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Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies


Find out about the course options in Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies

Why Study Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies?

We offer a range of interrelated postgraduate programmes taught by experts. This allows our students to develop detailed knowledge and essential skills in the particular disciplines, while also being able to engage fully in the wider academic community. The interdisciplinary expertise provides study opportunities across a range of relevant fields and languages, and language training includes Modern and Middle Welsh at all levels.  

Staff at the School of Arts, Culture and Language include experts in Medieval and Early Modern English and French literature; Medieval Welsh literature and Celtic Studies; the languages and cultures of Germany, Italy, Iberia and China; and early musical culture. The School of History and Archaeology contributes expertise in Welsh, English and European history of relevant periods, as well as the prehistory of ‘Celtic’ Britain and Europe. 

The core modules of each individual MA course ensure you develop an in-depth understanding of your chosen field, but the exact focus of the course of study (especially in the case of the final dissertation) will depend upon your particular interests. Whether you choose to specialise in Welsh, Celtic, British or European medievalism, whether your interests lie in Welsh or Irish prose, poetry and historiography, or Arthurian studies, you can choose from a wide range of optional modules, all supported by the superb resources of Bangor University Library and Archives collections. 
We have close connections with many universities worldwide, especially in the USA and particularly with Welsh and Celtic Studies at Harvard University, with whom we have a PhD student exchange programme. We encourage our MA students to take advantage of many special opportunities to travel to conferences. 
We are a bilingual university: it is possible to study a large number of our modules through the medium of Welsh and English, and written work may be submitted in either language. A full range of language classes are available at all levels, and students are encouraged to make full use of the opportunities to engage with the richness of the area’s linguistic environment, where a majority of people have Welsh as their first language.

Career Opportunities in Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies

As well as being qualifications in their own right, these MA programmes provide an excellent foundation for further research at PhD level. Training in medieval palaeography and book history is one key skills area you can choose to develop, while  there are regular opportunities to volunteer in our Archives and Special Collections or work with staff on a variety of projects. Our students organise the interdisciplinary annual ‘Medievalism Transformed’ conference, now in its 17th year. 
The enhancement of knowledge and development of skills help strengthen your career prospects, preparing you for a wide variety of jobs inside or outside academia: e.g., as researcher, educator, journalist, arts/heritage officer, translator, or work in publishing, local government, etc.  

Student Experience

Our Postgraduate students talk about their experience of Bangor University so far and share advice on why you should consider studying About  Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies e at Bangor University.


I'm Luke Lambert, and I'm taking the MA course on medieval studies.

I enjoy studying medieval studies specifically for the interdisciplinary approach here at the university.

I think that the breadth of topics that we cover really helps give a secure grounding for the future.

First thing I'd say Bangor is a good place to study because it has a real close knit feeling.

I think for my classes, the most we have in our class is like ten people.

And so I would say that really helps with the attention of the professors, the immediacy of responses by them.

Overall, I would say that it helps to have that feeling of support that is hard to get in a modern institution and say,

I'm hoping to go on to a Ph.D. after this and then after that go into professorship and research for medieval studies.

Professor Raluca Radulescu talks about the MA in Arthurian Studies

Please introduce yourself.

Hi, I'm Raluca Radulescu, I'm a professor in medieval literature here at Bangor University and the Director of the Centre for Arthurian Studies, and of the Arthurian MA.

Tell us about the MA in Arthurian Studies

The MA in Arthurian studies has been running at Bangor University for over 20 years but also before that for nearly 40. It is a very international program that brings together expertise in Arthurian studies, in Celtic studies, in Welsh history and it's really grounded in the Legends and the land. Here in Bangor, we are not only based in the place where the legends originated, but we also utilize our expertise in a number of fields including in English literature, in Welsh literature, medieval to modern Welsh history, heritage, publishing. So, we're looking at the global phenomenon that the Arthurian myth has become, and we're looking at different translations in different languages from French, German, Italian, and way beyond up to the modern novel and indeed modern media.

What makes the MA so special?

The MA in Arthurian Studies at Bangor is special because it brings together not only the expertise of those who teach it, but also those who research different aspects of the legend. My own interest in the legend stems from my expertise in medieval English literature, in particular the chronical aspects, how Arthur was talked about in the medieval chronicle known as The Brut, going all the way back to the mythical founder of Britain talked about by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, Brutus, and how the Arthurian story brings together different strands of a national myth and a national story about conquest but also of civilization, of bringing courtly values to this part of the world.

