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Dr Marsaili MacLeod

Vice Principal and Director of Studies

+44 (0) 1471 888 302


Marsaili is the Director of Education and oversees the running of academic affairs at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Marsaili has responsibility for Teaching and Learning, Research and Knowledge Exchange, Library Services and Student Services.

Marsaili received a PhD in Social Geography from the University of Aberdeen in 2009. She was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Scottish Agricultural College (now SRUC) and at Queen’s University Belfast before re-joining the University of Aberdeen, where she was first a Research Fellow then a lecturer in Gaelic Studies 2011-18. Marsaili’s research and teaching has centred on Gaelic language acquisition in adults, language and identity and minority language policy and planning.  She succeeded Iain Tormod MacLeòid as Director of Education at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in 2018.


  • MA (Hons) in Geography (1st Class), (Glasgow University)
  • MSc. Rural & Regional Resources Planning (with distinction) (Aberdeen University)
  • PhD (Aberdeen University)


Marsaili is a social scientist with research specialism in language revitalisation, the teaching and learning of Gaelic and minority language policy and planning. Her research expertise also extends to social change in rural and peripheral communities.

She was a member of Soillse, the national research network for the preservation and revitalization of Gaelic from 2011 to 2018 and co-editor of the edited collection of essays from Soillse entitled ‘Gaelic in contemporary Scotland: the revitalization of an endangered language’, published in 2018 by Edinburgh University Press.

She was co-editor of Scottish Gaelic Studies 2014-18, and has published her academic work in international journals including the Scottish Geographical Journal, Regional Studies, Sociologia Ruralis, Journal of Rural Studies, Population, Space and Place, Scottish Geographical Journal, and Journal of Rural and Community Development.


Marsaili would welcome enquiries from potential PhD students with interest in the following research areas:

  • Language revitalisation
  • The teaching and learning of Gaelic
  • Minority language policy and planning


Research Studends

MRes Students (current)

Isabelle Flower ‘Beachdan luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig air cleachdadh na Beurla’. Co-supervisor with Tim Armstrong.

PhD Students (completed)

Ingeborg Birnie (Soillse Scholarship), PhD. ‘‘Gàidhlig ga bruidhinn an seo?’ – Linguistic practices and Gaelic language management initiatives in Stornoway, the Western Isles of Scotland’. Co-supervisor with Michelle Macleod (University of Aberdeen).

Fañch Bihan-Gallic (Celtic Studies AHRC Scholarship), PhD. ‘Informal language learning spaces for adult speakers of Scottish Gaelic’. Lead supervisor with Michelle Macleod (University of Aberdeen).



Further information

Co-ordinator, Gaelic & Related Subjects Scheme Co-ordinator within the University of the Highlands & Islands.

Project Sponsor, SpeakGaelic


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