy on keeping Gaelic alive, healthy and important in Scotland today. Our students and staff play an important role in today’s Gaelic-speaking community in the north of Scotland through clubs, activities, networks and organisations.

Opportunities for graduates fluent in Scottish Gaelic are very good. Teaching, Gaelic development, arts management and librarianship are all career options and the commitment in Scotland to Gaelic broadcasting means increasing demand for Gaelic graduates to work in the media. You will also have transferable skills sought by employers in other sectors and business.

Degree marketing image

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
52Q8

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

View detailed information about this course

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

Optional Courses

Students must pick at least one of the following:

  • Songs, Myths and Hero-Tales of the Old North (CE1037)
  • Arthur and Finn, Beowulf and Alfred the Great: History, Law and Literature in the Early Medieval North (CE1534)

Plus one of the following Options:

Beginners:

  • Gaelic for Beginners 1A (GH1007)
  • Gaelic for Beginners 1B (GH1507)
  • Modern Gaelic Scotland (GH1014)
  • Select further credit points to a total of 120 from courses of choice.

Intermediate/Advanced:

  • Gaelic Language 1A (GH1013)
  • Gaelic Language 1B (GH1513)
  • Modern Gaelic Scotland (GH1014)
  • Plus further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points
Songs, Myths and Hero - Tales of the Old North: an Introduction to Early Celtic and Anglo - Saxon Literature (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

Arthur and Finn, Beowulf and Alfred the Great: History, Law and Literature in the Early Medieval North (CE1534) - 15 Credit Points

This course explores the changing cultures of the early mediaeval North, especially the cultural history and literatures of Britain and Ireland between the Anglo-Saxon settlement of south Britain and the Norman invasions half a millennium later. These islands were a cultural and ethnic melting-pot between Celtic and Germanic peoples, as seen through a rich body of texts: heroic poems, historical narratives, law-texts, family trees, letters and outlaw-legends. In lectures and small-group tutorials, we explore the diverse forms of social organisation which emerged, and we examine how these peoples interacted with each other: from sex to violence and everything in between.

View detailed information about this course

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

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.

View detailed information about this course

Modern Gaelic Scotland (GH1014) - 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.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic Language 1a (GH1013) - 15 Credit Points

This is a Gaelic language course for students who are relatively fluent in the language already and have studied it to at least Higher in school (Higher Gaelic or Gàidhlig) or have studied it to a similar level elsewhere.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic Language 1b (GH1513) - 15 Credit Points

This is the second-half of the first year Gaelic language course for students who are relatively fluent in the language already and have studied it to at least Higher in school (Higher Gaelic or Gàidhlig) or have studied it to a similar level elsewhere.

View detailed information about this course

Year 2

Year 2

Optional Courses

Students must pick courses from Level 2 Celtic & Anglo Saxon Studies, including at least one of the following:

  • Arthur in Mediaeval Celtic and Scandinavian Literature (CE2034)
  • Love, Loss and Revival: Gaelic Ireland, 1700 to the Present (CE2563)

Beginner:

  • Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2A (GH2009)
  • Gaelic Folklore (GH2006)
  • Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2B (GH2509)
  • Introduction to Scottish Gaelic Literature (GH2514)
  • Plus further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points

Intermediate/Advanced:

  • Gaelic Language 2A (GH2013)
  • Gaelic Folklore (GH2006)
  • Gaelic Language 2B (GH2513)
  • Introduction to Scottish Gaelic Literature (GH2514)
  • Plus further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points
Arthur in Mediaeval 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

Love, Loss and Revival: Gaelic Ireland, 1700 to the Present (CE2563) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to Gaelic Ireland from the eighteenth century to the present. We will discuss the aims and achievements of all genres of literature written in modern Irish: for instance, political vision-poems, laments, short stories and autobiographies. The course will also cover in detail the major twentieth-century poets and their diverse motivations, e.g. self-discovery, urban/rural tension and commentary on political and social aspects of their own day. The connections between Irish literature and historical events, the changing status of the Irish language, and Ireland's relationship with the rest of Europe, will form important elements of the course.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2a (GH2009) - 15 Credit Points

This is the second year Gaelic language course for people who started learning in their first year. It builds on the foundations already set in the first year and continues to develop vocabulary, grammatical structures and idioms in both writing and speech.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic Folklore (GH2006) - 15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the wonderful world of Gaelic folklore. The course will look at the traditional belief systems of the Scottish Gaels with regard to the second sight, fairies and the supernatural. Students will learn about folk healing and rituals about birth, death and marriage. Additionally students will look at some examples of traditional Gaelic stories, handed down for hundreds of years before finally being written. Students will learn about the different Gaelic song types and traditions. In looking at the songs and stories, students will also learn about the people who collected these folk items.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2b (GH2509) - 15 Credit Points

This course follows on from GH2009 and is for people who started learning in their first year. It continues to develop a range of linguistic competencies in written and oral language.

