Department of Celtic Studies | Roinn na Ceiltis


"An t-ionnsachadh òg, an t-ionnsachadh bòidheach"

Listen here for a welcome in Gaelic from the late Dr. Ken Nilsen

What is "Celtic Studies"?

Celtic Studies is a broad field that has as its core the languages, literatures, and histories of Celtic-speaking peoples, from the ancient Continental Celts--including the Gauls of France, the Celtiberians of Spain and Portugal, the Lepontic people of Northern Italy, and the Galatians of Turkey--to the modern survivals in Scotland (and Nova Scotia), Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. The discipline of Celtic Studies extends into a wide range of topics and fields, including art, archaeology, classical and medieval studies, literature, linguistics, folklore, music, history, religion, immigration, and ethnic studies.

Scottish Gaelic is a member of the Celtic language family, and is most closely related to Irish and Manx Gaelic. Gaelic has the oldest vernacular literature in Western Europe and a long history of cultural and intellectual achievement. See more about the history of href="/celtic-studies/gaelic-scotland" target="_blank">Gaelic in Scotland >>

Gaelic was brought by immigrants from the Scottish Highlands to Nova Scotia from 1773 to the mid-1800s. In the late nineteenth century, it was the third most spoken European language in Canada. As Scottish Gaelic is an important element in the heritage of Canada and the Maritime Provinces, in particular north-eastern Nova Scotia where there has been a continued and unbroken presence of the language since settlement, it forms the focus of our Celtic curriculum. See more about the history of Gaelic in Canada >>

The Department of Celtic Studies - Roinn na Ceiltis
Located in Immaculata Hall


StFX is one of the few universities offering the study of Celtic languages and the literature and history of the Celts from about 800 BCE to the present. At the BA level, students may choose to major or minor in Celtic Studies. They may also choose to do an advanced major or honours degree. Celtic courses may also be chosen as electives by students wishing to broaden their horizons beyond "mainstream" fields. See our course offerings >>

We also offer a two-year (36-credit) MA degree in Celtic Studies. Students focus on either Gaelic language or on medieval Celtic Studies and write a substantial thesis (18 credits) on a topic related to one of these two fields. Information about this program can be found here.

Gaelic speakers feature prominently in the early history of St Francis Xavier University. Gaelic was first taught at St FX in 1891; Major C. I. N. MacLeod was hired to become the chair of the Department of Celtic Studies when it was established in 1958. Read more department history >>

Our faculty members are leading researchers in the history, language, culture, and literature of Gaelic communities in North America, Scotland, and Ireland. See details about faculty >>

We possess the largest and most important collection of Scottish Gaelic manuscripts, publications, and recordings in Canada, particularly in the substantial holdings of the Celtic Collection of the Angus L. Macdonald Library. See list of resources >>

Celtic Studies Students

Students in the Department of Celtic Studies are active in the life of the community on campus and beyond. Read more about student life >>

We are rightly proud of our students: they have become leading lights in the revival and development of Gaelic in both Scotland and Canada. Read more about Celtic Studies graduates >>

Our undergraduate and masters students produce research papers and dissertations as well as creative projects, such as audio and video recordings. Read more about student work >>