Taught course

The History of the Book

School of Advanced Study · Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for all degrees is a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Months of entry

October, September

Course content

The MA in the History of the Book at the Institute of English Studies provides an unrivalled base for the study of a subject that has been the focus of increasing scholarly attention over the past 30 years. Originally considering mainly physical aspects of the book and the details of its manufacture and trade, scholars have come to see the study of the book as an aid to understanding literary texts and as a focus for insight into social, cultural and intellectual processes in history.

The unique inter-disciplinary programme aims to provide a stimulating range of courses in this new subject, encompassing the history of literate western culture and focusing not only on books, but also newspapers, magazines, chapbooks, and broadsides. This course will also consider the manuscript of the period before print and enable students to ask what form the book takes in different periods, and how that form develops over time. As a man-made object, the course will further investigate the conditions of book manufacture, leading students into a discussion of the social, economic and cultural relations entailed in a book's production.

Required courses:

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

Optional courses:

  • Digital Publishing and Book Studies
  • The Book in the Ancient World
  • The Book in Renaissance Italy
  • Textual Scholarship and Contemporary Editorial Theory
  • The Historical Reader: The Practice and Representation of Reading 1400–1900
  • The Serial and the Book
  • Western Book Structures
  • The Look of the Book

Structure (MA): Six taught courses (the Medieval Book and Pinted Texts 1450-2010 and four option courses) plus a dissertation of 15,000 words.
Structure (MRes): Three taught courses selected from those available on the MA or the London Rare Books School programmes under the guidance of the Course Director and Course Tutor, plus a dissertation of 30,000 words.

Information for international students

All students whose first language is not English must be able to provide evidence that their written and spoken English language is adequate for postgraduate study. The University of London has been licensed to offer certificates to potential non-EU students under the UK Government's new immigration Points Based System.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For more information on funding opportunities please visit our website at http://www.sas.ac.uk/graduate-study/prospective-students/funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

School of Advanced Study Registry
020 7862 8662
020 7862 8725