Celtic Studies and Scottish Studies at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS

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Course summary

Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to expand upon your interests and expertise in a community that really values research; and to make an original, positive contribution to learning in Celtic Studies and Scottish Studies. We specialise in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Celtic- and in particular the Gaelic-speaking peoples, from Iron Age Europe to the present, and in Scottish Ethnology, the study of Scotland's traditions, belief systems, and forms of cultural expression. Research community Based in Scotland's capital and festival city, our research community plays a prominent role in policy development and cultural innovation. We work at the forefront of linguistic, cultural, literary, and sociolinguistic research in the Celtic languages, with a particular focus on Scottish Gaelic. We play a leading role in relation to language planning and maintenance, particularly for Scottish Gaelic. The department also includes the longest established Scottish Studies department in Scotland. Over the past 70 years, the archives of the School of Scottish Studies have grown into an unrivalled collection of sound, video, film, and photographic resources that continue to inspire new research and creative work. We are also the home of the European Ethnological Research Centre, which promotes research into everyday life and society in Scotland through long-term projects such as the Regional Ethnology of Scotland and publications including the series Scottish Life and Society: A compendium of Scottish ethnology. Scottish ethnology provides a fascinating insight into the traditional and popular culture of Scotland, while giving you a set of ethnographical skills that may be applied to other traditional cultures. Research excellence In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), our research in Celtic and Scottish Studies was submitted in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Panel D - Arts and Humanities; Unit of Assessment 26). The results reaffirm Edinburgh’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities - third in the UK. As published in Times Higher Education's REF power ratings, this result is based on the quality and breadth of our research in the unit of assessment. Join our community and undertake a specialised research project under the guidance of experienced and well-published supervisors. Celtic studies Our Celtic studies expertise covers:

  • Gaelic language and culture in the diaspora
  • Gaelic linguistics, historical and contemporary dialectology, and language technology
  • Gaelic folklore
  • Irish and Scottish Gaelic manuscript culture
  • Medieval Gaelic religious culture
  • Old Irish and Middle Welsh language, literature, and culture
  • Scottish Gaelic and Modern Irish language, literature, and culture
  • Sociolinguistics and language policy of Celtic languages
  • The 'Celtic Revival' in Scotland
Scottish studies and ethnology Our Scottish studies and ethnology expertise covers:
  • custom and belief
  • digital folkloristics
  • ethnological fieldwork methods
  • Gaelic and Scottish language and culture in the diaspora
  • heritage studies
  • material culture
  • oral narrative
  • place names
  • social organisation
  • song and instrumental music and performance
Interdisciplinary research Working with colleagues elsewhere in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, and across the wider University, we are able to support PhD theses crossing boundaries between disciplines and/or languages. Your thesis Over the course of your PhD, you will be expected to complete an original body of work under the expert guidance of your supervisors leading to a dissertation of between 70,000 and 100,000 words. You will be awarded your doctorate if your thesis is judged to be of an appropriate standard, and your research makes a definite contribution to knowledge.


See the University of Edinburgh website for detailed programme information.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for individual programmes vary, so please check the details for the specific programme you wish to apply for on the University of Edinburgh website. You will also need to meet the University’s language requirements.

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Celtic Studies and Scottish Studies at The University of Edinburgh - UCAS