Bachelor in Celtic Languages and Culture


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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 program, 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 program 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 program 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 program gives you a unique graduation profile.

Last updated August 2019

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