Celtic Culture

Program Snapshot

Give New Life To An Ancient Culture

Off the shores of Scotland, Ireland and England, Celtic culture thrives in Nova Scotia. And Cape Breton Island represents everything this province has to offer. Situated on an incredible landscape and coastline, Cape Breton is home to warm, friendly people with a tradition of hard work, respect and commitment to community.

Celtic culture courses aim to introduce you to recent and current Celtic cultures and expressions. The curriculum is informed by a close understanding of modern history and beliefs, giving Celtic culture at CBU a unique benefit, offering an alternative to more conventional Celtic studies programs that emphasize studies of early and medieval history, literature and mythology.

In addition to taking Scottish Gaelic language courses, students choose courses from at least three disciplinary areas such as traditional music and folklore, English literature, history and religious studies. We offer Celtic culture as a concentration in a three-year BA degree, or in a three-year BACS degree as a minor, or as a subject in a BA area major, pairing Celtic culture studies with other subjects, and career options or Celtic elective courses.

What skills will I gain from this program?

  • Understanding of the history and beliefs of Celtic culture.
  • Basic ability to read, write, speak and understand Scottish Gaelic.
  • Recognition of complex cultural dynamics and minority languages.
  • Critical research skills in archival, ethnographic and other fields.

Why study at CBU?

There are so many reasons why CBU is the right fit for Celtic culture studies. For example, Cape Breton is home to the only recognized Gaidhealtachd (living Gaelic community) outside of Scotland or Ireland. That makes our island – known as the “Celtic Heart of North America” – truly a special place to study and participate in a living Celtic community.

You can attend weekly music sessions at Governor’s Pub, take a language course or immersion weekend at Colaisde na Gàidhlig (the Gaelic College), meet contemporary authors contributing to Celtic literature at the Cabot Trail Writers’ Festival, hear traditional tales at the Isle of Story Festival, attend a Gaelic church service, or earn co-op credit working for the Celtic Colours International Festival.

CBU is also distinctive for its emphasis on contemporary and recent Celtic cultural expressions (such as music, folklore and literature), as well as modern Scottish, Irish and Canadian history. We offer unique Gaelic language courses and opportunities that can help build on your ever-expanding Celtic knowledge base.

Sample Courses

  • MUSI 2223: Introduction to Celtic Instrumental Music
  • HIST 3122: The Modern Scottish Highlands
  • ENGL 4401: Contemporary Irish Literature

Possible Career Paths

  • Museums and archives
  • Tourism
  • Arts and culture
  • Government
  • Most professional programs that require a Bachelor’s degree

Experiential Learning Opportunities

  • International exchange agreements with institutions in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • An archival internship working with Celtic materials at an institution such as the Beaton Institute or in a library or museum outside of CBU.
  • Performance course options for dancers, musicians and/or singers.

Faculty & Staff

View All Faculty & Staff