Celtic and Gaelic Studies

 

 

What courses? Celtic language; Gaelic; Irish studies; Cymraeg (Welsh); Welsh history; Celtic civilisation; Cymraeg a’r Ieithoedd Celtaidd (Welsh and the Celtic languages); Cymraeg proffesiynol (professional Welsh)

What do you come out with? BA usually, or an MA if you’re studying in Scotland.

Why do it? Professor Patrick Sims-Williams, head of the Welsh department at the University of Aberystwyth, says there are two main types of students: “Some are from Celtic or formerly Celtic countries and want to get deeper into their heritage while others want to try something exotic; in fact students come from all over Europe and further afield. Most Celtic departments are eager to recruit students to the cause and bend over backwards to make reasonable offers.”

What's it all about? Celtic languages have been spoken and written down in many parts of Europe for over 2000 years, but now they are confined to the British Isles and Brittany. Studying Celtic languages usually includes a study of their rich literature, medieval and modern, and aspects of their culture, including history, art and music. Most courses tend to concentrate on Irish, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic, depending on where the university is located, but some universities offer two or three languages, and Aberystwyth University teaches Breton as well. Complete beginners are welcome and taught in separate streams from first-language students. Contrary to what might be expected, Celtic departments often have an international flavour as it is difficult to study these languages outside the British Isles. In 2001, Cardiff established the Centre for Welsh American Studies in order to promote studies and exchange in the Americas and in Patagonia.

Study options: Usually BAs are three years full-time, whereas the Scottish MAs are four years. Aberystwyth offers a four-year Celtic studies BA, in which you go away for one or two semesters to study in a university in Ireland or Brittany, under the ERASMUS programme. If you’re studying a Celtic language alongside a foreign one, it’s likely that you’ll be able to spend a year working or studying abroad; this is good experience and attractive to employers.

What will I need to do it? Surprisingly, you don’t necessarily need to have studied your chosen language before, although it may help you progress more quickly if you have. At Cardiff, most courses require AAB/ABB. At Aberystwyth it’s CCB, and its course in professional Welsh require an A. At Glasgow, it’s tougher, and applicants who got AAAA in first sitting will receive an unconditional offer; those who got AABB or AAAB may receive a conditional or unconditional offer once all applications have been reviewed.

What are my job prospects? Teaching and translation are both popular choices for graduates, while others find positions in museums, government heritage bodies, publishing and book marketing. Many graduates opt for further study, with over half of graduates opting to pursue postgraduate degrees, according to The Times’ Good University Guide 2012, which is perhaps why only 20 per cent end up in graduate-level positions within six months of finishing. Graduate salaries average around £17,200, but we must be careful to not make sweeping generalisations, as student numbers are so small that tiny changes can skew the whole picture.

Where's best to do it? Cardiff topped this year’s Complete University Guide, followed by Aberystwyth, Glasgow, Bangor and Edinburgh. Students at Glasgow, Cambridge and Bangor were most satisfied.

Related degrees: English; French; history; classics; archaeology.

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy