Postgraduate taught 

Celtic Studies MSc

Celtic Place-Names of Scotland CELTCIV5025

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course engages students with the latest research and methods in the study of Scotland's Celtic place-names, investigating the many-layered language history of Scotland and the power of place-names as a source for medieval Scotland's religious landscape and ecclesiastical history, social history, and historical environment. There is some language content to the course, but it is also suitable for students who have not studied Gaelic.


■ 10 one-hour lectures or workshops (average of one per week)

■ 6 one-hour seminars (average one per fortnight, including an introductory seminar)

■ 4 one-hour tutorials (at beginning of course; two to support preparation of essay; and one for feedback)

■ The only shared experience with honours students is the 10 lectures (which are designed to introduce issues and establish critical approaches).

Excluded Courses

Celtic Place-names of Scotland honours course.





seminar paper of 15 minutes on a critical issue in the field of Celtic place-names selected by student in discussion with tutor: 30%

contribution to seminars (engagement with discussion and in setting agenda for next seminar): 10%

3,500 word essay based on an independent research project: 60%

Course Aims

The aims of this course are:

■ to introduce Scotland's Celtic languages, and develop a critical understanding of place-names as a source for the history of these languages in Scotland, and how they can be identified.

■ to engage with the latest methodologies in place-name studies.

■ to develop a critical understanding of maps, charters, name-books and fieldwork for place-name studies.

■ to develop a critical understanding of the significance of Celtic place-names for the linguistic, environmental, social and religious history of Scotland.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ critically evaluate place-names as a source for the history of the Celtic languages in Scotland.

■ critically evaluate the contribution that place-names make to archaeology, as well as to an understanding of environmental, social and religious history in Scotland.

■ conduct independent research into place-names based on sound methodologies acquired through workshops.

■ deploy different types of sources for the study of place-names, such as charters and other historical texts, maps and name-books.

■ recognise key Celtic place-name elements and comment on their meaning and distributions

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.