About the Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies

Welsh Scholarship

The department of Welsh and Celtic Studies is one of great eminence. From its foundation more than a century ago it has made an immense contribution to Welsh scholarship, literature and culture. Indeed, many scholarly studies in Celtic in several countries are based on work carried out at Bangor.

Single or Joint Honours

Not only does the department of Welsh and Celtic Studies offer single and joint honours degrees for undergraduates but also the chance to study a degree in Welsh as a second language.

High Quality Education

Bangor University has a reputation for high quality education and a number of the department’s students decide to stay on for a postgraduate course.


Many of our graduates have made their mark as lecturers, authors and poets after receiving an excellent start at the department of Welsh.

Traditions of the department

It wouldn’t be possible to study Welsh at all as a modern academic subject if it weren’t for the School of Welsh at Bangor, and two former members of staff, Ifor Williams and John Morris-Jones.

John Morris-Jones, one of Wales' most important scholars and a renowned poet, was the first Professor in Welsh at Bangor, and one of his most famous students at the beginning of the twentieth century was Kate Roberts, the foremost novelist and short story writer commonly known as Brenhines ein Llên ('Queen of our Literature').

Ifor Williams, editor of Canu AneirinCanu TaliesinCanu Llywarch Hen and Pedair Keinc y Mabinogi, and Thomas Parry, editor of Gwaith Dafydd ap Gwilym, made a huge contribution to the study of Welsh, both language and literature. The same commitment in research and academic standards can be seen in more recent years in the contribution made by Dafydd Glyn Jones to the success of the most comprehensive English–Welsh dictionary ever, Geiriadur yr Academi.

The fact that creative writers such as R. Williams Parry and John Gwilym Jones are former members of staff, and that Jason Walford Davies, Jerry Hunter, Peredur Lynch, Angharad Price and Gerwyn Wiliams are among our present staff, is a reflection of our commitment to the Welsh language as a solid academic discipline and as a powerful creative medium. Davies and Wiliams have each won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod, and Hunter and Price have won the major prose prize for recent novels. Lynch, also, is a nationally prominent poet and critic, especially of strict-metre poetry.

Why Study with us?

Students reading and working together in one of the libraries traditional reading rooms, on the Main Arts campus

Why study with us? Rich in history and culture

A degree in Welsh gives you the opportunity to study one of Europe's oldest languages and a literature that dates back to the sixth century. You will have the opportunity to learn more about Wales' rich poetic tradition and some of the most outstanding features of our prose tradition.

John Morris-Jones was the first Professor of Welsh at Bangor, one of our most important scholars and also a successful poet. One of his most famous students in the early twentieth century was Kate Roberts, an author who became known as the Queen of Welsh Literature.

A couple of students in their cap and gowns outside the Main Arts building

Why study with us? Follow in the footsteps of...

During your time at the department, you will have the opportunity to study the work of many other former students of the department, who include some of the most prominent writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

  • Islwyn Ffowc Elis, author of Cysgod y Cryman, a novel named Welsh Book of the Century in 1999
  • Eigra Lewis Roberts, a prolific author who has twice won the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal and who also won the Crown at the Swansea National Eisteddfod in 2006
  • Angharad Tomos, author of astounding novels such as Yma o Hyd and Si Hei Lwli and the winner of two National Eisteddfod Prose Medals
  • Sonia Edwards, the Anglesey writer who won the National Eisteddfod Prose Medal in 1999
  • R. Williams Parry, one of the greatest Welsh language poets of all time
  • Gwyn Thomas, National Poet of Wales and one of the most prolific and influential poets of the second half of the twentieth century.
Image of Alumni Reunion at the National Eisteddfod

Why study with us Follow in the footsteps of...

  • Alan Llwyd, winner of the Chair and Crown poetry competitions at both the 1973 and 1976 National Eisteddfodau, and author of the Oscar nominated Hedd Wyn film script  
  • Nesta Wyn Jones, a delicately lyrical poet who has published four collections of poetry
  • Einir Jones, a poet of dazzling imagery who won the Crown at the Mold National Eisteddfod in 1991
  • Tudur Dylan Jones, one of the leading lights of the current wave of  poets writing in cynghanedd and strict metre and winner of the Chair at the 1995 and 2005 National Eisteddfodau 
  • John Gwilym Jones, playwright, novelist, short story writer and influential literary critic
  • William R. Lewis, an Anglesey playwright who has been twice commissioned to write works for the National Eisteddfod
  • Dewi Wyn Williams, a successful playwright and author of the stage play Leni and a number of works for television
  • Aled Jones Williams, the playwright and fiction writer who won the Crown at the Pembrokeshire National Eisteddfod in 2002
REF 2021 Case Study - Creative Writing, Translation and Cross-Cultural Understanding: Placing Wales in the World. 

Why study with us? Academic discpline

The fact that creative writers such as R. Williams Parry, John Gwilym Jones and Gwyn Thomas are former members of staff and Angharad Price, Jason Walford Davies, William R. Lewis and Gerwyn Wiliams are currently lecturers here is a clear indication of the department's commitment to the Welsh language as both a rigorous academic discipline and a living creative medium.

Student Support video

Why study with us? Student Support

As a department we place great emphasis on looking after the best interests of our students. You will be allocated a Personal Tutor who will be available to assist you both with matters relating to your academic progress and your personal welfare. In addition, to make it easier for you to settle in during your first semester, all freshers are allocated a Peer Guide.

This second or third year student will be able to give you practical advice on issues relating to student life.

Student laughing

Why study with us? Student Life

Another reason for studying at Bangor is the high quality of life of our students. We guarantee accommodation in halls of residence for all our first year students. The most famous hall for Welsh-speaking students is Neuadd John Morris-Jones, home to generations of Welsh-speaking students in Bangor over many years.

The city and wider area offer a wide range of social and cultural activities. In addition, as Bangor is located on the banks of the Menai Straits and at the foot of the mountains of Snowdonia, this is one of the most beautiful university locations you will find anywhere.

Mature Students

Some of our best students in the past few years have been mature students. As the term “Mature Students” refers to anyone over the age of 21, the category is a very ample one.

You could have left school after your GCSEs or A Levels and followed a different path but now wish to come back into higher education in your twenties. Or you could be in your thirties or forties and want a change in career. Or you could also be in your fifties or retired and want to follow your dream of studying a degree in Welsh.

No matter how unconventional your background is in your opinion, how many formal education qualifications you have or how long it’s been since you were in an educational environment, we want to hear from you.

If you are interested in studying at the School of Welsh as a mature student, the best thing for you to do is contact us before you make a formal application, so that we can discuss the different options. If we then accept your formal application, you will probably be invited to attend an interview to discuss further. As long as you can convince us in the interview that you will be able to cope with the work load, we will be happy to offer you a place.

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