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Celtic Studies - Research


Celtic Studies is an area of high importance with research in the subject being carried out within the Irish and Celtic Studies Research Institute


In REF 2014 the Irish and Celtic Studies Research Institute was assessed as having:

100% outstanding or very considerable impact in research
66% of overall research world-leading or internationally excellent
90% of research environment internationally excellent or world-leading

The subject has a high income stream, and staff and student support arrangements and postgraduate training are excellent. The Institute is committed to fully supporting its postgraduate students.

Specialisms include medieval Irish language and literature, textual scholarship, the transmission of senchas and historical verse, voyage literature, the Gaelic manuscript tradition, bardic poetry, place-names research, dialectology, lexicography, stylistics, minority languages, language policy and planning, the syntax and semantics of the verb in Irish, 18th and 19th century Irish language, literature and learning with particular reference to Ulster, modern and contemporary Irish literature, Scottish Gaelic literature from the eighteenth century to the present time, creative writing, Gaelic literature in translation, applied language studies (CALL, digitization, language corpora) and Irish folklore.

Postgraduate supervision is available in almost all aspects of Irish and Scottish Gaelic language and literature and in a range of subject areas in the other Celtic languages.


The research infrastructure provided by the University is of a high quality. The Institute has a Director who is responsible for the day-to-day running and management of the subject area. There is also a Faculty of Arts Research Committee and a Faculty Research Graduate School. A Pro-Vice-Chancellor has special responsibility for research matters in the University and a Research Department oversees and administers all aspects of research provision. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor meets with the Director of the Research Institute on a regular basis to discuss strategy and priorities and to assess progress.

The main objective of the Institute is to foster and develop a vibrant research culture and
ethos in all aspects of its work. This is reflected in a variety of ways, such as the number of high-quality publications by members of the group, externally-funded research projects,
the organization of conferences and colloquia, international collaborations, and the large number of research students and research degrees awarded.

The Institute has close ties with the scholarly Societies, Societas Celto-Slavica and Societas Celtologica Nordica. Members of the Institute occupy the positions of President and Vice- President of these Societies respectively and edit their academic journals. The Institute also runs a series of research seminars on various aspects of Celtic Studies at which papers are presented by members of the Institute, including research students, and invited guests. Members of the Institute edit Studia Celtica Upsaliensia and Studia Celto-Slavica.

Students are of central importance to the research culture of the subject: they maintain close contact with their supervisors and other staff; they are allocated dedicated space; and they are closely integrated into the fabric of the subject as a whole.

Doctoral Training Centre in the Celtic Languages, Literatures and Cultures

In addition, Ulster is a partner in the new collaborative Doctoral Training Centre in the Celtic Languages, Literatures and Cultures, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the period 2014-19. A consortium of 12 higher education organisations across the UK award doctoral studentships and support the training of students in a new, collaborative fashion. The Consortium Members are the universities of Aberdeen, Bangor, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, Swansea, Queens University Belfast, Ulster University, the University of the Highlands and Islands/Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies; the Centre is managed by the University of Glasgow. Students are enabled in an unprecedented way to partake of shared supervision and resources across these universities, and to engage with partners outside the higher education sector.

Current Projects

The Institute has generated significant funding and is engaged in a number of prestigious scholarly projects. On-going projects include the following:

Languages for the Future: Northern Ireland Languages Strategy (DENI-funded project)

Stories of the Sea: A Typological Study of Maritime Memorates in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic Folklore Traditions (AHRC-funded project)

Concise Irish-English/English-Irish Dictionary (RCUK-funded project)

The History of Celtic Studies

POOLS and Tools for CLIL Teachers

Celtologica-Nordica, Celto-Slavica and Celto-Indica Studies

Displaced Poets: Migrant Writing from the Margins in a Scottish Gaelic Context – 1780–1930 and beyond (RCUK-funded project).

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).

Further enquiries

Contact: Professor Jan Jedrzejewski
Acting Director, Irish and Celtic Studies Research Institute
Tel: +44 (0)28 7012 4553

Research areas

Research facilities and groups

Resources in Irish and Celtic Studies

Research students in Irish and Celtic studies are allocated dedicated space to carry out their research and they have access to computers, library carrels, and the Language Resource Centre. The University and Institute have materials on first and second language acquisition and learning; data banks on errors and error analysis; Modern Irish lexicographical data; a collection of Irish manuscripts of 18th and 19th century texts relating to south-east Ulster; the Enrí Ó Muirgheasa library collection containing important works from the period 1880-1940. The University also collaborates with a number of other Universities on minority language research, corpus linguistics and other projects.

Internet Resources

This guide contains pointers to Internet resources of interest to students and staff in Irish Studies at Ulster. It is not a comprehensive list but is intended to help you begin exploring the Internet: General Irish and Celtic Studies Sites, Irish and Scottish Place-names, Language, Newspapers and Magazines, Dictionaries and Encyclopaedias, Media, Literature, Electronic Journals (mainly table of contents only), Celtic Culture, Electronic Databases, Music, Discussion Lists, Booksellers and Publishers, Institutions specialising in Irish, Gaelic and Celtic Studies.

Princess Grace Irish Library (PGIL)

EIRData 2000 is an extensive set of electronic literary text files dealing with Irish literary authors and their works in all periods, and is a tribute to Irish achievements in literature as well as testament to the Princess Grace’s attachment to her Irish roots. The project is conducted by the University under the aegis of the Princess Grace Foundation (Monaco) with funding dedicated for the purpose by the Ireland Fund Princess Grace Memorial Library in Monaco. PGIL EIRData is an ambitious Internet project in Irish studies comprising an extensive set of digital records dealing with Irish literary authors and their works in all periods. It is the most comprehensive reference source of its kind in any medium, thus providing a robust and uniquely flexible platform for future advances in Irish cultural informatics.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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