View detailed information about this course

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

Gaelic Language 2a (GH2013) - 15 Credit Points

This is the second year Gaelic language course for students who are relatively fluent in the language already and have studied it to at least Higher in school (Higher Gaelic or Gàidhlig) or similar level. It follows on from GH1513.

View detailed information about this course

Gaelic Language 2b (GH2513) - 15 Credit Points

This is the second half of the second year Gaelic language course for students who are relatively fluent in the language already and have studied it to at least Higher in school (Higher Gaelic or Gàidhlig) or similar level. It follows on from GH2013.

View detailed information about this course

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Gaelic Language A (GH3022) - 30 Credit Points

A level three Gaelic language course for students taking honours Gaelic. The course runs over both semesters and is topic based, enabling students to develop their ability to deal with a large range of subjects in Gaelic. The course also develops students' generic writing and oral skills.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • 60 credit points of level 3 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses from those listed below
  • Plus further courses of Level 3 Gaelic to gain 60 credits in the discipline
Brittonic Language Ia (CE3074) - 30 Credit Points

This course consists of an exposition of the grammar of mediaeval Welsh, accompanied by appropriate translation-exercise and grammatical interpretation of selected passages.

View detailed information about this course

Tales of Vengeance and Enchantment: the Heroic Age in Irish and Icelandic Saga Literature A (CE3088) - 30 Credit Points

This course explores and compares the legendary saga-narratives written in medieval Ireland and Iceland which dramatize the great deeds and even greater misdeeds of Celtic and Scandinavian ‘heroes’. Characters studied range from the frenzied Ulster warrior Cu Chulainn to the tragic and troll-like Icelander Grettir the Strong and the mythic dragon-slayer Sigurdr the Volsung, made famous by Wagner but much wilder in the original. Stories studied will include cattle-raids, bloodfeuds, Otherworld quests and fights with zombies. By the end of the course, students will know how to go berserk in an informed and critically aware manner.

View detailed information about this course

Brittonic Language Iia (CE3574) - 30 Credit Points

The course consists of continued study of the grammar of mediaeval Welsh, accompanied by reading, translation exercise and grammatical interpretation of selected passages of text.

View detailed information about this course

Celtic and Anglo - Saxon Kingship and the Exercise of Authority in the Earlier Middle Ages (CE3595) - 30 Credit Points

Kingship and the Middle Ages seem to go together. In some cultures mediaeval kingship grew powerful, the public embodiment of a people and the creator of government and (therefore) state. But this was not so everywhere and at all times. The Germanic-speaking peoples, fearful of leaderly power, were very reluctant to embrace kingship. The Celtic-speaking peoples inherited a long-lived ideology of kingship but never embraced monarchy. We examine the development of kingship as social institution, taking the Celts as a whole and using the Anglo-Saxons as representative of a larger Germanic history.

View detailed information about this course

The Work of Angels (HA3594) - 30 Credit Points

This course will examine the exquisite art of northern British Isles from seventh to ninth centuries. It will show how the introduction of Christianity both from Ireland and Rome, produced a creative cultural melting pot in which artistic designs from Ireland, Pictland and Northumbria fused into the Insular Style. Technology, literary sources, historical and liturgical evidence are all required to interpret this dramatic era of transition form paganism to Christianity. Highlights are the Book of Kells, Lindisfarne Gospels, Tara Brooch, the Pictish stones. Some fieldtrips. Will appeal to students of Archaeology, Celtic, History, English, as well as Art Historians.

