Master of Philosophy in Celtic Studies

The regulations made by the Board of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages are as follows:

  • 1. All candidates shall be required at the time of admission to satisfy the Board of Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (if necessary, by written test) that they possess the appropriate qualifications for the proposed course, including suitable proficiency in relevant languages. Normally the course will be restricted to candidates who have taken a first degree in a relevant subject area.1

  • 2. All candidates shall be required

    • (a) To offer themselves for written examination as defined in section 5 below.

    • (b) To present themselves for viva voce examination at the time appointed by the examiners.

  • 3. The subjects and papers of the examination shall be as follows:

    • (a) Historical and comparative Celtic linguistics.

    • (b) Irish literature up to the Cromwellian wars. Candidates will be expected to offer nine texts in all, three from each of the three periods, Old Irish, Middle Irish, and Early Modern Irish. The following are the prescribed texts:

      Old Irish:

      Scéla mucce Meic Dathó, ed. R. Thurneysen (Dublin, 1951).

      Togail bruidne Dá Derga, ed. E. Knott (Dublin, 1936).

      Longes mac n-Uislenn, ed. V. Hull (New York, 1949).

      Scéla Cano meic Gartnáin, ed. D. A. Binchy (Dublin, 1963).

      Fingal Rónáin and Other Stories, ed. D. Greene (Dublin, 1955).

      Táin Bó Fraích, ed. W. Meid, rev. edn. (Dublin, 1974).

      Selected passages from Táin Bó Cúailnge, Recension I, ed. C. O’Rahilly (Dublin, 1976).

      Middle Irish:

      Stories from the Acallam, ed. M. Dillon (Dublin, 1970).

      Aislinge meic Conglinne, ed. K. H. Jackson (Dublin, 1990).

      Caithreim Cellaig, ed. K. Mulchrone (Dublin, 1933).

      Cath Almaine, ed. P. Ó Riain (Dublin, 1978).

      The Irish Adam and Eve Story from Saltair na Rann, ed. D. Greene and F. Kelly (Dublin, 1976).

      Buile Shuibne, ed. J. G. O’Keeffe (Dublin, 1931).

      Selected passages from Táin Bó Cúalnge from the Book of Leinster, ed. C. O’Rahilly (Dublin, 1967).

      Early Modern Irish:

      An introduction to Irish syllabic poetry of the period 1200-1600, ed. E. Knott (2nd edn., Dublin, 1957).

      Tóruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghráinne, ed. Nessa Ni Shéaghdha (Dublin, 1967).

      The Bardic poems of Tadhg Dall O Huiginn, ed. E. Knott (2 vols., London, 1922-6).

      Sgéalaigheacht Chéitinn, ed. O. Bergin, 3rd edn. (Dublin, 1930).

      Cath Muighe Tuireadh, ed. B. Ó Cuív (Dublin, 1945).

      Nua-Dhuanaire, vol. 1, ed. P. de Brún, B. Ó Buachalla and Tomás Ó Concheanainn (Dublin, 1975).

      Dánta Gradha, ed. T. F. O’Rahilly, 2nd edn. (Cork, 1926).

      Scottish Poetry from the Book of the Dean of Lismore, ed. W. J. Watson (Edinburgh, 1937).

    • (c) Welsh literature up to the Reformation. Candidates will be expected to offer nine texts in all, three from each of three periods, Old, Middle and Early Modern Welsh. The following are prescribed texts:

      Old Welsh:

      Canu Taliesin, ed. I. Williams (Cardiff, 1960).

      Canu Aneirin, ed. I. Williams (Cardiff, 1938).

      Canu Llywarch Hen, ed. I. Williams (Cardiff, 1953).

      Armes Prydein, ed. I. Williams, Engl. version by R. Bromwich (Dublin, 1972).

      M. Haycock, Blodeugerdd Barddas o Ganu Crefyddol Cynnar (Y Bala, 1994), Nos. 1-8, 13-14, 16, 18, 21, 30.

      Middle Welsh:

      Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi, ed. I. Williams (Cardiff, 1951).

      Culhwch and Olwen, ed. R. Bromwich and D. Simon Evans (Cardiff, 1992).

      Welsh Court Poems, ed. Rhian Andrews (Cardiff: University Wales Press, 2007).

      Historia Peredur vab Efrawc (from Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch: Y Chwedlau a’r Rhamantau, ed. J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Cardiff, 1973).

      Brut y Brenhinedd, ed. B. F. Roberts (Dublin, 1971).

      The following shorter tales: Breudwyt Ronabwy, ed. M.Richards (Cardiff, 1948), Breudwyt Maxen Wledic, ed. B. F. Roberts (Dublin, 2005), Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys, ed. B. F. Roberts (Dublin, 1975).

      Early Modern Welsh:

      Cerddi Dafydd ap Gwilym, ed. D. Johnston et al. (Cardiff, 2010).

      Poems of the Cywyddwyr, ed. E. I. Rowlands (Dublin, 1976).

      Rhagymadroddion 1547-1659, ed. Garfield H. Hughes (Cardiff, 1951).

