Here in the Aberystwyth University Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies we are a close-knit and outward-looking community.
Our research work pushes the boundaries of our subjects, and our students have awarded us 100% for general satisfaction in the yearly National Survey several years on the trot.
We keep a warm welcome in the Department for all those who wish to study Welsh or the other Celtic languages, whether as beginners or confident, fluent speakers. You can be certain of our wholehearted support.
From our location on the University campus, we can see Aberystwyth town stretching down towards the sea, and students from all over Wales and the world are captivated by the stunning view.
This area is one of the strongholds of the Welsh language and is rich in history. It provides an environment where yesterday, today and tomorrow come together. This combination is what creates the background and special dynamic for our academic and social lives, and is what makes the Department, and Aberystwyth, an ideal place to study some of Europe's oldest languages.
Research and Teaching
By means of our varied courses, we prepare our students for a wider range of jobs than ever before, and we play an important role in the campaign to secure a million Welsh-speakers by 2050. We are also innovators with our research which is world-leading and spans the centuries.
To find out more about our Department, our research and our degree schemes, come and visit us on one of our Open Days and discover for yourselves why Aberystwyth University is such a special place to study!
Dr Cathryn A. Charnell-White
Head of Department
Click on the tabs below to find out more.
The Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth University is the oldest of its kind in the world. It has been teaching and inspiring generations of students since 1875.
This Department was home to scholarly and literary lecturers such as T. Gwynn Jones, T. H. Parry Williams, Gwenallt, Marged Haycock and Mihangel Morgan, and this Department is leading the sector with innovative courses in Language and Literature, Creative Writing, Professional Welsh, Translation Studies and Celtic Studies.
Welsh and the Celtic languages
A unique department
From the very start, the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth has been home to a lively community of students and staff who share the aim of promoting the enjoyment and wider understanding of Welsh and the Celtic languages, along with their history, literature and place in the modern, international world.
In terms of the Celtic languages, this Department's provision is the broadest in the world. Students can choose pathways in Welsh and Irish tailored to all abilities, and it is also possible to study Scottish Gaelic and Breton as well as an introduction to Manx and Cornish and to the ancient Celtic languages of the Continent.
Links with other universities and bodies
We collaborate with scholars in universities in Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, England, Italy, Denmark, the USA, Russia, not to mention Wales, and with writers on every continent.
Our Neighbour: The National Library
For everybody who takes an interest in language and literature, there is a treasure trove located just a stone's throw away from the Department in the shape of the National Library. It is home to unique manuscripts such as the Black Book of Carmarthen and the White Book of Rhydderch, important Irish and Cornish manuscripts and archives, as well as the Screen and Sound Archive.
In addition to this, the Department is part of a wide creative community due to its strong links with publishers, translation companies, local and national literary institutes such as the Books Council of Wales, Welsh Government, the Urdd and Literature Wales. The creative collaboration extends all over the world, through Europe to South America and India.
In addition, there are exciting opportunities available through our exchange schemes with universities in Europe. It is also possible to arrange to visit universities in other parts of the world.
Welsh and Celtic Languages - Where can I go?
We also have links with other bodies such as the Office of the Welsh Language Commissioner, Welsh Government, the Welsh Parliament, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru (the association of Welsh translators and interpreters), the National Eisteddfod and Gorsedd of the Bards.
All the academic staff in the Department are scholars, active researchers and specialists in their chosen subjects. Our work is renowned across Wales and beyond, whether it is work that examines the origins and development of Welsh and the Celtic languages, or the publishing of poetry and literature, editing, interpreting, analysing and translating.
Here are a few examples of prizes that we have won for our work:
- the Syr Ellis Griffith prize (University of Wales)
- the Dillwyn Medal in the Humanities and Creative Arts (The Learned Society of Wales)
- the Zeuss Prize of the Societas Celtologica Europaea
- the Joshua A. Fishman Prize
- the Chair at the National Eisteddfod
- the Crown at the National Eisteddfod
- Book of the Year
- the Prose Prize at the National Eisteddfod
- the Tir na n-Óg Prize
- the Burgen Scholarship of the Academia Europaea
- the Saunders Lewis Remembrance Scholarship
- the Emyr Humphreys / PEN Cymru Prize.
