Gaelic Language and Culture BA (Hons)

Course code Q530

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 UHI Outer Hebrides 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
  • This is a Category 2 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required for specific optional modules/unit(s), where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in optional module/unit(s), but an alternative pathway exists to achieve target qualification. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage
  • Applicants who can demonstrate both advanced fluency and excellent written Gaelic may qualify for advanced entry direct to the second year of the programme
  • Please note: this course does not accept applications for deferred entry; if you wish to take a year out, for example, you must apply next year

Advanced entry 
Entry to year 2 may also be possible with:

  • CertHE An Cùrsa Adhartais (CertHE An Cùrsa Adhartais (English))
  • CertHE An Cùrsa Comais (CertHE An Cùrsa Comais (English))
  • CertHE Gàidhlig agus Conaltradh (CertHE Gaelic and Communication)

Entry to year 3 may be possible with: 

  • DipHE Gaelic and Related Studies

Access routes

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?

  • 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?

  • Outer Hebrides - Years 1, 2 and 3 only
  • Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £305

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 £9,250 £9,250
Year 2 DipHE £9,250 £9,250
Year 3 Degree £9,250 £9,250
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) - £1,542.

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

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

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes.  Students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000 per annum and the 4th year of study will be free for those studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Year Level 2022-23 Full-time With scholarship 2023-24 Full-time
With scholarship
Year 1 CertHE £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
Year 2 DipHE £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
Year 3 Degree £13,020  £10,020  £13,980 £10,980
Year 4 Honours £13,020  Free £13,980 Free 

Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

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 £13,020 £13,980
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,510 £6,990
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,170 £2,330

Part-time study is not open to international students 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 rest of the UK, EU and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

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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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)

Please note that UHI North Highland, UHI Outer Hebrides and UHI West Highland will be changing their names to become UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023, subject to Scottish Government approval. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study.

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2023

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.