Gaelic and History of Art 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. The programme offers a fascinating exploration of the buildings, sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, decorative and industrial arts of all periods at Scotland’s top-rated university for the impact of its research in History of Art.
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.
You will complement this with extensive specialised knowledge of the history of painting, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts in Europe and North America from the Middle Ages to the present day.
You will study in buildings centuries old, yet with the most modern teaching and technology, inspired by teachers and researchers whose specialist areas range from Pictish art, Medieval architecture, Italian Baroque painting, early modern prints and Scottish and British painting from the 17th to 20th centuries.
Your specialist skills make you ideally placed to enter the art gallery and museum sectors, arts education, publishing and journalism, or fine art conservation. You will also have transferable skills including teamwork, time management, personal initiative and highly developed enquiry, analytical and presentational skills ideally suited to a range of careers.
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.
- Introduction to Art History (HA1004) - 15 Credit Points
This introductory course will trace major developments in the history of art in the western world from Classical art and architecture in ancient Greece to the beginnings of photography in the nineteenth century. Aspects of European art to be explored, through painting, prints, sculpture and architecture, will begin with Stone-Age cave painting and then range from Greek Classicism to Medieval Gothic cathedrals, the rebirth of Classicism in the Renaissance to the grandeur of the Baroque, the ornament of the Rococo, and the revolutionary order of Neo-Classicism. Download Course Guide
View our course video: (Video) HA1004 - Introduction to Art History
- Modern Art (HA1508) - 30 Credit Points
Beginning with the Romantic period, and the art of Victorian Britain, this course will trace major developments in Western art through to the late twentieth century. Nineteenth-century modernism and modernity in France will be explored through Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the art of fin-de-siècle Paris. Twentieth-century movements will include German Expressionism, the wildness of Fauvism, the analytical eye of Cubism, the anarchy and dreams of Dada and Surrealism, and the rise of American painting with Abstract Expressionism. The move to postmodernism will be traced through Pop Art and beyond.
Video: (Video) HA1508 - Modern Art
- Gaelic for Beginners 1A (GH1007)
- Gaelic for Beginners 1B (GH1507)
- Select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points
- Gaelic Language 1A (GH1013)
- Gaelic Language 1B (GH1513)
- Select 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.
- Cathedrals to Caravaggio (HA2009) - 30 Credit Points
This course will survey western European art from circa 1100 to 1600. It will cover the styles known as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque. It will examine media including architecture, sculpture, metalwork and painting. The iconography of the Christian church forms the basis much of this art, but classical mythology and vernacular themes are also significant. Major themes include those of pilgrimage and church reform, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. It provides a fundamental understanding of the cultural world in which Aberdeen University began. Download Course Guide
- Making Masterpieces: Six Works in Context (HA2509) - 15 Credit Points
This course focuses on six major artistic masterpieces considered in their original and critical contexts. All the works considered have achieved fame or notoriety and have had a major impact on the history of art and culture. Works discussed may include the Bayeux Tapestry, Leonardo's Mona Lisa, Caravaggio's Calling of St Matthew, Courbet's Stonebreakers and Duchamp's Fountain.
- In the Flesh: Art on Location (HA2806) - 15 Credit Points
This course is organised around a series of tutor-led class visits to sites of special art historical significance. The class will visit key locations in and around Aberdeen, and there is also a trip to Edinburgh. A range of important works of art and architecture will be studied in situ, and this study will be supported by staff lectures on related topics. The material on the course will be organised in relation to broad themes that will introduce students to major issues in the discipline of art history.
- 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.
- Critical Perspectives in the History of Art (HA3079) - 30 Credit Points
Unlike most other art history courses, this is a text‐based course, which will focus on a number of selected ‘key texts’ by a range of authors from the history of art. In most classes, the chosen texts, which you will read in advance, will be examined in relation to a small number of pre‐chosen images. Discussion will focus on the way in which the issues raised in a prescribed text can usefully illuminate (or otherwise!) the given images. Download Course Guide
- Fieldwork 1 (HA3088)
Throughout the honours programme, you will be encouraged to reflect on your developing skills and knowledge as an art historian. Through tutor-led and self-directed visits to various locations, the Fieldwork course will foster a wide appreciation of past and current issues in the art world, beyond the classroom. The course will include not only a study of art and architecture but also a consideration of their context, display, function and interpretation.
- Select further courses in Gaelic at Level 3 to gain 60 credits in the discipline
- Select a further 30 credit points of level 3 History of Art 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.
- Fieldwork 2 (HA408A) - 30 Credit Points
In Fieldwork 2, you will continue your study of works of art and architecture in situ by undertaking a final fieldtrip. This can be as part of a tutor-led group visit, to Paris for example, or as a planned and agreed independent trip. You will complete your Flog with reflections on summer activities and then begin selecting the material for your Fieldwork ePortfolio. Unlike the Flog, this must be written in an academic style and will give you the opportunity to show how your thoughts and ideas as an art historian have been developing throughout the course. Download Course Guide
- EITHER Dissertation in Gaelic Studies (GH4507) OR Dissertation in History of Art (HA4588)
- Select further courses in Gaelic at Level 4 to gain 60 credits in the discipline.
- Select 30 credit points of level 4 History of Art courses if dissertation taken in other subject
- 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 of Art Dissertation (HA4588) - 30 Credit Points
Your dissertation is intended to give you the opportunity to carry out a piece of sustained research on a topic of your own choice and to demonstrate to the examiners your ability to present the results of such research in a proper, scholarly manner. Your research may be of various kinds. It may address works of art (or a single work of art) directly, through first-hand study in galleries, museums, or private collections, or it may be of a more literary kind, addressing critical or theoretical problems. Or it might involve both. 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.
Why Study Gaelic Studies and History of Art?
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.
Why History of Art
- Ranked the leading university in Scotland for the impact of History of Art research, and second in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework.
- Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national Teaching Quality Assessment.
- Our magnificent art collection, including the generous gifts of alumni through the centuries, and modern artworks by leading Scottish artists making our spaces special, and adding thought-provoking inspiration to our campus.
- The inspiration of the beautiful King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, a treasure-house of history, showcasing some of the finest work of medieval craftsmen in Europe.
- Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with an excellent modern collection of art history books covering all periods, particularly strong in 18th and 19th century material, including art theory and criticism, archaeology and travel.
- Home to the Buildings of Scotland Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the definitive inventory of Scottish Architecture for Aberdeenshire, Moray and Aberdeen.
- Historic treasures including important medieval manuscripts and estate papers, and the unique George Washington Wilson archive with over 45,000 original glass plate negatives made by this pioneer Victorian photographer.
- North-east Scotland’s distinguished architectural heritage from the Middle Ages onwards, the Aberdeen Art Gallery collections of French and British art, including one of the best collections of Victorian painting outside London.
- The National Galleries of Scotland, the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Art Gallery and the Hunterian Museum are within easy reach by train, bus or car.
- Visits to major galleries and architecture in Edinburgh, London and Paris, as part of your programme, and a final year week-long visit to a city of artistic and cultural significance – most recently Paris.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, and the annual May Festival which includes tours and talks on our medieval architecture and art treasures.
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.
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University of Aberdeen