Bachelor in Celtic Languages and Culture


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Before the beginning of the Christian era, Celtic-speaking people populated an area covering almost all of Europe as we know it today and developed rich cultures. In the Middle Ages, these same people were living in countries and regions still inhabited by Celtic-speaking peoples to this very day - Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. Their culture is still giving rise to questions today in the 21st century. How do you pronounce Old Irish? Was King Arthur a real person? Which traces of the Celts are still evident in today's modern world? By studying Celtic Languages and Culture, you will learn how to find answers to all of these questions and also distinguish between myths and reality.

Literature and Culture

Gods, heroes and saints; typical rituals, age-old legends, and literary masterpieces: in this Bachelor's programme, you will study every aspect of Celtic culture and literature in great depth. Naturally, you will also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Celtic society, including its political history.

Ancient Languages

Here in Utrecht, you will study two Celtic languages: Middle Welsh and Old Irish. This will enable you to read Celtic sources, which is vital for anyone wanting to gain a good understanding of Celtic culture. If you have a flair for languages and aren't someone who gives up easily, this is the right degree programme for you, as the grammar of these languages is not always clear-cut. For example, Old Irish has up to 160 verb forms per verb. Sounds daunting, but if you love languages it’s paradise!

A Connection with Today's Modern World

Although you will frequently immerse yourself in history when studying Celtic languages and culture, that's not where your studies end. You will also study modern Welsh and Irish and compare these languages with English, for example, and identify exactly how they are different from each other. You will also establish which elements of Celtic culture feature in modern films and other types of media. For example, when they hear the word Celtic, many people automatically think of The Lord of the Rings, but is there really such a link?

Ancient Languages - Current Relevance

A hoard of gold from the first century before Christ found near Maastricht and a crane operator who finds a virtually intact medieval book in an Irish peat bog – only the letters have become a bit more difficult to read. These are just two examples of recent discoveries in relation to Celtic languages and cultures, a research field that spans more than 2,500 years and evidently is still very current.


You have a passion for Celtic languages and culture: you like to read about Celtic myths and sagas and you're very familiar with terms like a druid, warrior, and bard. You also have an affinity with Ireland, Wales, Scotland, or Brittany: all areas that still exude a Celtic feel to this very day. You are very aware of the important role that language plays in any culture, which is why you enjoy learning the special languages that the Celts spoke. Finally, you're not afraid to choose a degree programme based on your profound interest in the subject matter in question. You actually like the fact that the study of Celtic languages and culture is terra incognita for most people. This is because, in addition to good academic skills that open up various options for you, this degree programme gives you a unique graduation profile.

Career Prospects

Off the Beaten Path

After finishing a Bachelor’s programme, most students will continue their studies in a Master’s programme. A university degree does not train students for one particular profession. The Bachelor’s degree provides a student with many options in the job market. Graduates in Celtic Languages and Culture have gone on to work for publishers, as journalists at newspapers, in the insurance industry, and at banks. But your certificate can also be a stepping stone for a job with the Irish or Welsh tourism offices or another organisation that is affiliated with the Celtic-speaking countries. Much of this depends on your own interests and initiative.

Professional in the Spotlight

Graduate Lucinde Bongers is a consultant at a consultancy firm in the area of information and records management. Read her testimonial.

PhD Ancient. Medieval and Renaissance Studies

As a PhD candidate in Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies, you'll carry out research focusing on medieval Celtic studies under the supervision of a professor after your studies.

Your research will be your primary activity, but you will also supervise students and take advanced lessons.

You will conclude your doctoral research by writing and defending a doctoral thesis. This earns you a doctorate degree, abbreviated as Dr.

Library Manager

You are responsible for all information and knowledge provision: you collect and organise books, written materials, and other works so that these can easily be found by others. You also digitise printed works and gather new works. When visitors are looking for information on a specialised topic, you help them find the right sources.

Museum Staff Member

You work together with the board and the curator of the museum to facilitate exhibitions and the maintenance of the collection in the best possible way. You also help to set up new exhibitions and guided tours. In doing so, you use your knowledge and carry out research on the subject of the exhibition.

Arts Editor

With your passion for art, you work on finding, organizing, correcting, and processing all new information pertaining to art. You are responsible for the end product, whether this is an article, magazine, or book.

Last updated May 2020

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less