View detailed information about this course

Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Gaelic Language B (GH4022) - 30 Credit Points

A level four Gaelic language course for students taking honours Gaelic. The course runs over both semesters and is topic based, enabling students to develop their ability to deal with a large range of subjects in Gaelic. The course also develops students' generic writing and oral skills.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

One of the following Options:

Option 1:

  • Dissertation in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies (CE4598)
  • 60 credit points of level 4 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses from those listed below
  • Plus further courses of Level 4 Gaelic to gain 60 credits in the discipline

Option 2:

  • Dissertation in Gaelic Studies (GH4507)
  • 60 credit points of level 4 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses from those listed below
  • Plus further courses of Level 4 Gaelic to gain 60 credits in the discipline
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.

View detailed information about this course

Dissertation in Gaelic Studies (GH4507) - 15 Credit Points

The dissertation course for honours Gaelic students is student-led. Students decide in consultation with academic staff what topic they would like to research and write about for their final dissertation. Students can chose any topic from the broad field that is Gaelic studies, including topics related to: Gaelic literature (a writer or a theme), Gaelic sociolinguistics, language planning, Gaelic cultural practices, etc.

View detailed information about this course

Brittonic Language Ib (CE4074) - 30 Credit Points

This course consists of an exposition of the grammar of mediaeval Welsh, accompanied by appropriate translation exercises and grammatical interpretation of selected passages of text.

View detailed information about this course

Tales of Vengeance and Enchantment: the Heroic Age in Irish and Icelandic Saga Literature B (CE4088) - 30 Credit Points

This course explores and compares the legendary saga-narratives written in medieval Ireland and Iceland which dramatize the great deeds and even greater misdeeds of Celtic and Scandinavian ‘heroes’. Characters studied range from the frenzied Ulster warrior Cu Chulainn to the tragic and troll-like Icelander Grettir the Strong and the mythic dragon-slayer Sigurdr the Volsung, made famous by Wagner but much wilder in the original. Stories studied will include cattle-raids, bloodfeuds, Otherworld quests and fights with zombies. By the end of the course, students will know how to go berserk in an informed and critically aware manner.

View detailed information about this course

Brittonic Language Iib (CE4574) - 30 Credit Points

The course consists of continued study of the grammar of mediaeval Welsh, accompanied by reading, translation exercises and grammatical interpretation of selected passages of text.

View detailed information about this course

Celtic and Anglo - Saxon Kingship and the Exercise of Authority in the Earlier Middle Ages (CE4595) - 30 Credit Points

Kingship and the Middle Ages seem to go together. In some cultures mediaeval kingship grew powerful, the public embodiment of a people and the creator of government and (therefore) state. But this was not so everywhere and at all times. The Germanic-speaking peoples, fearful of leaderly power, were very reluctant to embrace kingship. The Celtic-speaking peoples inherited a long-lived ideology of kingship but never embraced monarchy. We examine the development of kingship as social institution, taking the Celts as a whole and using the Anglo-Saxons as representative of a larger Germanic history.

View detailed information about this course

The Work of Angels (HA4594) - 30 Credit Points

This course will examine the exquisite art of northern British Isles from seventh to ninth centuries. It will show how the introduction of Christianity both from Ireland and Rome, produced a creative cultural melting pot in which artistic designs from Ireland, Pictland and Northumbria fused into the Insular Style. Technology, literary sources, historical and liturgical evidence are all required to interpret this dramatic era of transition form paganism to Christianity. Highlights are the Book of Kells, Lindisfarne Gospels, Tara Brooch, the Pictish stones. Some fieldtrips. Will appeal to students of Archaeology, Celtic, History, English, as well as Art Historians.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

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

  • 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 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 and Gaelic 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 boost 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, revealing new discoveries and debunking popular myths.
  • 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.
  • Strong tradition of commitment to Gaelic and a University Gaelic Language Plan to promote and develop Gaelic in the University in line with the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005.
  • Close links with the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies and its literary magazine, Causeway / Cabhsair, which frequently includes poems and short stories from established and new Gaelic writers.
  • Student-run Celtic Society famous for its musical events, ceilidhs and trips and a great opportunity to use Gaelic in an informal, social context.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, with an extensive Gaelic collection and treasures including the 10th century Book of Deer with some of the oldest examples of Gaelic writing to have survived from medieval Scotland.
  • A unique summer school, giving students the chance to practise their Gaelic language skills in a friendly, natural environment.
  • A strong Gaelic theme in the University’s popular May Festival which thousands every spring to hear world-famous authors, poets, public figures, scientists and other experts, and debate big issues in arts, literature and current affairs.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

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

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
  • Teacher

Our Experts

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

Other Experts
Professor Ralph O'Connor

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

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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

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