Book History is a dynamic and rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary study that examines the book as an artefact in material culture. This programme brings together theory and practice in new and innovative ways. We study the production, circulation and reception of books from manuscript to e-books, paying attention to the histories of reading and authorship.
The programme integrates traditional bibliography, advanced theoretical approaches, training in special collections, and hands-on experience. You will be taught by leading experts at the University’s renowned Centre for the History of the Book. Field trips and work placements will allow you to take advantage of the exceptional collections in Edinburgh.
The programme attracts outstanding students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. The degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.
You will complete two core and two option courses, along with training in research methods. You will then complete a supervised, independently-researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.
Option courses may include:
Work placement/internship opportunities
Work placements allow students to take advantage of the exceptional resources in Edinburgh for the study of books in order to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial in their future careers.
Placements may take place internally, for example in the Centre for Research Collections at the University Library, or externally with several partner organisations.
You will receive training from the placement supervisor, and will undertake well-defined projects in the course of your placement, such as cataloguing, conservation, collation, digitisation and other kinds of work.
You will reflect on your placement in a poster presentation, and it will provide material for an academic essay. Regular academic oversight of the work placement will be provided by the Course Organiser.
By the end of the programme, you will have a firm grasp of:
This programme will equip you with the detailed knowledge and research skills you need to progress to a research degree and continue a career in academia; or you may pursue a career in publishing, libraries, and the cultural heritage sector. You will graduate with a number of highly transferable skills in communication, project management and analysis that will give you an advantage, whatever your chosen career.
The MLitt in Book History is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of History.
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:
For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017-2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
This course will help you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible. Working with tutors and other writers on the course, you’ll develop your writing and build up a substantial body of work. Weekly workshops are taught by a strong team of published writers, and there are regular visits by literary agents, publishers, magazine editors and broadcasters, as well as other writers.
Due to the reputation of the MA in Creative Writing, we are able to recruit excellent students who form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers every year.
The course is modular and is currently offered for full-time study only.
• To plan a manuscript (a novel, collection of short stories, collection of poems or book of literary non-fiction) and complete it, or a substantial part of it, brought to publishable quality or as near as possible.
• To understand literary form, style and genre, as relevant to your chosen form of writing
• To acquire a variety of relevant writing techniques, and research techniques to support writing, and adapt them to your particular creative project.
• To understand and respond creatively to questions arising from the subject-matter, themes, genres, traditions and other literary contexts with which your chosen manuscript is engaged.
• To receive and give precise and sensitive critical feedback in workshop groups and one-to-one tutorials.
• To respond creatively to feedback provided by tutors and other students, adapting that feedback to your particular vision of your book.
• To understand choices and opportunities relevant to your chosen manuscript, including questions of how to place your work, and the role of agents, publishers and editors.
Each student will take two workshop modules, two context modules and a double module entitled 'The Manuscript':
In the first trimester ‘Professional Skills’ provides intensive group discussion and some plenary lectures. You’ll bring short pieces of writing to workshop groups consisting of a tutor and not more than seven other students. There are separate groups for prose and poetry. You’ll submit a manuscript proposal halfway through the module.
In trimester two, you’ll take a second workshop module in either prose or poetry.
Each context module explores connections between your creative writing and the wider world as represented by a theme or genre. Seminars are divided between considering set texts and workshopping your creative writing. You’ll take a context module in trimester one and another in trimester two.
In trimester three, ‘The Manuscript’ will be taught by means of one-to-one tutorials. This is the culmination of the course – the book, or substantial part of a book.
For more information on course structure and modules please go to: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-creative-writing/
You’ll be taught in group workshops and seminars, one-to-one tutorials, plenary lectures and a residential weekend.
The teaching team in 2015-16 included the novelists Ian Breckon, Nathan Filer, Maggie Gee, Tessa Hadley, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Beatrice Hitchman,Tricia Wastvedt, Fay Weldon and Gerard Woodward, the poets Tim Liardet, Lucy English, Neil Rollinson and Sean Borodale, the historical novelists Celia Brayfield and Kylie Fitzpatrick, the nature writer and memoirist Richard Kerridge, the nature writer Stephen Moss, the travel writer Joe Roberts and the literary memoirist Gavin Cologne-Brookes.
You’ll be assessed entirely by coursework: mainly creative writing, plus two short essays, a manuscript proposal and a short commentary on the manuscript in progress.
For more information on assessment please see the course handbook: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/media/bathspaacuk/course-handbooks/course-handbooks/PG-Creative-Writing-Handbook-2016-17.pdf
Current or former students have been awarded excellent contracts for novels; been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize, Costa Prize and the Guardian First Book Award; received the Betty Trask Prize, Manchester Book Award and a W.H. Smith New Talent Award, and reached the best-seller lists.
In recent years, several current or former students have been awarded excellent contracts for novels; Two were long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, three for the Orange Prize, one for the Costa Prize and one for the Guardian First Book Award. One received the Betty Trask Prize; another the Manchester Book Award; another a W.H. Smith New Talent Award. One reached the best-seller lists. Student poets have had their poetry accepted for publication in numerous literary journals, including Ambit, Magma, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, PN Review and The Reader, among others, and have been placed in such competitions as the Bridport, the Frogmore, Mslexia, and Writers Inc. Janklow and Nesbit Ltd, a leading literary agency, awards an annual prize for the best novel or novel in progress by a student on the course.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Our graduates have an excellent employment record. Many take up positions in type design studios, with publishers and general design studios, and wayfinding and information design studios. Others develop their own businesses, or take up managerial roles in creative firms. Employers include Apple, Monotype, Microsoft Typography, Victoria & Albert Museum, Oxford University Press, Financial Times and Nokia.