English and Gaelic at Aberdeen combines all the advantages of the UK’s second top research hub for English literature, language and creative writing, with an in-depth study of Gaelic, Scotland’s oldest living language and its origins and culture. The language, intellectual skills and Scottish perspective you will develop will give you an extra advantage for your career in business or another sector, especially with a Scottish or international dimension.
This programme is studied on campus.
Aberdeen is a leading centre for the study of literature, language and creative writing, rated second in the UK for its research output. You will study poetry and prose through the dynamic relationship between author, reader and literary text, every period from Chaucer to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing and the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works. You will be inspired by enthusiastic teachers and researchers, themselves acclaimed authors and poets and be encouraged to develop your own creative writing skills.
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 the Gaelic-speaking community in the north of Scotland through clubs, activities, networks and organisations.
You will graduate with many career options as diverse as publishing, teaching, research, journalism, business and speech therapy. Opportunities for graduates fluent in Scottish Gaelic are very good, including teaching, Gaelic development, arts management and librarianship and the commitment in Scotland to Gaelic broadcasting means increasing demand for Gaelic graduates to work in the media.
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
- Controversial Classics (EL1513) - 15 Credit Points
Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.
- 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.
- Acts of Reading (EL1009)
- Gaelic for Beginners 1A (GH1007)
- Gaelic for Beginners 1B (GH1507)
- Select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points
- Reading and Writing (EL1008)
- Gaelic Language 1A (GH1013)
- Gaelic Language 1B (GH1513)
- Select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Acts of Reading (EL1009) - 15 Credit Points
This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.
- Year 2
- Encounters with Shakespeare (EL2011) - 30 Credit Points
So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.
- 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.
- The Tragedy of Knowledge (EL2512) - 30 Credit Points
This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.
- 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.
- Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2A (GH2009)
- Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2B (GH2509)
- Gaelic Language 2A (GH2013)
- Gaelic Language 2B (GH2513)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Year 3
- 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.
Select a total of two courses from the following groups, each from a different group:
Group 1: Medieval/Renaissance
- EL30DQ: Knights, Virgins and Viragos, Chaucer and Medieval Writing
- EL35CP: Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500-1640
Group 2: Romantic/Victorian
- EL30GK: Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century
- EL3009: American Innovation
- EL35XR: Romanticism
Group 3: Contemporary/Modern
- EL30IH: States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing
- EL30JS: Anglo-American Children’s Literature
- EL30FF: Modernism: Make it New
- EL35KM: Perversion of the Interior: Women’s Fiction 1925-1975
- EL35UT: Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma
- EL3008: Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the 17th Century
- EL35YB: Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft
- EL35EH: Classical Epic
Plus, select further courses in level 3 Gaelic to gain 60 credits in the discipline
- Knights, Virgins and Viragos: Chaucer and Medieval Writing (EL30DQ) - 30 Credit Points
An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.
- Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500 - 1640 (EL35CP) - 30 Credit Points
This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. The period saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.
- Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century (EL30GK) - 30 Credit Points
Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.
- American Innovation (EL3009) - 30 Credit Points
This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.
- Romanticism (EL35XR) - 30 Credit Points
The Romantic movement swept Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and produced some of the most innovative and exciting literature that has ever been seen. This rule breaking art helped shape the way that we consider art today and underpins many of our ideas about imagination, originality, creativity and self-expression. This course will explore the ways in which the Romantic movement manifested itself across Britain and Ireland and will consider writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Austen and Byron.
- States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing (EL30IH) - 30 Credit Points
This course explores a range of contemporary Scottish and Irish texts and looks at the key developments in the literatures of the two nations; indeed, new modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women's writing have altered the landscapes of Scottish and Irish literature. The course looks at 'states of mind' in a dual sense: imaginative projections of the 'nation' and psychological explorations of the mind.
- Anglo - American Children’s Literature (EL30JS) - 30 Credit Points
From the picture book to the dark fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary (and visual) modes of engaging with questions of human becoming and beguiling. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century (with a focus on the twentieth century). We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own, including issues of authorship and readership. We will engage in close reading, examining literary features of the texts, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality. Authors studied include: Louise May Alcott, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, E Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, R. L. Stevenson, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Melvin Burgess, Jamila Gavin, Jackie Kay and others.
- Modernism: Make IT New (EL30FF) - 30 Credit Points
The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.
- Perversion of the Interior: Women's Fiction 1925 - 1975 (EL35KM) - 30 Credit Points
Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.
- Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma (EL35UT) - 30 Credit Points
How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.
- Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the Seventeenth Century (EL3008) - 30 Credit Points
Literature has the power to reimagine society. The course will explore how poetry, drama and other literary forms across the century sought new literary approaches to meet the challenges of these times. We will examine different literary strategies adopted by authors to engage with their times, from those who drew upon classical precedent to others who brought new voices, and new publics, into the forum of literature. Texts on the course will vary each year, but will feature such authors as Ben Jonson, John Donne, Katharine Philips, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and Samuel Daniel.
- Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft (EL35YB) - 30 Credit Points
This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interractive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.
- Classical Epic (EL35EH) - 30 Credit Points
This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.
- Year 4
- 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.
- English Dissertation (EL4502)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 English courses
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 Gaelic courses
- Dissertation in Gaelic Studies (GH4507)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 English courses
- Select a further 15 credit points from level 4 Gaelic courses
- English Dissertation (EL4502) - 30 Credit Points
Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.
- 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.
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.
Why Study English and Gaelic Studies?
- Rated second in the UK for the quality of Aberdeen research in English language and literature in the 2014 REF national assessment of research quality at UK universities.
- Scotland's top centre for creative writing in the Complete University Guide rankings for 2017.
- An international profile through major literary projects such as the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Sir Walter Scott.
- The WORD Centre for Creative Writing, promoting creative projects in fiction, non-fiction and collaborative mixed-media in all the languages of northeast Scotland (from Doric to Polish).
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, home to literary treasures collected over 500 years, charting the power of the written word from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts to contemporary e-books and other media.
- Historic collections including rare printed books, the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection, the novels of Sir Walter Scott, and an exceptional collection of Charles Dickens' first editions.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes internationally acclaimed authors to campus every spring to discuss literature, including European writers.
- Research centres include the nationally recognised Centre for the Novel, the Centre for Modern Thought, and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.
Why Gaelic Studies
- 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.
- An intensive 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 at which thousands attend to hear world-famous authors, poets, public figures, scientists and other experts, and debate big issues in arts, literature, and current affairs.
- A warm welcome for students whatever your level of Gaelic, and long-standing experience in teaching this fascinating language to complete beginners.
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.
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|
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.
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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.
Key Information Set (KIS)
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You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.
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