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An Cùrsa Inntrigidh

AWARD: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig certificate
STUDY MODE: Distance Learning,Part-time
DURATION: 10 months or 18 months
COURSE LEADER: Dr Julia Macleod
COURSE CONTACT: Distance Learning Team ( )


An Cùrsa Inntrigidh is a supported distance learning Gaelic course for complete beginners and learners with a little Gaelic. This self-study, tutor-supported Gaelic learners’ course is made up of three parts – Earrann 1, 2 and 3 – with a number of start dates each year. Timetables are available below.

  • The emphasis during learning is on speaking and listening skills, but reading and writing skills are also an important part of the course.
  • Course materials are accessed online and consist of study workbooks, sound files (or CDs) and tutorial workbooks.
  • Most of the learning is through self-study and weekly online tutorials with other students and a tutor, helping students to practise what they have been learning with fellow students.
  • Further conversation practice and revision is available on one of the course’s optional Weekend Schools, normally held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.
  • With small class sizes of up to eight students per tutorial group, participants are able to get to know each other and feel like a small community of their own, no matter where they are in the world.
  • There are a number of start dates for each part of the course between August and June each year. The course can be studied through the Standard Track or the Accelerated Track. Which track a student chooses depends on their knowledge of Gaelic, on their language learning experience and the time they have available to commit each week to the course.
  • For each week of the Standard Track, study time is estimated at between 8 and 10 hours, and for each week of the Accelerated Track, study time is estimated at between 10 and 12 hours.

On completion of the course, students should be able to use Gaelic reasonably confidently and will be eligible for entry to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s first year university level Gaelic courses. For further details, please see An Cùrsa Comais (on-campus Gaelic immersion course) and An Cùrsa Adhartais (two-year distance learning course at the equivalent level of An Cùrsa Comais). An Cùrsa Inntrigidh has been awarded a CILT European Language Award and the Routledge Prize for Adult Learners in recognition of its innovative approach to distance delivered second language learning.

An Cùrsa Inntrigidh: Student Handbook 2023–24


An Cùrsa Inntrigidh is a self-study, tutor-supported Gaelic course for beginners made up of three parts – Earrann 1, 2 and 3. There are a number of start dates each year. See timetables below.

Study and weekly tutorials

Course materials are accessed online and consist of study workbooks, sound files (or CDs) and tutorial workbooks and make up a carefully structured learning programme. Students learn in their own time, in advance of a weekly group online tutorial with a tutor. The tutorials are an essential part of the course, allowing students to practise what they have learnt and are led by experienced Gaelic language tutors. Each tutorial lasts about one hour. You can read a sample exercise from the course here and also listen to a sample exercise below.

Certificate of completion

In order to gain a Sabhal Mòr Ostaig certificate of completion, students are required to pass assessments for each part of the course, and to attend a minimum of 60% of the online tutorials.


Assessments are an important part of the learning process and are issued at the end of each part of the course. For further information, refer to the Student Handbook above. On successful completion of the course, students may gain entry to An Cùrsa Comais or progress to An Cùrsa Adhartais (subject to interview).

Extra study

Conversation classes – ‘Sibh fhèin a-nis!’ – offered to An Cùrsa Inntrigidh students registered on Earrannan (Parts) 2 and 3

Further opportunities for our students to practise their Gaelic speaking skills are now being offered through our new weekly, very small conversational sessions ‘Sibh fhèin a-nis!’, with an experienced tutor from An Cùrsa Inntrigidh. Students registered on Earrannan 2 or 3 will be able to sign up for a bundle of 16 sessions, one every week throughout the normal Earrann (Standard Track).

Information for students on the Fast Track (Bann Luath) will be available soon.

The sessions will be 45 minutes long, with up to 4 students (on Zoom; students can phone in as well).

You will have the chance to practise your conversation skills with other students from the same intake, who will therefore be at exactly the same place in the course. There is no extra preparation needed for the sessions, which will provide a relaxed and informal opportunity to practise what you have learned in An Cùrsa Inntrigidh study, with a tutor present to help and guide you as needed.