Our staff have links with publishing houses and creative bodies and organisations across the country and abroad. By clicking on the staff names below, you will see the variety of the research interests which span the last thousand years and more and which offer a forward glance at tomorrow's technology. As well as Wales, our research, whether the work of individuals or the result of collaborative research, reaches countries as diverse as India, Russia, Ireland, the USA, Chile, Denmark, Brittany, France, Italy and Germany.
Meet the staff
What was the relationship of Wales's female poets before 1800 with the professional bardic tradition in Wales, and how are their poems different from the poems of their male contemporaries? Did the Welsh female poets write about similar themes to their female peers in Ireland, Scotland, England and the countries of Europe? Cathryn's contribution to our teaching programme encompasses authors of 1500-1800, female poetry, LGBT+ voices, contemporary fiction by women, and historical literature about the weather and the climate. She has edited both historical and contemporary literary texts and she draws on her experience in the publishing sector to teach the innovative vocational module, 'The Editor and the Publishing Industry in Wales'.
Robin Chapman - Literary criticism and practice
How does one say something truly original about a poem or short story or novel that has been discussed hundreds of times before? The purpose of literary criticism is to continuously follow a new lead. One way of doing this is to look at readers' responses to a piece of writing across time. Why is an author's work sometimes fashionable and at other times unfashionable, for example? Or what about authors' favourite words? It is also possible to consider structure as well. Is there a pattern when we think about the characters and places that appear in the chapters of a novel? Then there are the historical circumstances. What was happening in Wales, Britain - and across the rest of the world - a the time that a particular literary work was written or published? The questions are never ending, as are the answers.
Mererid Hopwood - Welsh and Multilingualism
Mererid is interested in Welsh as a creative medium and has used it to create works of all kinds - from strict-metre poems to children's cartoons, from opera libretti to adaptations of literary works across a range of genres and from several languages. Placing Welsh in a multilingual context, as is true for any language, highlights the differences between languages and how various groups of speakers react to them, and the meeting of languages in the bilingual and multilingual mind offers infinite creative possibilities. Have you ever considered why the sun smiles in Welsh but not in English ... and what about the difference between 'I have' and 'mae gen i' ...?
Bleddyn Owen Huws - the genres of alliterative poetry (y cywydd)
Although the Poets of the Aristocracy wrote about familiar and conventional subjects, especially the eulogies and elegies, they were also able to write some poetry that was varied and different. Some of the more interesting ones include asking and thanking poems where there are imaginative and skillful descriptions of various objects that are presented as gifts. Although there is an obvious aesthetic worth to poems of this type, they also tell us a lot about the social background to the writing. Did you know that we also have poems that discuss all manner of physical indispositions? The healing poems give us an opportunity to consider the practical role of the spoken word and the craft of the poet, and allows us to learn more about people's attitudes to health, illness and old age in the Late Middle Ages.
Rhianedd Jewell - Translation Studies
Translation is considered by some to be a mechanical process of changing text from one language to another. But did you know that translation teaches us a lot about authors' language and ideas, about the texts that are being translated, about the differences between languages and cultures and about the rights of people who use simultaneous translation services across Wales and beyond? Dr Rhianedd Jewell's research examines the translation of European drama and the effects of simultaneous translation on court cases in Wales.
Mandi Morse - Professional Translation Studies
Due to the political landscape, the translation industry in Wales has seen a huge growth in recent years. The path to a career in professional translation is within your grasp. During this postgraduate course you will receive thorough training in all aspects of translation. Did you know that some words cannot be translated? By drawing on her professional experience, Mandi Morse explores this and how best to convey meaning from one language to another.
Peadar O Muircheartaigh
Simon Rodway - In the Beginning ... (Yn y Dechreuad ...)
Did you know that we don't know how or when the Celtic languages came to Britain and Ireland, nor when Culhwch ac Olwen was written, nor in which language the manuscripts of the Land of the Picts are written? Dr Simon Rodway is a specialist on the Celtic histories and languages, and on the Welsh and Irish literatures of the Middle Ages, and his research leads us on the trail of the answers to some of these questions, a trail which offers all sorts of rest stops and fascinating observations on the way.
