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Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time; 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Course Delivery MethodOnline
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Our MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture (Online), offered by the Department of Modern Irish at UCC, provides students with an in-depth introduction to a distinctive body of literature, giving expression to the many identities of the Gaelic world, and extending over 1200 years, from monastic to modern times.

This course will take you on a literary journey across place and time as we examine sources (manuscripts) and literary texts from the early Christian period to the modern era. This emphasis on place –  both local and international – informs the historicity of Gaelic literature studies.

We also create links over time between authors such as Colum Cille and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Gofraidh Fionn and Seán Ó Ríordáin. This allows us to consider Gaelic literature as an organic entity – redefining and reinventing itself as each historic challenge is encountered and overcome.

Course Delivery

The programme is delivered online through English (using texts in translation) by acknowledged experts in the fields of Gaelic language and literature: this coordinated, panoramic approach to the study of Gaelic literature will address and develop the various themes and influences that feed into and inform this literature, including mythology, spiritualism, historic events, landscape, and diasporic studies.

A highlight of our cross-module approach to course content and delivery is the exposure of the student to the primary sources for Gaelic literature, especially manuscript sources in Ireland and abroad. The treatment of the development of Gaelic Ireland as an international entity, and the panoramic approach to the study of Gaelic literature over time are innovative features of this programme.

Programme Modules

This is an online programme running for 12 months (full-time), or for 24 months (part-time), from the date of first registration for the programme.

In Part I students take 60 credits consisting of core and elective modules and in Part II students complete a Research Dissertation worth 30 credits. Our modules cover all aspects of Gaelic literature from the first appearance of poetry in the margins of Latin manuscripts in the ninth century, to an exploration of the sense of place in the work of Irish authors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. 

Lectures will be recorded, and both they and ancillary lecture material (notes, slides, bibliographies etc.) will be made available via Canvas, the online teaching platform used by University College Cork. 

Part-time option: Students taking the part-time option complete 60 credits of taught core modules in Year 1. In Year 2 they complete the 30 credit dissertation module.

Part I 

Core Modules

  • GA6012 The Social and Cultural History of the Irish Language, 1200-2000 (10 Credits)
  • GA6013 The Transmission and Interpretation of Gaelic Literature (10 Credits) 

Elective Module

  • GA6010 Beginners Irish Language (10 Credits)
  • GA6014 The Phases of Gaelic literature (10 Credits)
  • GA6016 Placenames and Sense of Place in Gaelic Literature (10 Credits)
  • GA6032 Women’s Poetry in Gaelic Society (10 credits)
  • GA6033 Fionn Mac Cumhaill in Gaelic Tradition (10 credits)
  • GA6040 Literature in Translation (10 Credits)
  • GA6042 Modern Poetry in Gaelic (10 Credits)

Part II

  • GA6019 Dissertation in Gaelic Literature (30 credits)

Postgraduate Diploma in Gaelic Literature and Culture
Students who have completed and passed modules to the value of at least 60 credits in Part I and who fail or do not wish to proceed to Part II may exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Gaelic Literature

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

A series of short introductory lectures will outline a roadmap of the objectives and content of the programme, including information on what will be expected of students and on how the course is to be run. Students must have constant access to internet-delivering technology in order to attend this course.

The programme will be conducted over 12 months and will incorporate the delivery of online reading material and reading lists, and online discussion topics and reaction pieces, to be addressed individually and also collectively in online discussion groups. Weekly pre-recorded lectures will be delivered, and real-time meetings will be convened at intervals to be determined by the class and teachers. The dissertation topic will be chosen by the student in consultation with either the course coordinator or the individual lecturer or both.

As registered students of University College Cork, students of this programme will have access to all Library facilities, databases etc., as well as student email accounts


  • Continuous assessment based on assignments such as discussion papers and reaction pieces. There will also be the possibility for group assignments based on the online forum described above, and making maximum use of existing online facilities such as Canvas.
  • End-of-module essays based on texts and text-critical material addressed in the course.
  • The submission of a 30-credit dissertation.

Connected Curriculum

We encourage innovative teaching and learning practices at UCC and this is embodied in the online delivery of this programme. Our accessible learning approach reflects our commitment to the Connected Curriculum where we emphasise the connection between students, learning, research and leadership through our vision for a Connected University. Our staff will support you in making meaningful connections across the breadth of the Gaelic literary tradition.

Who teaches this course

This course is taught by academics from the Department of Modern Irish and include:

No one else offers a programme like this online. UCC offering this programme has allowed me finally to pursue a decade-old dream and to make that dream a reality. It is a fantastic course, of which I am proud to be a part. (Falicia, Florida, USA)

Why Choose This Course

My hope is to use what I’ve learned at UCC to explore Irish mythology in children’s literature, much as I did Greek mythology in my Percy Jackson books...

Rick Riordan

Author, Graduate, MA Gaelic Literature

Read Rick's testimonial
I found this course to be truly excellent...

Frank, Graduate, Ireland

Read Frank's testimonial
The coursework is challenging and engaging; the lecturers are first-rate and responsive, & there is a fine collegial atmosphere among an international group of students of all ages & backgrounds...

Ellen, Graduate, USA

Read Ellen's testimonial

This is the only online course offering a comprehensive programme in Gaelic literature and Culture from early times to the present, delivered by recognised academic experts in the field. All the subjects dealt with in the different modules are placed in their historic context. For instance, the module on Women's Poetry in Gaelic Society references poetry and song through its historic phases in tandem with contemporary material.

Skills and Career Information

Upon successful completion of the MA in Gaelic Literature and Culture, a student may elect to pursue further study to doctoral level. If such study is to be undertaken at UCC, students may choose to spend time abroad as part of their programme. Students with this qualification will also be in a position to apply for scholarships to study for further degrees at overseas universities. See the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences for more information on a PhD in this area.

In addition, the MA in Gaelic literature is an ideal qualification for those wishing to pursue careers in sectors such as heritage, local history, broadcasting, and media.

I enjoy the course immensely and find it fascinating, stimulating, and hugely enjoyable. The discussion boards and online delivery work very well and I find the interaction with my fellow students hugely beneficial. (Barry, Student, MA Gaelic Literature, Leeds, UK)


Applications will be considered from graduates of all disciplines. Successful applicants will normally have a Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or the equivalent. 

Candidates who hold a Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), based on the information provided in a supplementary statement and/or interview acceptable to the Department selection committee. 

  • For North American students a cumulative GPA of 3.2 is normally expected.

Applicants must complete a short personal statement outlining their academic background and interests and reasons for applying to the programme.

Technical expertise

As most of this course will be delivered online, it is understood that students will have constant access to internet-delivering technology. Elementary computer literacy will be required of the students. Technical guidance and support provided by UCC will be available to the students at all times.

For people with reduced abilities, I would call this program very accessible. (Johanna, California)

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

  • Please add the names and addresses of two referees.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact