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 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.
The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.
It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond taught work and are prepared to engage in research in depth for a substantial postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills, and to study broader historical subjects with other postgraduates.
Times Higher Education ranked the Department of History first in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
After consultation with your academic supervisor, you can pursue a research thesis in any aspect of British or European history, including European discovery of the wider world, political, military or diplomatic history, or the history of early modern religion, culture, society or ideas.
You willl study three taught modules:
You will then complete a 20,000-word thesis on an agreed topic which relates to early modern history and which can be appropriately supervised by a member of academic staff.
Modules are assessed in various ways – by examination, coursework, presentation, transcription and attendance.
Past and current MRes topics for the 20,000 word thesis have included:
You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.
The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.
You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: History
Birmingham’s History graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills that are highly valued by a range of employers. These skills include: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.
Some of our History postgraduates go on to use their studies directly, for example in heritage, museums or the armed forces; others use their transferable skills in a range of occupations from finance, to publishing, to fundraising. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Royal Air Force; Ministry of Defence; University of Birmingham; Big Lottery Fund; Royal Air Force Museum; and University of Oxford.
The programme is designed as a research preparation masters. It is intended to encourage students to be intellectually ambitious by inducting them into the community of historians. It invites students to understand the relationship between their own specialist field and the historical discipline in general as well as to communicate with wider audiences. Students will feel sufficiently confident in their own disciplinary identity and mastery of the subject to be able to converse with those in other fields. The programme is a taught course with an emphasis on disciplinary training supplied by the department’s subject specialists with expertise in an outstanding range of areas (Europe, Britain, North America, Africa, China and Japan) and inter-disciplinary engagement, while offering opportunities for supported independent study. Students will be able – and are indeed encouraged – to access and use Durham’s exceptional cluster of libraries, archives, and special collections.
All students on the MA in History are required to take the team-taught Core Module Themes, Reading and Sources (30 credits) which runs throughout Michaelmas and Epiphany terms. Depending on whether they opt for the 60-credit Dissertation pathway or the 90-credit Dissertation pathway, they also take either 3 or 2 Optional Modules (each worth 30 credits) which run either in Michaelmas or Epiphany or throughout both terms. The options may also be language, skills and content modules, provided by other centres, programmes and departments with the consent of all parties concerned. All these elements have embedded within them a range of content, subject-specific skills, and key skills.
This module is compulsory for all MA students and provides them with the bulk of the disciplinary training providing specific and direct training in disciplinary practices, theories, approaches and methodologies. It is intended to guide all students regardless of their period specialism from a more tutor-led to independent learning on to their dissertation by combining a focus on primary sources across periods with thematic and historiographical approaches. The module will run throughout the entire academic year combining from the outset a focus on hands-on work with primary sources and discussion of related pieces of historiography (social, cultural, political etc.) and theoretical readings concerning specific themes, concepts and theories (gender, power, class, the state, transnationalism, globalization etc.). The module is taught in a series of seminars and familiarises students with the skills and problems integral to advanced historical work. It develops their capacity for independent research, their ability to effectively present oral and written results, as well as their organizational and leadership skills in chairing discussions. TRS provides a context in which students assess and comment critically on the findings of others, defend their conclusions in a reasoned setting, advance their knowledge and deepen their understanding of history.
Assessment is by 4,000-word essay centring on particular primary sources or an archive (80% of the module mark). The remaining 20% of the module mark comes from a 20-minute presentation on students' dissertation topics plus 10 minutes Q&A at the MA Conference in the Easter term.
These modules focus on a specific theme or problem within various areas of History, and provide subject-specific knowledge and skills. They are taught by the department’s subject specialists in a series of seminars with an emphasis on work with primary sources providing a 'step up' from L3 in terms of disciplinary engagement with historiography, approaches, methodologies, concepts and theories.
Optional modules might include:
Assessment is by 5,000-word essay.
In order to facilitate cross- and interdisciplinary engagement, students may opt to take modules from cognate MA programmes such as those offered by Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures (CVAC) and the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) with the consent of all parties concerned.
Students may also opt to take a language or skills module or both (Modern Languages; Latin; Greek; Old Norse, Paleography), generally taught in seminars and assessed by an unseen examination.