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.
The MLitt in Book History is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of History.
- Students will acquire the technical skills required for rare book curatorship (teaching involves the Special Collections department).
- The programme provides a deep understanding of key issues and methods in book history and familiarises students with the invention, development, spread and transformation of printing.
- Students can undertake skills training in palaeography and either Latin or a modern foreign language.
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 12 students. The modules are assessed by coursework only; there is no final exam.
Each module typically comprises:
- fortnightly seminars or weekly two-hour seminars
- 100% coursework assessment
- 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.
Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
- Directed Reading in Modern History: designed to encourage the development of skills of historical analysis through the 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 in the early modern period may encounter.
- Latin for Postgraduate Research: three tiers of teaching (beginners, intermediate, and translation) provide suitable levels of engagement with Latin 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.
- Palaeography and Manuscript Studies: provides a wide-ranging introduction to the reading and handling of the original source material of all types which researchers of the early modern period may encounter.
Other modules which may be taken with the approval of the programme coordinator:
- Political Thought and Intellectual History: offers a rich and varied graduate-level introduction to the political theory and intellectual history of the early modern period.
- Religion and Identity in Early Modern Britain: examines the emergence of separate ecclesiastical structures and identities in the decades before the Anglo-Scottish union of 1603 and the religious conflicts that arose from the Stuart monarchy's subsequent attempts to impose a highly contested understanding of British ecclesiastical conformity on their Scottish and English kingdoms.
- The European Renaissance: compares and contrast the Italian and Northern Renaissances, examining their mediaeval origins and exploring themes such as religion, humanism, court and urban life, in order to test this traditional interpretation.
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 2019 entry.
History postgraduates go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, publishing, think tanks, government, law and 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.
- A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a subject-related area.
- If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
- English language proficiency.
The qualifications listed are indicative of 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.
- personal statement (optional),
- a sample of 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).
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.
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.
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