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M.Phil. in Early Irish


This one-year course is intended to take the student to a high level of competence in Old Irish, and will cover a wide range of prose and verse texts, and various aspects of Early Irish language, literature and culture. This course can be taken as a second follow-on year to build on knowledge gained on the Diploma in Old Irish course.

Handbook for the course available here.


The course will last for one academic year, beginning in October, and requires full-time study. Students with no prior knowledge of Old Irish may take the preliminary year-long course for the Diploma in Old Irish (see Diploma webpage). In the MPhil year candidates will be assessed by examination (in summer) and a thesis of c.20,000 words.


  • On achievement of 50% or higher in the examinations for the Diploma, candidates will be permitted to proceed to the M. Phil. course.
  • Students who have otherwise acquired a competence in Old Irish on a par with that acquired through participation in the Diploma course, may also be permitted to enrol for the M.Phil. course.
  • Applications for admission must be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies by 30 June of the year in which admission is sought.
  • Students will be admitted every second year. The next round of applications will be for 2020/21.

Course work

The work of the first year, if taken, will be that for the Diploma in Old Irish (see Diploma webpage). The MPhil course will extend over three terms, and the taught element will consist of six contact hours per week as follows:

  • Old Irish prose (2 hours)
  • Old Irish poetry (1 hour)
  • Comparative linguistics (1 hour)
  • Early Irish law (1 hour)
  • Middle Irish (1 hour)
  • Guest lectures

In addition a minor dissertation of c.20,000 words, which must be typed and presented in duplicate, is to be submitted by 30 September of the same year.