Gaelic and History at Aberdeen combines all the advantages of in-depth study of the language, literature and culture of Scotland’s oldest language – as a native speaker or complete beginner. Set in the wider context of world and British history, you will be taught by our teaching and research team, giving you the specialist and transferable skills to open up a wide spectrum of career opportunities.
This programme is studied on campus.
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.
You will learn more about Scotland's oldest living language and develop your Gaelic skills in a friendly and supportive environment, with opportunities to get involved with northern Scotland’s Gaelic-interest community through clubs, activities, networks and organisations.
History research at Aberdeen is rated top in Scotland for its impact and 2nd in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework (Ranked by Times Higher Education based on REF 2014 GPA scores), with teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national quality assessment and student satisfaction of 95%.
You will be surrounded by 500 years of national, international and local history, enthused and inspired by teachers who are leaders in their fields, with expertise as diverse as medieval Scandinavia, early-modern Poland and modern East Asia and be enthralled by our wonderful collections of historic treasures.
You will graduate highly attractive to employers, with specialist and transferable skills opening career options in arts and heritage, publishing, journalism, politics, education and many roles
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.
- 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.
- Making History (HI1027) - 15 Credit Points
This course will introduce students to the subject of university level history. Team taught lectures will introduce students to approaches, sources, and the dilemmas facing academic historians. Download course guide
Select one of the following options:
- Gaelic for Beginners 1A (GH1007)
- Gaelic for Beginners 1B (GH1507)
- Gaelic Language 1A (GH1013)
- Gaelic Language 1B (GH1513)
Plus select 30 credit points from Level 1 History or History of Art courses, and further credit points from courses of choice to reach 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.
- Year 2
- 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.
- 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.
Select one of the following options:
- Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2A (GH2009)
- Gaelic for Advanced Beginners 2B (GH2509)
- Gaelic Language 2A (GH2013)
- Gaelic Language 2B (GH2513)
Plus 60 credit points from available Level 2 History courses.
- 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.
- Thinking History (HI356J) - 30 Credit Points
This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history. Download Course Guide
Select further courses in Gaelic at Level 3 to gain 60 credits in the discipline, plus 30 credit points from Level 3 History courses.
- 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.
Select one of the following dissertation options:
- Dissertation in Gaelic Studies (GH4507) AND History in Practice II (HI4518)
- Dissertation in History (HI4516)
Plus select one History Special Subject course listed below, plus further course(s) in Gaelic at Level 4 to gain 60 credits in the discipline.
- 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.
- History in Practice (HI4518) - 30 Credit Points
History is not simply a dry, academic study of the past; it shapes a host of contemporary political, economic and cultural attitudes and is a central underpinning to the tourist and heritage industries - now one of the largest sectors of employment among mature western economies. This course is designed to give a critical understanding of the theoretical and practical links (as well as clear distinctions) between the practice of 'academic' History and 'public' History. This is done by having students assess how heritage and tourist businesses project a particular version of the past. Download Course Guide
- Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516) - 30 Credit Points
The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout. Download Course Guide
- Special Subject: Irish Troubles (HI4001) - 30 Credit Points
This course examines the events known collectively as the “Irish Troubles”. That is, the origins, development and partial conclusion of non-violent and violent opposition to the continuation of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the mid-1960s until the present day. Download Course Guide
- Special Subject: Hitler (HI4008) - 30 Credit Points
Hitler is omnipresent in modern life. He appears everywhere in the media and he is invoked all the time in public and private discourse. Yet Adolf Hitler remains an enigma. While he tends to be reduced to a one-dimensional cardboard cut out villain outside of academia, inside academia there has been a tendency in recent years to diminish Hitler’s importance and to push Hitler to the sidelines. Download Course Guide
- Special Subject: the Scottish Wars of Independence, 1286 - 1328 (HI4009) - 30 Credit Points
In 1286 Alexander III of Scotland was found dead at the foot of a cliff and Scotland was engulfed in a period of political instability and eventually war that was to have a profound impact on the future development of the British Isles. The course considers key stages of the ‘wars of independence’ period in chronological sequence until the final triumph of Robert I in 1328. Due consideration will be given to international perspectives in trying to understand the Anglo-Scottish struggle, notably in relation to Ireland, France, Flanders and the Papacy. Download Course Guide
- Special Subject: European Constitutional Monarchies in the Long 19th Century (HI4023) - 30 Credit Points
On the eve of the First World War Europe was a continent of monarchies. A long 19th century of revolutions, wars, growing literacy, an expanding public sphere, changes in social, economic, intellectual and technological life and imperial expansion lay behind them, but the continent’s monarchical systems had survived in surprisingly rude health. That monarchies had flourished throughout these profound transformations points to their suppleness and ingenuity. This course offers new perspectives on the political cultures of the states and societies of 19th-century Europe. Download Course Guide
- History of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (HI4025) - 30 Credit Points
The course examines the origins of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and its developments from multiple angles in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the complex dynamic that constitutes ‘the conflict’. The course will investigate the causes of the Palestinian refugee crisis and of the Arab-Israeli wars. It will introduce students to the Arab-Israeli peace process and familiarise students with the polarised historiography surrounding the Arab-Israeli conflict. 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: 28%
Learning Methodscheduled: 19%
Learning Methodscheduled: 13%
Learning Methodscheduled: 12%
Why Study Gaelic Studies and History?
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 Universityâ€™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.
- Ranked top University in Scotland for the impact of its History research, and second in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework. (Ranked by Times Higher Education based on REF 2014 GPA scores)
- Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national Teaching Quality Assessment, and with student satisfaction of 95% – way above the national average of 86%.
- Particular strengths in Irish and Scottish studies, Scandinavia, late medieval/early modern period, and research centres studying global empires, history and philosophy of science, technology and medicine, and Russian and Eastern European history.
- The inspiration of our beautiful historic campus in Old Aberdeen, where King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, is a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence.
- Major international treasures including 7,000 early printed books, the magnificent 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, large Jacobite collection, works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and fascinating local records dating from the middle ages.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes world-famous authors, broadcasters and personalities including well-known historians to campus every spring.
- Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and an online catalogue giving you access to thousands of books and millions of journal articles on the web.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
General Entry Requirements
- 2020 Entry
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.
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.
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.
32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.
Irish Leaving Certificate
5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).
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:
OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54
Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:
OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
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 2020/21|
|Students Admitted in 2020/21|
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 and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.
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.
Get in Touch
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen