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Gaelic Studies Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Schools with programs in Gaelic literature and culture study the history of the Welsh, Irish and Scottish people as it pertains to their folklore, mythology, history and law. Relevant educational opportunities are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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Only a few schools in the United States offer specific degrees in Gaelic studies, also known as Celtic studies. Some schools offer undergraduate specializations or minors in Gaelic or Celtic studies and languages.

Schools with Gaelic or Celtic Studies Degree Programs

The following 4-year institutions offer relevant programs in the field:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Certificate $10,415 (In-state) $29,665 (Out-of-state)
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Minor $13,431 (In-state) $38,139 (Out-of-state)
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Minor, Doctoral $45,278
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY 4-year, Public Minor $9,120 (In-state) $17,856 (Out-of-state)
Bard College Annandale-On-Hudson, New York 4-year, Private not-for-profit Minor $49,906
Truman State University Kirksville, MO 4-year, Public Minor $7,456 (In-state) $13,680 (Out-of-state)
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 4-year, Private not-for-profit Undergraduate Minor, Graduate Minor, Doctoral $47,929
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Minor $49,324
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Minor, Bachelor's, Master's $47,750

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Gaelic studies students should take the following into consideration when selecting a program:

  • Students may want to look for schools that regularly host speakers to give seminars on the subject of Gaelic studies.
  • For students who want to augment their classroom studies with cultural immersion experiences, it is important to find a school that offers study abroad options.
  • It is important to find out about the language learning opportunities offered through the program, since some focus specifically on one language, while others allow students to study multiple languages. Students can choose between them based on their academic interests.
  • Some programs provide dual degree opportunities or the chance to minor in Gaelic studies alongside another subject; students with multiple academic interests may wish to enroll in one of these programs.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

In Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs in Gaelic or Celtic studies, students gain a broad overview of the field through education in the language, literature, history and culture of the Celtic peoples. At some schools, students are encouraged to choose a particular discipline on which to concentrate their coursework, such as linguistics, art history or anthropology. While there are a few institutions in the country that allow students to major in this field, it is more commonly offered as a minor. Students who choose a minor learn about the same basic concepts, but they are required to fulfill fewer course requirements.

Master's Degree Programs

In terminal master's degree programs, students take a core of advanced courses in the field, and they may have the chance to choose a particular specialization, such as Irish history or Irish Literature. They may study abroad in the United Kingdom as part of the program, and they are usually required to submit a thesis or final project prior to graduation. It is important to note that it may also be possible to earn a master's as an intermediate degree on the way to a PhD.

Doctoral Degree Programs

There is only one Celtic Studies PhD program in the United States, offered by Harvard University. In this program, students conduct high-level research in a particular subtopic of Gaelic studies under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Students are also encouraged to pursue a simultaneous PhD in a second area of expertise, such as comparative literature, historical linguistics or the Classics. Prior to graduation, students must write and defend a final dissertation.

Students interested in Gaelic studies can find undergraduate and graduate degree programs at public and private schools. These programs are relatively rare, and students should consider things like study abroad options and combined graduate degrees when choosing a school to attend.

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