Berkeley has no organized graduate program in Celtic Studies. (Harvard has the only such program in the U.S.) However, the Berkeley campus has a varied and high-quality set of resources in the area of Celtic Studies, focused around our undergraduate Celtic Studies Program. Many graduate students take advantage of these resources while earning graduate degrees in departments such as English, Linguistics, History, Comparative Literature, or Anthropology (our Anthropology Department has a Folklore Program). For example, you could do a Comparative Literature degree with one or more Celtic Languages among your chosen language areas; you could do an Anthropology or Linguistics degree with your chosen area being a Celtic culture or language(s); and so on. You would naturally have access to our Celtic language and culture courses in making up your curriculum in one of these departments. Members of the Celtic Studies faculty could serve on your doctoral dissertation committee in one of these departments. It is also possible to combine a Ph.D. program in any of these departments with Medieval Studies to obtain a joint degree. (More information is available from the Medieval Studies Program.)
What department might be appropriate for you? Two sets of criteria are important. First, what departments are likely to accept you – if you are qualified in literature rather than in anthropology, then a literature department is naturally a better bet than Anthropology. Second, what departments fit your needs? Do you want to do the courses they require? Do they have faculty who excite you, and who work in areas that interest you? (If you’re a medievalist, do they have medievalists? and so on.) You will need to talk to the advisors in specific departments, as well as study relevant websites and other information about application and Ph.D. work in those departments, in order to judge where to apply. Remember that few departments would be motivated to take an applicant who frankly admits that this admission is really just a pretext for studying something else – and they will not change their course requirements just for you. So be ready to fulfill those requirements and profit from them, if you ask for admission; and be sure to indicate real interest in that department for itself, and to explain how your Celtic work fits into your work in their program.
Footnote: It is also possible to have a personally tailored Ph.D. program at Berkeley; that is, you can set up your own program, independent of specific departments. However, one must first be admitted to some extant graduate program at Berkeley before proposing an independent program. Further, it is quite difficult to get such a program approved (in other words, you cannot come here counting on this option being available to you.) So on all counts, it is important to apply to an appropriate department or program, one which offers you the kinds of training you actually want to acquire. The Program in Celtic Studies will then be able to offer you its resources as you work in that home program.
If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree that incorporates Celtic Studies, please contact the current program director listed on the Faculty page.
Eve Sweetser, Professor of Linguistics and Celtic Studies