Taught course

The History of the Book

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

Entry requirements

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

Months of entry

October, September

Course content

The University of London’s MA degree in the History of the Book is the oldest postgraduate programme in this growing area in the humanities. Each year we welcome a range of students from varied educational and professional backgrounds and from many different countries.

The University’s location in central London provides easy access to unrivalled library and museum resources, and the programme draws on a range of tutors, each of whom are international experts in their field. There are opportunities to undertake placement work in the rare book trade.
This programme can also lead to the award of an MRes degree.

The history of the book is concerned with the making, manufacturing, distribution and reading of books, and thus offers a unique way of understanding different literary, cultural, social, intellectual, and technological processes in history.

The subject extends to include newspapers, magazines, chapbooks, ephemera, digital text, and all kinds of printed or written media. It also includes the manuscript book in all its forms from the pre-classical, classical, and medieval periods.

In this programme we explore the different material forms the book has taken over time, from clay tablets to computer screens. Core courses provide a comprehensive overview of the book from the medieval period to the present day. Optional courses allow for in-depth analysis of the history of specific components of the book, such as bindings, and book illustration, as well as focused courses on key topics, including textual editing, digital publishing, and the history of reading. There is also an exciting opportunity to work as an intern in the London rare book trade.

Fees and funding

Learn more at the funding page.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details