The Book. History and Techniques of Analysis (MLitt) 2023 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.

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
Duration
One year full time
School
School of History

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

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

“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
- Massachusetts, USA

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.

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 

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

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

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. 

Modules

Each module typically comprises: 

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

For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 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 technical bibliographical description, 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 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Teaching

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. 

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. 

Fees

Home
£11,120

Overseas
£23,530

More information on tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate fees and funding page.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

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

Enables students to undertake intensive language courses abroad during the summer before their programme begins. 

School of History MLitt Awards

Offers the cash equivalent of one year's home fees and cannot be held in conjunction with other awards offering full fees and maintenance. 

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree

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 as well as a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.


Further study

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

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2900
Email
pghist@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of History
St Katharine's Lodge
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9BA

School of History website