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The MA provides students with a broad understanding and experience of the chronological range of book history from c.3000 BCE to 2000 CE. It introduces students to the range of disciplines that make up the subject, including bibliography, palaeography, codicology, bookbinding, history of printing, bibliometrics, history of publishing, history of reading and library history. The course provides frequent opportunities to handle archaeological and historical objects relating to the subject. Teachers are globally recognised experts in their fields.

The MA consists of one compulsory Research Methodologies module, a series of five taught modules (including two core courses) plus a dissertation of 15,000 words. Each taught module is worth 20 credits and consists of ten formal teaching sessions (each session is not less than 90 minutes and not more than 120 minutes duration) in a seminar format, plus one piece of written coursework. The dissertation is worth 60 credits.

Teaching takes places at the Institute of English Studies, in Senate House (University of London). All core and optional modules are taught on Wednesdays.


The MA in the History of the Book is assessed on the basis of course essays and a dissertation. The Research Methodologies course is assessed by two 2,500 word pieces of written coursework.

Each core and option module is examined by one essay of c.5,000 words or a coursework project of a similar scale. In addition, all students will complete a mandatory diagnostic essay of c.1,500 due at the end of October in the first term. This will be marked but does not constitute part of the assessment. It is designed to enable the teaching faculty to evaluate each student's progress and to provide help and advice as necessary.

The dissertation is 15,000 words and is due at the end of September. The research and writing of the dissertation is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor who will help structure the research programme, suggested reading, and respond to written work.


Many of our alumni establish successful careers in fields including academic librarianship, museum curatorship, publishing, and art. We have particular success placing students in the print and antiquarian book trade. Some students aim to progress to study at PhD level for a career in academia. Our programmes provide outstanding training in research skills and equip students with the intellectual framework and language proficiency to undertake independent research with confidence and success. Former students have progressed to PhD study (including AHRC studentships) at the Institute and elsewhere.

Interim Awards

Students will also achieve Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma awards in this course.

Study Modes

This course is also available as a Master of Research (MRes) degree. One third coursework, two-thirds research, this distinguished degree permits an even greater degree of specialism for those already drawn to a particular period or topic within book history, and assists them in acquiring research skills suitable for progression to MPhil/PhD study. To find out more about this, please visit our website.

Components of this course can also be taken as standalone modules for a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma. These courses are suitable for students who wish to learn more about the History of the Book but who cannot commit to a full MA.

Course options

Here are the different ways in which you can study MA in the History of the Book.

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees

£15,500.00 (14,49,650) per year




Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Senate House,



WC1E 7HU, England

Entry requirement for international students

The normal minimum academic entrance requirement for taught postgraduate programmes is an upper-second class honours degree from the United Kingdom or an international qualification of an equivalent standard. Applications may also be considered from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements, but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Version, 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London*

Find your nearest IELTS test centre and test dates

* Please check with your chosen school for the exact entry requirements for your programme.


Here are some scholarship that are available at Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Sambrook Fund Studentship

Value of scholarship

100% of fees covered

Application details:

1. Submit application to IES through SAS application system 2. After submitting application to IES, you will be interviewed by the programme leader and one other member of IES academic staff. 3. You will be notified by Registry Services if your application has been successful. Upon receipt of this notification, you may then apply for the studentship. Deadline for studentship applications: 30 April

Eligibility requirements:

Applicants for the Sambrook Fund Studentship must: 1. demonstrate excellent academic merit or potential in the field of study, evidenced particularly by past achievements; and 2. normally be in a position where undertaking the MA/MRes History of the Book would be difficult due to financial/personal circumstances. If studying part-time, fees will be waived for both years of the programme. Overseas candidates may apply, but the award value will only match the Home/EU tuition rate.

Who can apply:

Outside EU, All international

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