Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and Philosophy adds to your exploration of the lives and legacy of the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples with an examination of life's ‘big questions’ – how we apply reasoning and argument to questions of fundamental importance to us humans past and present. The intellectual skills you will develop and their transferability will make you a very attractive graduate with very wide career options, including in business.
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 and their societies. You will study languages, literature, culture and history, 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.
What makes Philosophy at Aberdeen especially attractive is the breadth of courses, the user-friendly materials you will use and the experts who will teach you. In your first year alone you will study topics such as How Should One Live? Controversial Questions, and Experience, Knowledge and Reality.
The knowledge and skills you will develop in critical thinking, analysis and research from this subject combination will make you very attractive to employers across a range of sectors from arts, history and heritage to industry and the public sector, with particular application in media, advertising and marketing, information and communication technology, publishing, language teaching and health-related professions such as speech and language therapy.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 48 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
- Year 1
- 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.
- 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
- Experience, Knowledge and Reality (PH1023) - 15 Credit Points
How “real” is reality? How does the mind relate to the world? This course introduces two approaches to answering these questions: rationalism and empiricism. By Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, we learn about Descartes’ rationalist approach to knowledge, reality, mind-body dualism, and God’s necessary existence. Through David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding see how Hume grounds knowledge in experience. We read Hume on impressions and ideas, induction, causality, miracles and critically compare and examine Descartes’ and Hume’s arguments by drawing on readers and critics. Download course guide
Select 30 credit points from Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Study Level 1 courses, including at least one of:
- 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)
Select at least one of the following:
- Controversial Questions (PH1027)
- How Should One Live? (PH1522)
Select further credit points from courses of choice to a total of 120 credits.
- 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.
- 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.
- Controversial Questions (PH1027) - 15 Credit Points
Watch this course video! We examine questions such as: Is eating animals immoral? Is being a good or bad person a matter of luck? If so, are we justified in punishing bad people? Should anyone be able to set limits on what you can do with your own body, even if it's ‘for your own good’? Should everyone be allowed to state their mind, even if their views are harmful or offensive? Is censorship ever justifiable? Do you have a moral obligation to help those worse-off? Are you unknowingly biased against underprivileged groups? Download course guide
- How Should One Live? (PH1522) - 15 Credit Points
Why do the morally right thing when you have much more to gain by doing evil and know you could get away with it? Should you save five lives even if this requires you to kill someone in exchange for them? Would you lie on the witness stand to protect your guilty mother from life in prison? We will read and discuss responses to these questions that have been presented in both historical and contemporary texts, including those by Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Kant, John Stuart Mill, Bernard Williams, Judith Thomson, Shelly Kagan, and T.M. Scanlon.
- Year 2
Candidates must select courses worth at least 30 credits from the list of Level 2 options available in the Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies table of courses, including at least one of the following (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.
- What We are: Mind in A Physical World (PH201B) - 15 Credit Points
Watch the course video! In this course we explore a series of arguments which suggest that it is hard to fit the mind into the physical world. In particular, we focus on three topics: the Mind/Body Problem, Free Will and Determinism, and Personal Identity. Each topic starts with an argument which suggests that we are not merely physical entities like brains, the central nervous system or other biological entities. Taken together, these arguments offer a serious challenge to the view that we can explain human cognition in terms of the physical characteristics of human brains and bodies. Download course guide
- 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.
- Gender Equality (PH2535) - 15 Credit Points
For a course description, watch this brief video!
In recent times equality among genders has attracted increasing attention. This is no longer a matter of concern to a fringe movement, but a central issue to contemporary society. In this course we will examine some of the crucial issues in the debate and assess the merits of key arguments. The topics we’ll discuss include the gender pay gap, the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and popular culture, pornography, abortion, the objectification of women, gender equality in sports, and epistemic injustice.
- Metaphysics, Epistemology and Language (PH2538) - 15 Credit Points
This course provides students with an introduction to central issues in metaphysics, epistemology, logic and philosophy of language. The emphasis is on introducing some of the central issues in these areas; issues that have shaped the contemporary debate. In addition to introducing a number of central issues in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and philosophy of language, this course also teaches and further develops a number of essential skills including extracting and evaluating philosophical arguments, critical writing, and the application of logical concepts to philosophical problems.
- Year 3
- Select 60 credit points of level 3 Celtic & Anglo-Saxon courses
- Select 60 credits of level 3 philosophy courses
- Year 4
- Dissertation in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies (CE4598)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Philosophy
- Philosophy Dissertation (PH402D)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Philosophy
- 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.
- Philosophy Dissertation (PH402D) - 30 Credit Points
The dissertation is on a topic in philosophy. The specific topic will be chosen by the student with the approval of the supervisor. The choice of topics is restricted insofar as it must fall within the teaching competence of the supervisor. Download course guide.
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
- Individual Projects
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.
- View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme
How the programme is taught
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
How the programme is assessed
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
Learning Methodscheduled: 21%
Learning Methodscheduled: 15%
Learning Methodscheduled: 10%
Learning Methodscheduled: 7%
Why Study Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and Philosophy?
Why 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 boost your employability.
- All teaching is on the beautiful, late-medieval 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.
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with brilliant study facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and rich, extensive collections and resources to inspire you through your programme.
- Small class sizes and plenty of group discussion and individual attention, with opportunity to explore your thoughts and ideas with staff and fellow students.
- 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, plus a popular Viking tea-party!
- Ranked top in Scotland for teaching and course content in the last National Student Survey.
- Famous philosophers who worked at the University include Thomas Reid, founder of the 18th century Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and Alexander Bain, who helped lay the foundations for modern scientific psychology.
- The Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG), which is unique in Scotland, trains students to discuss philosophical questions with local primary and secondary school pupils.
- Café Philosophique brings philosophers and the local community together, using popular films and novels to explore philosophical puzzles in an informal atmosphere.
- The Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine acts as the focus for research, teaching and engagement in the history, philosophy, ethics, literature and museology of science, technology and medicine.
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library offers superb collections, including early printed works of natural philosophy and medicine, the archives of Thomas Reid, and records of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society.
- We offer a packed programme of public events, lectures and debates, including the annual May Festival, which attracts high profile scientists, scholars, authors, actors and broadcasters discussing and debating the big issues of today.
- The skills you learn in Philosophy—for example, to think and write clearly, to explain complex ideas, to challenge orthodoxy—lend themselves to many careers.
- Studying Philosophy will change how you think about things and how you approach life’s challenges.
- Philosophy is interesting! Students from all disciplines often report that studying Philosophy was the most rewarding experience of their studies.
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.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
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.
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.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- 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.
There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.
Our courses in Celtic & Anglo-Saxon Studies and Philosophy are taught by experts in their field.
- Other Experts
- Dr Paula Sweeney
- Dr Ulrich Stegmann
- Dr Luca Moretti
- Dr Beth Lord
- Professor David N. Dumville
- Professor Ralph O'Connor
- Dr Aideen O'Leary
- Dr Susan Marshall
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.
Unistats 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.
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