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The Book. History and Techniques of Analysis (MLitt) 2022 entry

The MLitt in Book History offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the book world from the inception of the printed book in the 15th century to the invention of the mechanised press in the 19th century.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 5 September 2022
  • End date: 30 September 2023

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

Home: £10,395
Overseas: £21,390

Application deadline

Thursday 11 August 2022. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • personal statement (optional)
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MLitt in Book History is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of History.

Highlights

  • You will acquire the technical skills required for rare book scholarship and curatorship.
  • The programme provides a deep understanding of key issues and methods in book history and familiarises you with the invention, development, spread and transformation of printing.
  • Circumstances allowing, you will be introduced to a range of libraries and rare book collections, members of the antiquarian book trade and digital techniques.
  • You will take part in our annual international book history conference, now in its 15th year. 
  • You can undertake skills training in palaeography and either Latin or a modern foreign language.

Teaching format

The MLitt course comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a dissertation (15,000 words) completed during the summer on a subject of the student’s own design.

The optional components of the course are carefully designed to meet each student’s intentions: structured preparations for undertaking a PhD, professional development, or personal scholarly interests.

Teaching methods include fortnightly seminars and practical classes. Class sizes range from individual supervision up to eight students. The modules are assessed by coursework only; there is no final exam.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

Each module typically comprises:

  • fortnightly seminars or weekly two-hour seminars
  • 100% coursework assessment.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2021-2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

  • Books and their Readers in Early Modern Europe: provides students with a good understanding of key issues and methods in book history from 1445 to 1830.

Students can choose either four optional modules or two optional modules along with the Directed Reading module.

  • Directed Reading in Modern History: designed to encourage the development of skills of historical analysis through concentrated study of a topic chosen by the student prior to the dissertation.
  • Early Modern Documents and Sources: provides a wide-ranging introduction to the types of source material which researchers on the early modern period may encounter.
  • Latin for Postgraduate Research: provides three tiers of Latin teaching (beginners, intermediate, and advanced) for students with earlier or no experience.
  • Material Bibliography: covers the use of the book as historical evidence and practical aspects of cataloguing and Special Collections work, as well as a detailed exploration of digital book history.
  • Palaeography and Manuscript Studies: provides a wide-ranging introduction to reading and handling original source material of all types which researchers of the early modern period may encounter. The course will trace the development of mainstream European handwriting styles from the late 15th to the 18th centuries.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development). 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.


The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

The next virtual visiting day will be in November 2021.

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

Conferences and events

Those taking this MLitt will automatically be enrolled in the ST Andrews annual international book history conference.

The School of History also hosts an early modern history seminar which meets regularly throughout the teaching period from September to April. Papers are given by both St Andrews historians and invited guests.

Funding

The School of History is pleased to be able to offer a number of competitive scholarships which contribute to the fees and maintenance for postgraduate study. 

  • Language Bursaries enable students to undertake intensive language courses abroad during the summer before their programme begins.
  • School of History MLitt Awards offer the cash equivalent of one year's home fees and cannot be held in conjunction with other awards offering full fees and maintenance.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. 

After the MLitt

Research degrees

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.

PhD in History

Careers

History postgraduates go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including:

  • librarianship
  • rare book trade
  • journalism
  • publishing
  • think tanks
  • government
  • law
  • teaching.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"Highlights were learning about the history of the book trade and print in the early modern period while also analysing the books themselves. The people are wonderful and I can honestly say that everyone I’ve worked with has been invested in my journey and cared about my success."

Alexa
Alexa
- Massachusetts, USA

Contact

School of History
University of St Andrews 
St Katharine’s Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews 
KY16 9BA

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2900
Email: pghist@st-andrews.ac.uk

School of History

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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