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Study Celtic Studies, Why & How To Study

If you want to learn about one of the formative cultures of Great Britain and Ireland, then Celtic Studies could be the perfect subject for you.

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  1. What’s Celtic Studies?

  2. What Celtic Studies degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Celtic Studies degree?

  4. What topics does a Celtic Studies degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Celtic Studies?

  7. What do Celtic Studies graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Celtic Studies graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Celtic Studies

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Celtic Studies?

A degree in Celtic Studies can vary depending on the university, but there will be a focus on the historical culture that formed the foundations of the British Isles.

Perhaps the most significant area of Celtic Studies is Celtic languages. Although for many they aren’t a primary form of communication, languages such as Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic have been the subject of revival efforts in recent years.

Other areas of study can include Celtic literature, art and culture, including a focus on the religious and spiritual habits of Celtic people.

What Celtic Studies degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Celtic Studies may be combined with humanities subjects or another language, for example:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic BA
  • Celtic and Archaeology MA
  • Celtic Studies BA/MA
  • Cymraeg (Welsh) BA
  • Scottish Historical Studies MA

What do you need to get onto a Celtic Studies degree?

Most undergraduate Celtic Studies courses ask for 80–165 UCAS points. Not every university will base their offer on UCAS points and some courses may have lower or higher requirements.

  • A Levels: A*AA–CCC
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBB (Advanced Highers: BBB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–24
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: history or a humanities subject at A Level (or equivalent)

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Degrees studied in the Welsh, Irish or Gaelic medium may require an A Level or Higher in the language, unless studying at beginners’ level
  • General studies and similar A Levels may be excluded from offers

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Furthering your knowledge of Celtic history and culture by checking course modules and reading more from the literature or periods referred to – check uni department websites for useful resources
  • If you’ve learned a second language online or at an evening class, as some courses may require texts to be studied in a historic language, or in Welsh, Irish or Gaelic
  • Being a member of a language club or cultural society

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science, if taken at A Level
  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does a Celtic Studies degree cover?

Language course modules focus primarily on learning the language itself. Other modules focus on Celtic history and culture, such as:

  • Celtic civilisation
  • Early Gaelic literature in translation
  • Gaelic history
  • History of Gaelic in Scotland, c. 1400–1914
  • Ireland: political, social and cultural geographies
  • Irish literature 1914–2014: from James Joyce to Eimear McBride
  • Language policy and planning for European minority languages
  • Medieval Welsh literature in translation
  • The voice of the emigrants: Gaelic literature in the new world
  • Warriors, witches and legends: the origins of Ireland

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module:

  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Presentations
  • A dissertation is usually a final year option

Why study Celtic Studies?

A Celtic Studies degree will give you an exclusive insight into the fascinating medieval and modern Celtic cultures of Great Britain and Ireland.

The potential for research during a Celtic Studies course provides the opportunity to develop your skills in this area, as well as acquiring new skills for the analysis of data. Additionally, through your written work, you'll develop your ability to articulate information in a clear and concise manner.

Career-specific skills:

  • In-depth knowledge of Celtic culture, history and literature, ancient and modern

Transferable skills:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • IT skills
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Synthesising information
  • Time management

What do Celtic Studies graduates earn?

Celtic Studies graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £19,000–£23,000.

If your course teaches you a language, you could become a teacher in that medium. In Scotland, a probationer teacher is paid £27,500, while the income of principal teacher in Gaelic ranges from £45,150–58,000.

Your skills could also suit work in the heritage sector, where salaries range from £18,500–£48,000. A heritage collections manager might be offered a salary of £27,000 while a heritage and arts team leader could earn up to £38,000.

What jobs can you get as a Celtic Studies graduate?

Professions entered by Celtic Studies graduates include teaching; working in museums and government heritage bodies; writing, editing and publishing; and research and academic work. Roles could include:

  • Archivist
  • Author
  • Book marketing manager
  • Broadcasting presenter
  • Curator
  • Editorial assistant
  • Heritage manager
  • Journalist
  • Lecturer
  • Museum development officer
  • Museum education officer
  • Teacher
  • Translation

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Postgraduate courses are available if you have a first degree in Celtic Studies or a subject like history, linguistics, literature or languages. Graduates with a relevant first degree and a qualification in the language can also take a PGCE to become a teacher in Gaelic, Irish or Welsh medium education. Examples of postgraduate courses include:

  • Cornish Studies MPhil/PhD
  • Irish and Celtic PhD
  • Scottish Historical Studies MLitt
  • Welsh and Celtic Studies MA
  • Welsh MA/MPhil/PhD

Similar subjects to Celtic Studies

If you’re interested in other cultures or languages, you could also consider these subjects:

Have any questions?

If you have questions about studying Celtic Studies, you can email our experts at We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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