The sessions will run in line with our An Cùrsa Inntrigidh timetable.

Students interested in booking a place for ‘Sibh fhèin a-nis!’ should contact the Distance Learning Team ().

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Study Weekends

Subject to interest, study weekends are usually held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for each part of the course. They are optional and offer students the chance to consolidate and put into practice what has been learnt in the course. For further information or to book a place, please refer to the Weekend School section below. A range of supplemental study materials designed to complement the course are offered. Access to a discussion board is also available, which allows students to keep in touch with each other.


Successful recent completion of An Cùrsa Inntrigidh allows entry to An Cùrsa Adhartais.

Entry Requirements

Students must have access to a computer and possibly a phone. See Computer Requirements.

Fees and funding

Students ordinarily resident in Scotland: £320 per Part (3 parts in total)
Students ordinarily resident outwith Scotland: £390 per Part (3 parts in total)

Help with funding

If a student thinks they will have difficulty with the payment of fees, they should speak to the College admin staff. Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is always willing to help find solutions.

How to apply

Please click here to submit the enquiry form. Any questions regarding the course can be directed to the Distance Learning Team on 01471 888 449, or by submitting the above enquiry form. The next intake of Earrann (Part) 1 is August 2023 and September 2023.


The intake pattern for the course is shown here: PDF Icon An Cùrsa Inntrigidh intake pattern The next intake of Earrann (Part) 1 is in August 2023 and September 2023. The 2023/24 timetables can be seen below:

Timetables for Accelerated Track

Accelerated Track Earrann (Part) 1, 2 & 3: August 2023–June 2024

Timetables for Standard Track

Standard Track Earrann (Part) 1 and 2: September 2023–June 2024

Standard Track Earrann (Part) 2 and 3: September 2023–June 2024

Standard Track Earrann (Part) 3: September 2023–January 2024

 Standard Track Earrann (Part) 1: January – June 2024

Tutorial times

Tutorial time choices are given before Induction Week, and each student’s tutorial time is confirmed during Induction Week. A number of times from Monday to Friday are available, and students retain the same tutorial time for each part of the course.

Preparation and Induction to the course

For registered students, there is an online Induction Week two weeks before the course start date, which ensures that you are familiar with the practical and technical aspects of the course, and is a good way to meet classmates. A Preparation Week then takes place a week before the course start date and gives students the opportunity to talk to other students and their tutor and to make a start on their coursework at their scheduled tutorial time.

Holiday dates

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is closed over Christmas and New Year. In addition, there is a summer break, a week in October and a week at Easter for all Distance Learning students. No other local, national or bank holidays are taken.

Closing dates for registrations

Closing dates for registrations are in place to allow Sabhal Mòr Ostaig staff the time to complete registrations, finalise student numbers and allocate tutorial times for Preparation and Induction Weeks.

Weekend Schools

For registered An Cùrsa Inntrigidh students, and subject to interest, two-day study weekends are normally held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig for each part of the course. They are optional and offer students the chance to revise and practise what has been learnt in the course and to meet other students and tutors. Students should book as far in advance as possible. Dates and prices are on the Virtual Learning Environment.


Saturday 9.45am to 4.45pm and Sunday 9.30am to 1.30pm (subject to slight change).


Bookings for weekend schools include College accommodation, if required, and food.


For College accommodation options, please visit our Accommodation page. For local accommodation, click here or go to

Travelling to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Click here for information on travelling to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and to view a map of the College.

The Library

The Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Library, a specialized collection which focuses on Scottish Gaelic language, culture and heritage, will normally be open when weekend schools are running.

To book a weekend school, please read the following information:

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig reserves the right to alter weekend schools or to cancel them. A separate booking and payment must be made for each weekend school. Enquiries about the weekend school or College accommodation should be emailed to the Distance Learning Team at . Payment will be taken when your booking has been confirmed.


If you would like to make an enquiry about An Cùrsa Inntrigidh, please do so here.

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