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 a series of six taught courses (including two core courses) plus a dissertation of 15,000 words. Each taught section 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), plus one piece of written coursework. The dissertation is worth 60 credits. 

 

Structure

Core courses

  • The Medieval Book
  • Printed Texts, 1450-2010
  • Research Methodology

All students must complete the two core courses (20 credits each) during the MA programme: The Medieval Book (in the autumn term) and Printed Texts, 1450-2010 (in the spring term), in addition to four option courses.

The aim of the two core courses is to provide a broad introduction to the discipline of Book History by encouraging students to undertake two chronological surveys, one covering the manuscript codex (The Medieval Book) and the other the printed text from the 1450s to the present day. This will involve introducing students to a number of historical approaches and methods, to a wide variety of textual materials, and to a range of libraries and archives containing these materials. Part-time students will normally take the required courses in their first year.

Each course consists of ten formal teaching sessions (each session will be of not less than 90 minutes and not more than 120 minutes duration), plus one piece of written coursework (5000 words).

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. 

Research Methodology Day

All students will be expected to attend a research methodology day, usually the first Saturday in December. The resource methodology day covers the use of libraries and other resources available in London, and the presentation of material at MA/MRes level. No assessed coursework is required.

Courses

Courses

In addition to the two core courses, all students will take four other courses (20 credits each) during the MA programme. Full-time students will take four courses available in a given year; part-time students will be able to choose between one in each term. Each course will consist of ten formal teaching sessions (of not less than 90 minutes and not more than 120 minutes duration) plus a piece of written coursework (5000 words).

Option courses 2016-17
Term Option Option
Term 1
Autumn
Digital Publishing and Book Studies The Book in the Ancient World
Term 2
Spring
Provenance The Printed Book in Britain and elsewhere

Term 3 Summer*
 

London Book Trade Internship*  

Students may take courses from the London Rare Books School in lieu of the above. This is by approval from the Course Tutor and is subject to a small additional charge (£50) to cover catering costs throughout the summer school.

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 courses and two courses in the first year, the third and fourth courses 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 courses to be taught on one day in the week (Wednesday).

MA Full-time study (one year)
Term Modules
Term 1
Autumn

Core course (1)
Research Methodology
Course 1
Course 2

Term 2
Spring
Core course (2)
Research Methodology
Course 3
Course 4
Term 3
Summer
Dissertation
MA Part-time study (two years)
Term Modules
Year 1
Term 1
Autumn
Core course (1)
Research Methodology
Course 1
Term 2
Spring
Core course (2)
Research Methodology
Course 2
Term 3
Summer
Preliminary Work on the dissertation
Year 2
Term 1
Autumn
Course 3
Term 2
Spring
Course 4
Term 3
Summer
Dissertation

Assessment

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

Each course 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.

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

2016-2017

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 2016 Application deadline (for October 2016 start)
26 - 30 September 2016 Induction week
5 October 2016 First teaching day - autumn term
7 - 11 November 2016 Reading week (no classes)
14 December 2016 Final teaching day of autumn term
11 January 2017 First teaching day - spring term
13 -17 February 2017 Reading week (no classes)
22 March 2017 Final teaching 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. 

Tuition Fees

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

School of Advanced Study Studentships

In addition, from 2017-2018 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 at the Institute and elsewhere.

 

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