Eurig Salisbury – Creative Writing (across the ages)
As a poet, Eurig often receives requests from people throughout Wales and the world to write new poems for all sorts of events, from radio or television programmes to a christening or birthday. But did you know that this is an old tradition in Wales? As well as writing poetry, Eurig also carries out research into the work of the poets of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period - more recently the work of Huw Morys (1622-1709) - and he loves bringing these public, useful and 'functional' poems to people's attention.
As a Department, we deliver engaging courses that develop the critical thinking skills of our students. We inspire our students to make the best of their abilities through a combination of traditional and innovative teaching.
Find out more about our Teaching and Learning
The academic staff in our department are experienced teachers and prominent researchers, and it is this research that forms the basis of the courses that we offer. Thanks to the breadth of the research interests of our staff - see Staff Profiles - we are able to offer a complete learning experience to our students.
Whether you are interested in language, literature or culture, you can choose from a wide variety of modules that will appeal to your particular interests. We have subjects to suit all tastes:
- the development of the Celtic languages
- language and literature in Irish and Scottish Gaelic
- the literature of the Middle Ages
- the literature of the Renaissance
- Welsh in the professional workplace
- translation studies
- contemporary poetry and prose
- literary criticism
- creative writing
- women's writing.
Joint honours degrees
As well as offering single honours degrees, we also offer joint degrees. Joint degrees give students an opportunity to study both in our Department and in one of the University's other departments.
Studying and work experience
Several of our courses offer practical experience of working through the medium of Welsh in the workplace: from the journalists' office to the county council chamber, and from the literary to the political world. You can get a feel for the work of Welsh Services, editing, translating, administration work, journalism, broadcasting and publishing. We have links with all kinds of bilingual institutions in Aberystwyth and further afield.
If spending some time studying abroad appeals to you, take a look at the list of places that you could visit as a student in the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies. You can choose to study in universities in Ireland, Brittany, and in other places in Europe that have excellent Celtic Studies Departments, such as Marburg in Germany and Utrecht in the Netherlands.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime for you to study and gain experience in another country, whether for a year, a semester, or a few weeks in the holiday.
Studying at one of our partner universities can offer you a new perspective on your subject and the opportunity to deepen and supplement your studies at Aberystwyth. Time spent exploring a new culture can also sharpen your interpersonal skills, improve your language ability, and broaden your international mindset.
Take a look at the document below for more details about the experience of studying abroad:
A degree scheme that will broaden your horizons by offering you opportunities to learn more about:
You will be joining a community where Welsh is an integral part of the social fabric and you will have an opportunity to live and study in a town that is one of the strongholds of the Welsh language.
A degree in Welsh will prove that you are able to express yourself effectively and purposefully in Welsh, both in writing and speech. This will prepare you for a wide range of jobs. Graduates of this degree have followed a career in areas as diverse as the publishing industry, tourism, trade, law, teaching, and administration. The list is infinite!
This degree scheme is suitable for students who speak Welsh as a first or second language - see Cymraeg Q560 (second language pathway).
The second language pathway allows you to gain confidence and to improve your spoken and written Welsh skills gradually over the course of the degree.
You will graduate with the same degree as first language students and there will be specific support available to you beyond the formal teaching time, by means of:
- second language office hours
- a mentoring scheme
- a weekly second language cuppa
- additional online materials.
By choosing this degree at ABerystwyth, you will be joining a community where Welsh is an integral part of the social fabric and you will have an opportunity to live and study in a town that is one of the strongholds of the Welsh language.
This is a four-year degree and as well as developing your fluency and confidence in Welsh - in writing and speech - it will offer you opportunities to learn about:
Cymraeg Proffesiynol Q5PO
This is an innovative degree that introduces you to a variety of degrees available to graduates who have studied Welsh and developed relevant and worthwhile transferable skills.
