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BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music

Award: BA, BA (Hons)
Study Mode: Full-time, On Campus
Duration: 3 Years for BA, 4 years for BA Hons
Code: QW53
Course Contact: Eilidh Grant


This is the only Gaelic-medium degree programme that allows traditional musicians to study the music, history and traditions of the Gàidhealtachd within the broader contexts of Gaelic and related studies. As well as theoretical, practical one to one and group-work classes, students also perform regularly on tours and at major festivals and have the opportunity to spend a semester studying music in Ireland or Canada in Year 4. Throughout the programme, students study with leading musicians and scholars and forge essential links with other musicians and key individuals from within the music industry.

Music topics covered in the degree include one-to-one tuition in students' main performance-study, groupwork, singing, music theory, composing and arranging, history of Gaelic music and other skills vital to the music profession including music education, business studies and recording and producing.

The course is offered with the following traditional performance-studies although others may be considered on application: Accordion (piano or button key: chromatic or diatonic), Fiddle, Flute (black flute preferred), Gaelic Song, Highland Bagpipes, Keyboard and Scottish Harp (gut and/or wire-strung).



Course Content

You will be expected to have a basic knowledge of Gaelic when joining the course and, depending on your ability, will either study on the intensive Gaelic course, An Cùrsa Comais, or Gàidhlig is Conaltradh in your first year.

The first year music modules cover music performance, and theory, composition and arrangement.

The second year covers music performance, theory, composition and arrangement and history of Gaelic music.

The third year includes a major project, an introduction to business studies, recording and producing, further study of music performance and the history of Gaelic music with an opportunity to study music education.

Year four includes a written dissertation as well as further study in the areas of music performance, recording and producing, business studies and music education.


Year 1
SCQF Level 7

     For the structure at Level SCQF 7, see An Cùrsa Comais and Gaelic and Communication.
Students taking Gaelic and Traditional Music will be required to elect Music Performance and
Gaelic Song 1 and Theory, Arrangement and Composition 1 as their optional modules.



Year 2
SCQF Level 8

     Core Modules

     Optional Modules


  • Gaelic Language 2
  • Music Performance and Gaelic Song 2
  • Theory, Arrangement & Composition 2
  • History of Gaelic Music

Year 3
SCQF Level 9

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules


  • Gaelic Language 3
  • Research Skills
  • Music Performance 3
  • Gaelic Song 3
  • Professional Presentational and Organisational Skills
  • Teaching Music

Year 4
SCQF Level 10

    Core Modules

    Optional Modules


  • Dissertation
  • Music Performance 4
  • Themed Production
  • Recording and Producing
  • Composing and Arranging Portfolio


Entry Requirements

  • 3 SQA Higher passes at grades B, B and C or above, preferably including Gàidhlig (fluent speakers) or Gaelic (learners) at B or above; or
  • 2 A Levels at grades BC or above
  • other equivalent qualifications subject to the discretion of the Course/Programme Leader.

Applicants will be required to undertake an audition for the course

It is also recommended that applicants have obtained a pass at level 5 of associated board examinations prior to entry

Students without an SQA pass in Gaelic must satisfy the college of their ability in Gaelic

For applicants with little or no previous knowledge of Gaelic, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig offers An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, a distance learning course which aims to prepare students for entry to year one of the degree programme.

Fees and Funding

For course costs please follow this link


How to Apply

If you are a school leaver or are applying to multiple universities, then you must apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This is the central admissions service for all universities and colleges of higher education in the UK.

If you are not a school leaver and are only applying to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, you can contact the Registry & Admissions Office or download, complete and return the UHI application form.

For those applying from overseas, UCAS forms will be available from the British Council. All prospective international students can also downlaod, complete and return the UHI international students application form.


Contact details:

Registry & Admissions Office
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Isle of Skye
IV44 8RQ

Tel: 01471 888304


Useful information for applying through UCAS:

Institution Name: HIP
Code: H49
Campus: K