I'm interested in that as well as in the work of Sir Thomas Mallory, the 15th century author who wrote during the Wars of the Roses, and how his text Le Morte d'Arthur, the death of Arthur, provides the one single long prose account of the rise and fall of the round table under the leadership of King Arthur. In other words, being the longest text in the English language from the Middle Ages that influences generations of writers and readers and is owned and enjoyed for centuries up to the 21st. So, my own expertise is in the work of Sir Thomas Mallory the 15th century author who brought together different strands of the Arthurian story into one long prose account in the English language which has become, to the present day, one of the most popular and enduring versions of the Arthurian myth.

In particular I can work here at Bangor University and the students I teach can use the collections, including this example of the last early modern printed edition of Le Morte d'Arthur from 1634 printed by William Stansby in London. It is an example of a late, one might say, edition of the 15th century text, so in the 17th century we still have the gothic type, the black letter alongside utilizing a woodcut introduced first by Wynkyn de Worde, William Caxton’s apprentice for the printing of Le Morte d'Arthur.

Alongside that I'm really interested in the publishing history of Arthurian texts, be they of Mallory’s Le Morte d'Arthur, or other ones including for example stories or antiquarian interest in the historicity of Arthur, so the reprinting or the printing and editions of Gildas and Nennius in the early 16th century, we have an example here from the Flintshire Harries Collection, or indeed beautiful examples of the golden age of illustration and of publishing history Le Morte d'Arthur reprinted in the early 20th Century with its original wood cuts from Wynkyn de Worde but in in modern type. Or indeed exploring how in the 18th century Charles Bertram not only printed Gildas and Nennius in his

efforts to inscribe himself in the history of Arthurian studies as an antiquarian, but he also forged a text about King Arthur and put his name into the book as the editor of these texts.

There are several special things about studying a Bangor for an Arthurian MA, and definitely one that comes to mind is being part of the community of scholars who enjoy being in the locations where the Arthurian myth came into being, where it was written down, and working alongside those who specialize whether it is Celtic archaeology, Celtic legend and myth, Welsh medieval history or indeed the publishing history of these books. At Bangor University we hold one of the most important collections of Arthurian books in the UK and in Europe and we're very lucky to have this collection for our use on the MA and with our PhD students.

In particular I'd like to highlight the fact that we constantly work with the community, we get donations, and we organize a number of events that involve our students in contact with the latest research in the field. We have events that our students get involved in whether they present their research where they're part of an international reading group as we are at the moment, whether they help with various exhibitions or community engagement events. There are plenty of opportunities to develop not only academic skills, perhaps publish in the Journal of the International Arthurian Society, or indeed to develop skills in relation to a future profession, a future job be it in heritage, in the media, or something else that is related.

In other words what we do at Bangor university we provide a very full and complex education that prepares you for the world the world of today involves not just knowing how to read and analyse these texts and how to enjoy how myth goes on and inspires, it is also about providing this enduring legacy as a fruitful avenue for further reading and further research whether it is by the young in children's fictions or whether it is by the general public be it in film or in journalism the Arthurian MA at Bangor University provides all of these opportunities and much more.

Meet our Staff

You can enjoy teaching of a high standard delivered by true experts in their field. Take a look at our staff profiles to find out more.

Meet our Staff

You can enjoy teaching of a high standard delivered by true experts in their field. Take a look at our staff profiles to find out more.

Our Research in Celtic, Arthurian and Medieval Studies

The diverse and interdisciplinary natures of Celtic, Welsh, Arthurian and Medieval studies are well represented at Bangor University,  drawing together research expertise across language, literature, history, archaeology and music. 
Bangor University’s contribution to the growth of Welsh and Celtic scholarship, and Arthurian Studies has been recognised internationally since the foundation of the University in 1884. It was here that Sir John Morris-Jones compiled his monumental Welsh Grammar (1913), which forms the basis of the modern literary language, and the key editorial tradition of scholars such as Ifor Williams (Canu Aneirin, Canu Taliesin, etc.) continues to our times.  
Bangor University has expertise across all major fields of Celtic literature, language and history, and staff include some of contemporary Wales’s leading writers and creative practitioners, in both prose, poetry and drama. The exceptionally rich archaeological landscapes of north-west Wales provide a natural focus for our research analysing past societies, their settlements and material culture from the late Mesolithic to the post-medieval. 
Excellent research and teaching of Arthurian Studies has been cemented through the foundation of the University’s Centre for Arthurian Studies, serving as a hub for international research exchange through long-standing connections to the International Arthurian Society. Alongside the Stephen Colclough Centre for the History and Culture of the Book, and the R.S. Thomas Research Centre, it offers impressive resources, including rare editions, for researchers in all of these areas.

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