You will have the opportunity to:
- learn skills such as presenting, marketing, editing, translating and professional writing
- undertake a work placement in a bilingual work setting, to gain practical experience and establish worthwhile contacts
- learn from professional employers and workers who work with Welsh in a range of areas
- choose from amongst the Department's literature, language and creative modules.
Ysgrifennu Creadigol a’r Diwydiant Cyhoeddi W840
(Creative Writing and the Publishing Industry)
This is an exciting course which allows you to develop your creative skills and to get to know the broad world of the creative industry in Wales and beyond.
You will have opportunities to:
- try your hand at a wide variety of different creative forms, from poetry to prose, to drama and scripting
- specialise in the creative form of your choice
- receive training from lecturers who are also internationally renowned poets and authors
- understand the nature of the publishing industry which offers a variety of career paths, not only as published authors, but as professional individuals working to promote and foster literature.
This is an opportunity for you to study Welsh alongside one or more of the other Celtic languages (eg Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Breton).
You can choose from a wide range of language and literature modules, and you will have an opportunity to spend a year abroad in Ireland or Brittany. You don't have to speak any of these languages at the start of the course.
This course is taught through the medium of Welsh from the start. Celtic Studies Q500 is the course for those who have no prior knowledge of any Celtic language.
This degree scheme gives students the opportunity to study all the living Celtic languages (Welsh, Irish, Breton and Scottish Gaelic) and their literatures, medieval and modern.
You will be able to improve your conversational and written skills in the modern languages, and read texts in the medieval and early modern languages, as well as learn about the languages and cultures of the ancient Celts, and how they helped to shape modern Europe. There will be an opportunity to spend a semester abroad in one of our partner institutions in Ireland, Brittany or elsewhere in Europe. The course is designed to be accessible to those who have no prior knowledge of any Celtic language.
Once you finish your BA degree, you may want to stay on in Aberystwyth University to study for a higher degree, or join us for the first time if you completed your undergraduate degree elsewhere. We offer several MA courses that cover professional translation studies, Welsh and Celtic Studies, as well as PhD degrees, and MPhil (a Masters degree based on research). These degrees give you an opportunity to follow all manner of research areas, from the Middle Ages and earlier to the present time, from more traditional analysis studies to presenting a portfolio of your own creative writing.
Astudiaethau Cyfieithu Proffesiynol Q596
(Professional Translation Studies)
A unique and innovative course which will prepare you thoroughly for a career in the world of translation.
- There are several possible pathways at postgraduate level: PGCert, PGDip, MA or module by module.
- The course offers you experience in the workplace which imitates the real work conditions of a professional translator.
- Practical workshops led by translation specialists are provided.
- There will be an opportunity for you to experience all aspects of translation, such as written translation, simultaneous translation and subtitling.
- Editing and post-editing training is provided.
- There is an opportunity for you to specialise, eg in the area of general translation, legislative translation, literary translation or simultaneous translation.
This is a Masters taught degree that offers a range of language and literature modules (the majority through the medium of English), including Modern Welsh, Middle Welsh, Modern Irish, Old Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Students will write a dissertation on a subject of their choice and under the supervision of a specialist in that field.
The Department is proud of its research and welcomes postgraduate research students, whether from the Department in Aberystwyth or from elsewhere.
The MPhil pathway is a one-year research degree. You will write an essay of 60,000 words on any subject in the area of Welsh Language and Literature or Celtic Studies, under the supervision of a specialist in your chosen subject. The PhD is a three-year research degree and leads to a doctorate. You will write an essay of 80,000-100,000 on any subject in the area of Welsh Language and Literature or Celtic Studies, under the supervision of a specialist in your chosen subject.
We would be very pleased to respond to enquiries from students who are interested in these degree pathways. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Possible sponsorship sources
Read about the prizes that are specific to the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies:
To learn more about the University's scholarships and bursaries more generally, take a look at the various scholarships, bursaries and departmental awards that can provide extra help for you during your undergraduate studies: Scholarships: Extra help at university or the Postgraduate Scholarships that are available.
Also available are:
- occasional postgraduate scholarships for Astudiaethau Cyfieithu Proffesiynol.