Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Working with Manuscripts as Historians HIST5147

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the opportunities and challenges which manuscripts, especially medieval manuscripts, present to historians. As well as being introduced to the wider field of manuscript studies, students will learn practical methodologies for analysing manuscripts and for placing texts in their 'material context'. Topics will include 'codicology'; scribes and scribal culture; and editions (from 19th-century volumes to 21st-century digital editions and digitised manuscripts).


10 x two-hour workshops as scheduled in mycampus

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





x1 critical essay reviewing one aspect of the manuscript studies literature (2000 words, 40%)

x1 critical review comparing two manuscripts or two editions of manuscripts (2500 words, 60%).

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Explore the challenges and opportunities for historians working with manuscripts

■ Introduce the field of manuscript studies and some of its core themes, especially as these relate to historian

■ Allow student to become familiar with practical methodologies for engaging with manuscripts and their texts with confidence (including codicology and palaeography)

■ Understand the challenges for working with digital and printed editions of manuscripts

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Critically evaluate aspects of the field of manuscript studies, especially as these relate to historians

■ Apply practical methodologies to manuscripts (including codicology and palaeography)

■ Evaluate the key challenges presented by digital and printed editions of manuscripts

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.