Scottish History MA/MA(SocSci)

Eachdraidh na Gàidhlig ann an Alba, c. 1400-1914 GAELIC4049

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will study the history of the Gaelic in Scotland and explore the mechanisms by which a language, spoken by up to half the population in Scotland around 1500, was spoken by only 4.5% of Scots by 1901 (and 1% today). The spotlight will fall on initiatives taken by a scotophone (and latterly anglophone) government and church, by means of education, administration and religion, to curb and control Gaelic and the various ways in which Gaelic speakers responded to such initiatives and to the declining status of their language over the centuries. This new course will parallel an existing (English language) History course - The History of the Gaelic, language, c.1400-1914 (HIST 4248). Students will attend a common lecture but will be able to submit Gaelic language work for assessment and to attend Gaelic language seminars.


2 x 1 hour sessions per week (10 lectures and 10 seminars) as scheduled in My Campus. One lecture each Tuesday morning, 10-11am, shared in common with the parallel History course, HIST 4248.

Excluded Courses





Essay (2500 words) -20%  in Gaelic, which should draw on primary source research

Presentation (10 minutes) - 10% in Gaelic, with handout and PowerPoint

Seminar Participation - 10% in Gaelic

Exam (2 hour duration) - 60% offered as a bilingual exam paper. The student can choose to write in either Gaelic or English.

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:


■ Develop the intellectual and analytical skills acquired during the first and second years, whether in History, Celtic and Gaelic or elsewhere.

■ Provide students with an overview of the pressures being brought to bear on a speech and language group from central authority - and how Gaelic speakers reacted to these pressures.

■ Introduce students to the ways in which historical analysis can help in understanding the dynamics that affected Gaelic Society.

■ Develop an understanding of the interaction of the Gaidhealtachd with the Anglophone, Scotophone and wider world from a variety of perspectives.

■ Help develop critical and analytical skills through the close reading of sources by studying historical documents and historiographical debate (in translation where necessary).

■ Develop primary source research and essay writing skills.

■ Encourage the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiatives, personal choice and group discussion.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe the forces at work in changing the dominant speech in communities. 

■ Discuss critically and fairly assess the distinctive features of Gaelic society in Scotland and demonstrate awareness of a variety of responses to anglicisation and acculturation.

■ Critically and fairly evaluate the intentions and motivations of politicians, educationalists and administrators and their agendas regarding language in the Highlands.

■ Engage with and comment on debates in historiography and Gaelic Studies.

■ Contextualise and analyse a number of primary sources (accessed either in English or in Gaelic, in translation, as may be necessary).

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.