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Foundation Year: Academics

Gaelic Foundations: Living Cultures

Next program begins September 2024

In partnership with Cape Breton University, this fresh, new program delivers an innovative, broad-based, foundation year meeting first year Arts program requirements. Offered through the language of English, students gain a deep understanding of Gaelic culture by focusing on key subject areas, from the ancient past to the present day.


This is an interdisciplinary program that delves into culture to provide a better understanding of the wider world, and develops well-honed practical skills such as critical-thinking, research, writing, debating, self-directed learning and learning in a group setting.

You can also do your second year here at Beinn Mhàbu! Beginning in September 2024, students will have the option of completing an additional year and earning credit toward their Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies. Get in touch for more info (

Apply for free now using the voucher code CBUMHABU with CBU here. Get your name in and take advantage of the generous scholarship program in place!

Program Overview  //  Course Descriptions  //  Admission, Tuition, Room & Board  //  Faculty

Foundation Year: Text


  • It is a foundational, first year, accredited university  program delivered through English and focused on Gaelic culture.

  • There are four courses of six weeks each, offered consecutively from September to April with a week’s break between each. In parallel, students complete a first year Gaelic language program running through the year from September to April. Students are full-time CBU students, receiving 30 credits in total.

  • 6-week courses are delivered in four lectures through the week with a tutorial session each afternoon designed to discuss themes and ideas arising in lectures and assigned readings.

  • Students are housed at Beinn Mhàbu, a newly renovated campus of Colaisde na Gàidhlig in Mabou, Nova Scotia.

  • Students can continue in the BA or BACS program at CBU or seek transfer credits to another university.


  • Learn in Community: be part of a small, vibrant community while gaining a post-secondary education.

  • Upon acceptance, scholarships up to $10,000 are guaranteed for students!

  • Small Class Sizes: get to know your professors and gain lasting relationships among a close-knit learning cohort.

  • Niche Program: one of a kind, special delivery through focused modules.

  • Newly renovated campus: cozy, safe, and historically significant building with all modern amenities in the heart of the village.

  • University experience: you will be registered as a full-time CBU student, with all pertinent benefits (Scholarships, Health & Dental plan, Library access, Writing Centre, etc.).

  • Gaelic Heartland: Immerse yourself in the only Gàidhealtachd outside of Scotland, where culture still informs everyday life.


  • This program is ideal for those seeking a richer learning experience, eager for self-growth and strong bonds with peers and community, expanding a decolonized world-view through culture, history, and language.

  • It is available for credit (for students graduating high school or other) or for personal development. 

  • Students wanting to build language skills can continue directly into An Cùrsa Bogaidh, a second-year, university level Gaelic language immersion program held at Colaisde na Gàidhlig annually in May.

Foundation Year: Descripions

September 2024 - April 2025

  • First year, university accredited, full-time (30 credit hours) program

  • Four consecutive 6-week modules: History, Music & Dance, Folklore, and Literature of The Gael

    • Each course travels through time, from pre-history through to present day

    • Gaelic language content is built into each course, but no knowledge of Gaelic required

    • Texts assigned as reading material but no prescribed “textbooks”

  • Simultaneous year-long course in Scottish Gaelic language

  • Takes place in newly renovated, historical and educationally significant Beinn Mhàbu

  • Geared towards giving students the best possible foundation for their university career while exploring the Gaels are through their history, literature, folklore, music, dance, language and surrounding worldviews. 

Foundation Year: Program Overview


September – October

This course brings students on a journey through time, from the Celtic tribes of Central Europe before Roman conquest through to present day in Nova Scotia.  The course is divided into three sections with the first focusing on early Celtic history through to  the establishment of the Lordship of the Isles. The second section will delve into this “peak” time in Gaelic history and the series of historical events that shaped it after it, through to the Battle of Culloden. The final section will take a close look at the Highland Clearances and the economic factors associated with them, the establishment of new Gaidhealtachdan (Gaelic speaking areas) in North America and elsewhere and the ensuing decline and more recent revitalization of Gaelic, with a focus on Nova Scotia.

Course Desriptions
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In accordance with Cape Breton University Bachelor of Arts admission requirements, an overall average of 65% is required, based on high school performance.

If space permits, candidates who can verify that they have met the minimum entry requirements established by Beinn Mhàbu and CBU will be accepted.

Note: Applications completed after August 1 cannot be guaranteed to be processed for September registration.

See the CBU Academic Calendar for full details of the Academic Regulations of Cape Breton University

Foundation Year: Admissions
Foundation Year: Tuition

Please see below the cost estimates for one year.

NOTE: Upon acceptance, scholarships up to $10,000 are guaranteed for students. Ask us for details.

  • Residents of Nova Scotia: $8528.90 per year

  • Residents of Canada: $9,811.90 per year

  • International Residents: $18,915.90 per year

  • For a complete breakdown, visit Cape Breton University’s Tuition and Fees

All amounts are listed in Canadian Dollars ($CAD), and are subject to change.

These numbers are an estimate for planning purposes only


Beinn Mhàbu is housed within a remarkable, 32,000 square foot building overlooking the picturesque village of Mabou, Nova Scotia. The building has historically been an educational and community focal point for the wider region and continues in this mission today.  

The building has been completely renovated, with private rooms including 3-piece baths, a gymnasium, full dining facilities, chapel, performance & conference space, laundry, classrooms, lush grounds surrounding, and is fully wheelchair accessible with an elevator and universal accessible accommodations.

Residence rates are as follows:

  • Private Room with Washroom: $2700 per semester

  • Private Room with shared bathroom: $2500 per semester (limited)

All resident students are provided with a full meal plan for on-site meals, seven days a week, at $3025 per semester.



Dedicated to cultural expertise and providing a valuable student experience,

our year is made rich with these esteemed faculty members who joined us for 2023/2024


Click over to application portal and use the voucher code CBUMHABU to apply for free and begin your journey with us!

Foundation Year: Image
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