Gaelic Language and Culture BA (Hons)

UCAS code Q530
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

If you want to discover more about Gaelic society and its origins whilst gaining a high level of fluency in the Gaelic language, then this lively BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture course is for you.

Themes include: the arts; contemporary and traditional literature; minority language issues; and oral tradition; you will also explore the relationship of Gaelic to other languages, including Irish Gaelic.

You’ll be taught in a supportive environment at Lews Castle College UHI on the Isle of Lewis, or at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI on the Isle of Skye, by a dedicated team who will help you gain confidence in the spoken and written language, offering small classes and individual support where necessary.

Special features

  • Become a confident, fluent speaker of Gaelic by immersion in the language, learning through Gaelic during your programme of study
  • Learn about the cultural evolution of Gaelic
  • Successful completion of the course will give you a recognised qualification for entry to teacher training
  • You will undertake a three-week work placement in year 1
  • You may choose to take part in an exchange programme to Canada or Ireland in your fourth year
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above, preferably including Gaelic (learners) or Gàidhlig (fluent speakers) at grade B or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • You will be required to attend an interview (on campus or by phone) to determine which of the two parallel first-year programmes will be most appropriate to your Gaelic language skills
  • Applicants with other qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

Access routes

  • An Cùrsa Inntrigidh (Access to Gaelic programme) - a distance learning programme, enabling students with no previous knowledge of Gaelic to achieve the entry level
  • Applicants who can demonstrate both advanced fluency and excellent written Gaelic may qualify for advanced entry direct to the second year of the programme

Year 1 - CertHE

Year 1:  Intensive language year; depending on level of ability on entry, you will follow either:

You will undertake a three-week Gaelic work placement.

Year 2 - DipHE

Subjects include:

  • Gaelic language 2
  • Modern short story
  • Poetry since 1900
  • Oral culture
  • Scottish onomastics
  • Gaelic scholars and voyagers
  • The Gaelic world
  • Language, culture and identity

Year 3 - BA

Subjects include:

  • Gaelic language 3
  • Modern Gaelic prose writing
  • Irish language
  • Traditional culture
  • Gaelic poetry 1600-1900
  • History of Gaelic language
  • Creative writing

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Subjects include:

  • Gaelic dialects
  • Translation Skills
  • The Aos Dana
  • Celtic belief systems
  • Tradition in the 21st Century
  • Opportunity to study in Nova Scotia or Ireland

You must also complete a dissertation.

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, from September 2020, your course will be delivered mainly online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities and teaching will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn via face-to-face tutorials, lectures and practical language classes 
  • You may also study by distance learning by online video conferencing or telephone tutorial

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Lews Castle College UHI - Years 1, 2 and 3 only
  • Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £11,650 £12,000
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,820 £6,000
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,940 £2,000

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Teaching
  • Gaelic cultural, development and arts agencies
  • Gaelic media

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture to MSc Material Culture and Gàidhealtachd History, or train for employment in radio/TV/online with the Diploma in Gaelic Media.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I knew I wanted to study in a Gaelic environment so Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI just seemed the natural choice for me. The course has helped with my public speaking and interpersonal skills as well as learning how to do archival, library and field research. I also undertook a three week work placement with the media company, Sealladh TV. The main highlight for me was meeting life-long friends and I'm now employed as the co-ordinator for short courses at the college.

Emma graduated with a BA (Hons) Gaelic language and Culture in 2018.

This was the right course for me as I wanted to study in Gaelic and I have an interest in Gaelic culture. The module choices are very interesting and my tutors are helpful and supportive. I've gained lots of skills and knowledge through my studies and on my primary school placement. It's a great place to study.

Kylie MacDonald, student, BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture.

I know that my career will always revolve around Gaelic. I hear Gaelic every single day of my life and I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge amongst the tutors here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI. I love being in the Highlands - it's beautiful, the people are fantastic and everywhere you go feels like home.

Ross Christie graduated from the BA (Hons) Gaelic Language and Culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI

Apply for Gaelic Language and Culture BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2021

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.