Overview

Degree code (MA): NTEHB
Credit value: 180 (ECTS equivalent: 90)

The MA provides students with a broad understanding and experience of the chronological range of book history from c.3000 BCE to 2000 CE. It introduces students to the range of disciplines that make up the subject, including bibliography, palaeography, codicology, bookbinding, history of printing, bibliometrics, history of publishing, history of reading and library history. The course provides frequent opportunities to handle archaeological and historical objects relating to the subject. Teachers are globally recognised experts in their fields.

The MA consists of one compulsory Research Methodologies module, a series of five taught modules (including two core courses) plus a dissertation of 15,000 words. Each taught module is worth 20 credits and consists of ten formal teaching sessions (each session is not less than 90 minutes and not more than 120 minutes duration) in a seminar format, plus one piece of written coursework. The dissertation is worth 60 credits.  

Teaching takes places at the Institute of English Studies, in Senate House (University of London). All core and optional modules are taught on Wednesdays. 

 

Structure

Compulsory Module

  • Research Methodologies and Resources for the History of the Book 

All students must complete the 'Research Methodologies and Resources for the History of the Book' module (20 credits). The course is divided over the fall and spring terms: five classroom teaching days (fall term) and three offsite visits (spring term). Part-time students must take this module in the first year.  

Core Modules

In addition, students must also complete two of the three core modules (20 credits each). Part-time students will normally take the core modules in their first year.

  • The Medieval Book (core)
  • The Book in Early Modern England (core)
  • The Book in the Industrial Age (core)

Option Modules

Students then select three option modules to complete (20 credits each). Students may take the third core module as an option.  

Option Courses 2018-2019

Term Option
Term 1 (Autumn) The Book in the Ancient World
Term 2 (Spring) Provenance
Term 3 (Summer)

Booktrade Internship

Any course on the London Rare Books School (LRBS)*

*Students must receive approval from the Course Tutor to take a course on the London Rare Books School. LRBS courses are subject to a small additional charge (£50) to cover catering costs throughout the summer school.

Module descriptions are available here

Induction Week

The Institute hosts a week-long introduction to book history and London libraries in the week before classes begin (usually the final week of September). New students are strongly encouraged to attend as much of the week as possible. 

Assessment

The MA in the History of the Book is assessed on the basis of course essays and a dissertation.

The Research Methodologies course is assessed by two 2,500 word pieces of written coursework. 

Each core and option module is examined by one essay of c.5,000 words or a coursework project of a similar scale. In addition, all students will complete a mandatory diagnostic essay of c.1,500 due at the end of October in the first term. This will be marked but does not constitute part of the assessment. It is designed to enable the teaching faculty to evaluate each student's progress and to provide help and advice as necessary.

The dissertation is 15,000 words and is due at the end of September. The research and writing of the dissertation is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor who will help structure the research programme, suggested reading, and respond to written work.

Internship

Students have the option to substitute one of the modules with an internship at a London bookselling firm. Internships take place during the summer term and require 200 hours of in-office contact time, in addition to an essay and three in-class days (if taking the internship for assessment). The internships offer a key opportunity for students to experience life in a bookselling firm, to undertake projects for the company (everything from stocktaking to cataloguing to running a book stall at a fair), and to make connections in the book trade. Since summer 2015, students have been placed in: Maggs Bros., Jarndyce Booksellers, Robert Frew Ltd., and Ash Rare Books.

Mode of Study

The MA can be taken one-year full-time, to be completed within 12 months, or two-years part-time, to be completed within 24 months. Part-time students normally complete the two core modules and two option moedules in the first year, the third and fourth modules and the dissertation being taken in the second year. However, it is assumed that some preliminary work on the dissertation will be undertaken during the first year. In order to accommodate part-time study for students on day-release we try to arrange for modules to be taught on one day in the week (Wednesday).

MA Full-time study (one year)

180 credits required (120 module credits + 60 dissertation credits)

Term Modules
Term 1
Autumn

Research Methodology (part one)
The Medieval Book [20 credits]
Option module [20 credits]

Term 2
Spring

Research Methodology (part two) [20 credits]
The Book in Early Modern England [20 credits]
The Book in the Industrial Age [20 credits]
Option module [20 credits]

Term 3
Summer

Internship or LRBS course [20 credits]

Dissertation [60 credits]

MA Part-time study (two years)

180 credits required (120 module credits + 60 dissertation credits)

Term Modules
Year 1
Term 1
Autumn
Research Methodology (study days one and two) 
The Medieval Book [20 credits]
Term 2
Spring
Research Methodology (study days three and four) [20 credits]
The Book in Early Modern England [20 credits] 
The Book in the Industrial Age [20 credits]
Term 3
Summer

Internship or LRBS course [20 credits]

Preliminary work on the dissertation

Year 2
Term 1
Autumn
Option module [20 credits]
Term 2
Spring
Option module [20 credits]
Term 3
Summer
Dissertation [60 credits]

Admission

The normal minimum entrance requirement for the MA is a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree, in any subject, from a university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a Grade Point Average [GPA] of 3.0 or higher).

Applications may also be considered from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements, but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience.

All students whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence (gained in the last two years) that their written and spoken English language is adequate for postgraduate study. This requirement is specified in order to ensure that the academic progress of students is not hindered by language difficulties and that students are able to integrate socially while studying and living in the UK.

Further information can be found on the English language competency section of the School's Entry Requirements page.

Key Dates

2018-2019

During autumn and spring terms, classes run on Wednesdays from 11:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00, and 17:00-19:00.

31 August 2018 Application deadline (for October 2018 start)
24 - 28 September 2018 Induction week
1 October 2018 Start of autumn term
5  - 9 November 2018 Reading week (no classes)
14 December 2018 End of autumn term
7 January 2019 Start of spring term
11 - 15 February 2019 Reading week (no classes)
22 March 2019 Final day of spring term

Fees and Funding

We provide a world-class masters education at the most affordable cost possible, and far below rates for similar programmes within the UK and elsewhere. Please note that if you have successfully taken courses for credit on the London Rare Books School, your total tuition fee will be reduced by the amount you paid to the LRBS. 

Tuition Fees

Applicants are eligible to apply for studentships through the School of Advanced Study.

School of Advanced Study Studentships

In addition, from 2018-2019 we are pleased to offer one full-fees (Home/EU) studentship from the Institute's Sambrook Fund.

Careers

Many of our alumni establish successful careers in fields including academic librarianship, museum curatorship, publishing, and art. We have particular success placing students in the print and antiquarian book trade. Some students aim to progress to study at PhD level for a career in academia. Our programmes provide outstanding training in research skills and equip students with the intellectual framework and language proficiency to undertake independent research with confidence and success. Former students have progressed to PhD study (including AHRC studentships) at the Institute and elsewhere.

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