History of the Book MA or MRes

School of Advanced Study, University of London

12 months
15200 GBP/year
6560 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The MA/MRes 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. 

This course can also be taken as a Master of Research degree (MRes).  One third coursework, two-thirds research, this distinguished degree permits an even greater degree of specialism for those already drawn to a particular period or topic within book history, and assists them in acquiring research skills suitable for progression to MPhil/PhD study.

This course can also be taken as a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma, ideal for those students who would like to explore the History of the Book but cannot commit to a full MA. 

Please visit our website to find out more information about these programmes. 

Programme Structure

The MA consists of a series of six taught courses (including two core courses) plus a dissertation of 15,000 words.

The MRes consists of a series of three taught modules and a 30,000-word dissertation. Each taught module will be examined by one 5000-word essay on a topic to be agreed with the tutor.

You may also choose courses from the London Rare Books School programme under the guidance of the Course Director and Course Tutor.

Compulsory module

  • Research Methodologies and Resources for the History of the Book

Core modules (you will select a minimum of two)

  • The Medieval Book
  • The Book in Early Modern England
  • The Book in the Industrial Age

Option modules (2018-19)

  • The Book in the Ancient World (autumn)
  • Provenance in Books (spring)
  • Introduction to Digital Humanities (spring)
  • Book trade internship (summer)
  • Any LRBS course (summer)

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months
  • Part-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines






On Campus

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA Your GPA, or Grade Point Average, is a number that indicates how well or how high you scored in your courses on average. Usually a GPA scales between 1.0 and 4.0, however different countries and universities can have different grading systems.
Upper Second Class

English requirements

IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).

Other requirements

General requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher).

We will consider applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience. 

English is the language of instruction and applicants are required to demonstrate an appropriate level of proficiency. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    15200 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15200 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    6560 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 6560 GBP per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • Home/EU Part time: £3,940
  • Fees listed are for 2019-20 entry and will be subject to annual increase


Sambrook Fund Studentship

The Sambrook Fund Studentship seeks to support an excellent student who wishes to study on the MA in the History of the Book, but whose circumstances might make it difficult to access the programme. The award covers fees in full at the Home/EU rate. The studentship will be funded through the Institute’s Sambrook Fund, established when Keith Sambrook, a fellow at the IES, generously donated his teaching fees from the Institute’s MA course. More information on the Sambrook Fund can be found on our website.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Due for update

Updated over a year ago

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

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History of the Book MA or MRes
School of Advanced Study, University of London