Welsh and Celtic studies

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

This is a taught Masters course that offers a range of language and literature modules - most of these through the medium of English - including Modern Welsh, Middle Welsh, Modern Irish, Old Irish and Scottish Gaelic. As a student on this course, you will write a thesis on a subject of your choice under the supervision of a specialist in that field.

One of the strengths of this MA, and one which sets it apart from similar schemes, is that we will enable and encourage you to develop your Welsh-language skills, whether you come to us as a Welsh speaker or learner, or as a complete beginner.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree, or equivalent. Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Course Overview

Why study the MA Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University?

  • Choose Aberystwyth University and you’ll be studying in a location like no other. On the west coast of Wales between Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains, you’ll be part of a friendly, outward-looking community where students have been coming since 1872. What better place to study the rich history and cultural heritage of the Celtic people and regions?
  • The Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University is the oldest department of its kind in the world - home to a lively community of students and researchers who all share the aim of promoting a wider understanding of the Welsh and Irish languages, their history, literature and place in the modern and international world.
  • Joining us at Aberystwyth, you will become part of a vibrant wider research community. At monthly seminars, staff, students and visiting scholars present their research, and informal open textual seminars and reading groups run throughout the year.
  • The National Library of Wales is a wonderful resource and is a short walk from the Welsh and Celtic Studies Department. It is one of only five copyright libraries in the UK. Its priceless medieval manuscripts contain some of the earliest Welsh literature as well as valuable collections of medieval Cornish material, modern Irish manuscripts and Manx folklore.
  • Aberystwyth is also home to the University of Wales Welsh Dictionary and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. We have a close working relationship with these institutions, and our students can take advantage of their resources.
  • Language learning takes place outside the classroom as much as within it, and here the wider community in Aberystwyth comes into its own. The county of Ceredigion is home to thriving Welsh-speaking communities, and Aberystwyth plays host to a lively Welsh language arts scene, featuring drama, poetry, pop music, traditional music and dancing, and more. Regular social and literary events such as Cicio’r Bar, an evening of poetry readings and music presented by renowned Welsh poets Eurig Salisbury and Hywel Griffiths, allow students access to contemporary Welsh culture and unique opportunities through which to gain experience of Welsh in the community.
  • Aberystwyth also has a Welsh-speaking students’ union (UMCA), Welsh-speaking sports teams (under the umbrella of Y Geltaidd) and Pantycelyn, Aberystwyth’s famous and newly-refurbished Welsh-language hall of residence. All of these facilities provide opportunities for students to use Welsh in social situations.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge, the course is designed to encourage personal development, and to equip you with a strong set of skills that you can draw upon in many postgraduate employment settings.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


The MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies will provide a solid foundation for those who choose to go on to undertake research in the subject, or to work with related languages and cultures (Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic).

Historically, the Department’s MA programmes have offered pathways for students from similar disciplines to go on to do doctoral research in Britain, Ireland and North America. Recent graduates are currently undertaking research at Harvard, Yale and Toronto.

Every element of the MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies 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 research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

Employers in every industry value such skills, and the pattern of creativity, research, analysis and discussion in this course will place you in an excellent position for the competitive jobs market.

Teaching & Learning

The MA in Welsh and Celtic Studies has one core module as follows:

  • Extended Essay (Dissertation) - worth 60 credits

You will choose another 60 credits from the optional modules on offer:

  • Early Modern Irish
  • Comparative Celtic Philology
  • Early Irish Saga Literature
  • Medieval Welsh Poetry
  • Beginning Modern Welsh I
  • Scottish Gaelic
  • Women’s Poetry in Ireland, Scotland and Wales 1400–1800
  • Comparative Celtic Literature
  • The Mabinogion
  • Introduction to Old Irish
  • Beginning Modern Welsh II
  • Cyfieithu Creadigol Rhyngwladol

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through participation in research groups, attendance at departmental research seminars and workshops. There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your dissertation.

Some of the optional modules will be taught jointly with the equivalent undergraduate modules in the department - the language-teaching modules specifically. You will have plenty of opportunity to listen, speak and practise the languages, and you will also attend additional translation seminars which will stretch and challenge you further, leading to your independent studies of the language, and preparing you for the translation tasks at the higher level.

What will I learn?

You will undertake one large core module – the Dissertation. You will then pursue your own areas of interest by choosing from the list of optional modules that cover a wide range of themes, to build a portfolio that satisfies your interests and career needs.

The Dissertation requires you to work independently and to pursue your own individual topic. You will have access to the support and expertise of the academic staff, but you are required to cultivate a professional work ethic to deliver this demanding academic task. The project management skills you will gain in preparing this project are transferrable skills that will be relevant to almost any work context that attracts Masters graduates.


The expertise of the research staff in the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies covers the whole span of language and literature in Welsh, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Bretton, Cornish and Manx as well as interdisciplinary linguistic and literary research.