MA Medieval Welsh Literature

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The Aberystwyth University’s MA in Medieval Welsh Literature offers you an exciting opportunity to engage with the Welsh language and literature of the medieval period through historical, social and intellectual approaches.  You will study a rich array of Welsh texts and cultural phenomena by engaging with three core modules – The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, Welsh Language I and Welsh Language II – and two further modules from a fascinating selection.

By studying the central canon of Welsh texts, you will develop a sound knowledge of the language, culture and thought of the middle and medieval periods in Wales.   You will read and appreciate the most important of Middle Welsh texts in the original language, and you will discuss the narrative techniques, characterisation, themes and structure of these tremendously important texts.  You will also encounter important texts from neighbouring cultures and traditions, such as Anglo-Saxon, Irish and Late Latin, so that you may fully contextualise the central literary artefacts of your study.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge, this study programme is constructed in such a way to develop you personally, and equip you with a strong compliment of skills that you can draw upon in many postgraduate employment situations. 

Upon completion of this degree, you will have mastered the diverse skills needed for evidence-handling, such as locating, gathering, selecting, organising and synthesising large bodies of evidence into a coherent and compelling interpretation.  You will also have mastered the highly creative nature of the source texts and their authors, and you will have responded with imagination, insight and creativity.  Together, your analytical rigour and creative independence will make you an attractive prospect for employers in a range of fields. 

Overview

This MA offers students who have not necessarily had the chance to study for a first degree in Welsh or Celtic Studies to engage closely with the Welsh language and literature of the medieval period while at the same time learning Modern Welsh in order to be able to read and converse confidently by the end of the year. This is a unique combination which is  popular with students of cognate disciplines (Modern Languages, Medieval Studies, Old and Middle English, Classics) who wish to improve their language and interpretative skills to equip them for doctoral work. Other students, sometimes with a background in archaeology or history, are interested in knowing more about the culture and language of Wales in the medieval period with an eye to working in the education, heritage, and tourism sectors.

A variety of Welsh texts, from 600 to 1600, will be studied in the original language taking account of their manuscript and cultural contexts, and using a variety of critical approaches including comparative work with texts from neighbouring cultures and traditions such as Irish, Late Latin, and some Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. Our main aim, however, is to equip you with a working knowledge of the Medieval Welsh language, and to ensure that you are fully conversant with the full range of current scholarship including that written in the Welsh language. The dissertation will allow you to develop a topic of your choice and to produce a sustained piece of work up to 20,000 words which will demonstrate to future employers your ability to research independently (under the guidance of a specialist) and to exercise your critical faculties and writing skills at a high level.  

Welsh is the everyday language of the Department and the usual language of administration, but learners are given every encouragement to start using the language as soon as they can, and to attend a range of cultural and social events. Staff and students meet in our fortnightly lunch-time research seminars, and the Postgraduate Study Room, located in the heart of the Department, next to the Hugh Owen Library, makes for a good deal of informal interaction between taught Masters’ students, research student, staff and undergraduates. Postgraduate employment stands currently at 100%.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Core modules required to be taken

Semester 1

Welsh Language 1 WEM1120

Semester 2

Welsh Language 2 WEM0220

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Dissertation

Semester 3

Dissertation WEM2060

Year 1 Options Choose 80 credits of modules from this list

Semester 1

Comparative Celtic Philology IRM3920

The Earliest Welsh Poetry WEM1420

The Four Branches Of The Mabinogi I WEM1620

Semester 2

Comparative Celtic Literature IRM4020

The Earliest Welsh Arthurian Sources And Texts WEM1320

The Early Englyngion Cycles WEM1520

The Four Branches Of The Mabinogi Ii WEM1720

Dafydd Ap Gwilym WEM1820

Employability

Qualification: MA in Welsh Medieval Literature

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to study Welsh language and literature at an advanced academic level;
  • If you desire a strengthen your critical and scholarly abilities through engagement with Welsh texts;
  • If you wish to explore your enthusiasm for this exciting and highly satisfying subject;
  • If you aim to foster transferable skills and engage in professional and personal development for entering employment. 

Employability

Every element of the Aberystwyth Master’s in Welsh Medieval Literature enhances your employability.  Alongside the development of your subject-specific knowledge and experience, an especially noteworthy strength of this course is the emphasis on personal development.  As an emerging language specialist, your strengthened research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

The very nature of a literature course requires you to develop thoughtful responses to a range of texts, authors and contexts.  You will develop confidence in thinking which is both thorough and creative, and demonstrates your initiative, self-motivation, flexibility and independence of mind along the way.  The organisational skills you will learn on this course will help you direct your individual flair, bringing a balance of skills that prospective employers will find attractive.

Employers in every industry value such skills, and the pattern of creativity, research, analysis and discussion in this course will stand you in excellent stead for entry into the competitive jobs market. 

Personal, Professional and Project-Management Skills

The Master’s dissertation requires you to work independently and to pursue your own individual dissertation topic.  You will access to the support and expertise of the Welsh department staff, but you are required to cultivate a professional work ethic to deliver this extremely demanding academic dissertation.  The project management skills you will gain in preparing this project are entirely transferrable to almost any work context that Master’s graduates apply for.

Studying for this Master’s degree will allow you to sharpen up all your research and analysis disciplines, your professional work ethos and your presentation and communication skills.  A host of employers look for accuracy, thoroughness, an eye for detail and the ability to find and prove connections across broad subject matter, and you certainly will have proven yourself, simply by graduating from this prestigious MA course. 

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622116
Fax: (01970) 622976
Email: welsh@aber.ac.uk

Department of Welsh
Aberystwyth University
Old College
King Street
Aberystwyth
SY23 2BH

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

As a Postgraduate Student you will be inducted to the University and join one of the top Graduate Schools in the world (Igraduate2012).

It is important you feel at home in the Department, University and Town. Here are some links for you to explore these areas further:

Student Views

Name: Sebastian Rider Bezerra
From: United States of America
Course: MA in Medieval Welsh Literature

In the US, if someone wants to study Celtic Studies, there are really only three schools named; Harvard, Cambridge, and Aberystwyth. The reason I chose Aberystwyth over the others was the fact that only Aberystwyth University included teaching Modern Welsh and the opportunity to speak that language as part of the Masters course.

I have found my transition from Undergraduate to Postgraduate study quite smooth as I spent most of my final year undergraduate in the US doing graduate-level work. The bigger contrast in the last year, I think, is the contrast between the British and American academic systems.

The lecturers on this course are brilliant, and from the first day there was a conscious effort made to shape the curriculum to fit the interests of the incoming postgraduate students. The course gives a great chance to work with real experts in the field in a welcoming and closely-knit department. The quality of teaching on Welsh at Aberystwyth is as high as you’d expect from the cultural heart of Wales.