      A Welsh Bestiary of Love, ed. G. C. G. Thomas (Dublin, 1988).

      Gwaith Tudur Aled, ed. T. Gwynn Jones (Cardiff, 1926).

      Gwaith Guto’r Glyn, ed. I. Williams and J. Ll. Williams (Cardiff, 1939).

      T. Parry, Detholion o Destament Newydd 1567 (Cardiff, 1967).

      Llyvyr Iob: Cyvieithad Dr. Morgan 1588, ed. J. Gwenogvryn Evans (Oxford, 1888).

    • (d) Special Subjects

      For the special subjects, each candidate may, with the agreement of his/her supervisor, submit an extended essay not exceeding 8,000 words in lieu of a three-hour examination.

      • (1) The archaeology of Celtic Society in pre-Christian Europe.

      • (2) The Latin Literature of the British Isles.

      • (3) The records of Continental Celtic.

      • (4) Irish and Welsh origin legends.

      • (5) The Celtic context of Old and Middle English literature.

      • (6) The history of Ireland up to 1216.

      • (7) The history of Scotland up to 1153.

      • (8) The history of Wales either from c .550 to 1063 or from 1063 to 1415.

      • (9) The history of the Celtic peoples from c.400 to c.900.

      • (10) The Normans and the Celtic peoples 1066-1216.

      • (11) Early Irish Law.

      • (12) Medieval Welsh Law.

      • (13) The Ulster Cycle of tales.

      • (14) The Classical Irish bardic tradition.

      • (15) Echtrai and immrama.

      • (16) The medieval Welsh Arthurian romances.

      • (17) Middle Cornish language and literature.

      • (18) Middle Breton language and literature.

      • (19) Twentieth-Century Scottish Gaelic literature.

      • (20) Literature of the modern revival in Irish.

      • (21) The Welsh literary renaissance of the twentieth century.

      • (22) Language and society in modern Scotland.

      • (23) The palaeography of medieval Celtic vernacular manuscripts (candidates may restrict themselves either to Irish or to Welsh manuscripts).

      • (24) The comparative syntax of modern Celtic languages.

      • (25) The Celtic inscriptions of the British Isles before 800.

      • (26) The poetry of Cynddelw.

    • The Special Subjects listed above are not prescriptive: candidates are allowed to offer a Special Subject or Special Subjects of their own devising, provided that these are similar in character and scope to those listed and that they are approved under the arrangements set out in section 6 below.

    • (e) A thesis of approximately 20,000 words and not more than 25,000 words on a subject approved by the board or by a person or persons to whom the board may delegate this function. When seeking approval for the subject of the thesis, every candidate shall submit with the proposed title a written statement of not more than 500 words explaining the scope of the topic and the manner in which it is proposed to treat it.

  • 4. Candidates shall be required to offer three papers and a thesis, as follows:

    • (a) Either

      • (i) Two papers, one on each of two subjects selected from those described in section 3 (a), (b), and (c) above.

      • (ii) One paper on a Special Subject as described in Section 3 (d) above.

      • Or
      • (i) One paper on a subject selected from those described in section 3 (a), (b), and (c) above.

      • (ii) Two papers, one on each of two Special Subjects as described in section 3 (d) above.

    • (b ) A thesis as described in section 3 (e) above.

  • 5. Candidates shall seek approval (by application to the Modern Languages Graduate Office, 41 Wellington Square, Oxford) for the proposed subject of their thesis by the end of the fourth week of the second term after that in which their names have been placed on the register of M.Phil. Students, i.e. normally by the end of the fourth week of Trinity Term in their first year.

    The thesis (two copies ) must be typewritten and must be delivered to the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, not later than Friday of the first week of the Trinity Full Term in which the examination is to be taken.2

    Successful candidates will be required to deposit one copy of their thesis in the Bodleian Library.3

  • 6. Each candidate's choice of papers shall be subject to the approval of the Board of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages or of a person or persons to whom the board may delegate the function of giving such approval. Approval shall be given only if the choice of papers proposed, and any titles of Special Subjects of the candidate's own devising, have the written support of the candidate's supervisor. Approval of the choice of papers proposed will be dependent on the availability of teaching and examining resources at the relevant times. Candidates shall seek approval (by application to the Modern Languages Graduate Office, 41 Wellington Square, Oxford) by the end of the first term after that in which their names have been placed on the register of M.Phil. students, i.e. normally by the end of Hilary Term in their first year.

    A proposal for a Special Subject or Special Subjects of the candidate's own devising shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the candidate's view of the character and scope of the Special Subject or Special Subjects proposed.

  • 7. If it is the opinion of the examiners that the work done by a candidate while not of sufficient merit to qualify for the degree of M.Phil. is nevertheless of sufficient merit to qualify for the degree of Master of Studies in Celtic Studies, the candidate shall be given the option of resitting the M.Phil. examination under the appropriate regulation or of being granted permission to supplicate for the Degree of Master of Studies.

  • 8. The examiners may award a distinction for excellence in the whole examination.