Celtic Studies MA

The Gaelic Kingdom of Alba and the Formation of Scotland AD 800-1100 (Hons) ARCH4073

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This is an interdisciplinary course which will look at emergence and development of the Kingdom of Alba between AD 800 and AD 1100. Emphasis will be put on the fragmentary nature of the evidence, and the methodology necessary to best work through the sources available. The main themes addressed in the course are politics, beliefs, daily life but also craftsmanship, art, and texts. The beginning of social institutions, emergence of central royal authority and ecclesiastical structures will be at the core of the discussions. One of the key-approaches of this course is its interdisciplinarity, and how to use evidence from various sources to develop a strong and nuanced understanding of this complex period.


14x1hr lectures, 6x1hr seminar/workshops over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is an honours optional courses in Archaeology,History, Celtic Civilisation and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Exam (90 minutes duration) - 50%

Essay (2000 words) - 40%

Oral presentation during Seminar (10 minutes) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide Honours students with an understanding of the origins of early medieval Scotland, looking at themes of politics, art, belief and daily life through the study of archaeological, textual and historical evidence and forming a critical assessment of the existing evidence.

■ Enable students to acquire a strong appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the field, while learning how to situate early medieval Scotland (9th to 12th c.) within its wider European context.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Acquire a critical understanding of the archaeological, literary and historical sources as evidence of the societies of the Gaelic Kindgom of Alba between AD 800 and 1100.

■ Investigate the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to build insights into early medieval societies

■ Bring these insights to bear on the emergence and development of the Kingdom of Alba.

■ Expand critical analysis of source material through group discussion in seminars

■ Develop oral and IT skills through presentations to seminar group.

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.