Top Schools for Celtic Languages and Linguistics

Learn about top Celtic languages and linguistics programs, which can teach you how to analyze the nature, structure and variations associated with this oral tradition. Read an overview of the programs offered by four noteworthy schools, and find an easy-to-understand list of other colleges and universities around the country that offer studies in Celtic languages and linguistics.

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Students who are interested in Celtic languages and linguistics can find relevant degree programs and concentration options at some of the best universities in the country.

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School Overviews

The four schools detailed below include an Ivy League institution and a member of a large public university system; all have been highly ranked by either Forbes Magazine or U.S. News and World Report.

University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: The Celtic Studies program at UC Berkeley was the first degree-granting program in Celtic languages and literatures in North America.

The oldest of the ten campuses affiliated with the University of California, the Berkeley campus of this prestigious public institution was ranked the top public university by U.S. News and World Report in 2017. UC Berkeley offers Celtic studies programs available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs can help students acquire a broad understanding of Irish and Welsh language, history and culture. Studies in comparative literature and mythology are also included.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Rather than mainly focusing on Irish, the Harvard program provides training in a larger variety of Celtic languages and traditions.

Harvard University, one of the oldest colleges in the United States, was ranked 2nd in the list of national universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2017. While the university does not offer an undergraduate major in Celtic literature, studies in folklore and mythology are available. Graduate students can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Celtic Languages and Literature. In addition to the study of Welsh and Irish languages, the program covers the history, mythology, folklore and traditions associated with several areas, such as Gaelic Scotland and Nova Scotia.

Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY

School Highlight: Classes at Northern Kentucky University focus on the six Celtic Nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, and Brittany.

In 2016, Northern Kentucky University was one of the top 700 schools included in Forbes Magazine's list of America's best colleges. The third-largest university in the Greater Cincinnati area, this public postsecondary institution offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, including a major in anthropology that allows for a minor in Celtic studies. Once enrolled, students receive a comprehensive introduction to prehistoric and contemporary Celtic cultures and spoken languages.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI

School Highlight: The university has a Center for Celtic Studies.

At the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, it is possible to earn an undergraduate certificate through the Center for Celtic Studies. Students have the opportunity to explore the historical and modern cultures of the Celts, Breton, Cornish, Galician, Irish, Manx, Scottish, and Welsh peoples, including studies of their languages. Students learn from faculty at the University of Wisconsin as well as visiting international faculty, and there are study abroad options in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe. In addition to providing formal education through the certificate program, the Center for Celtic Studies also sponsors cultural enrichment opportunities like festivals.

Top Celtic Languages and Linguistics Programs

Here are a few other well-regarded schools that offer relevant programs in Celtic Language and Linguistics:

  • At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, certificates in Celtic studies are available.
  • Students at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, can pursue a concentration in Irish and Celtic Studies.
  • A Celtic Studies major is offered within the Medieval Studies program at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Even though Celtic Language and Linguistic programs are relatively rare in the United States, there are a few ranked schools that offer relevant educational opportunities for interested students.

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