Explore the UK and international publishing industries in-depth. Learn about the various aspects and processes of traditional and digital publishing from idea inception to production, legal issues, sales and marketing.
- Make contact with professional publishers through our industry links
- Get up-to-the-minute information on key issues and emerging technologies
- Compete for our prestigious Stationers’ Foundation bursary
- Join an industry that had a record-breaking year in 2017, with income up 5% to £5.7bn
Our MA Publishing degree will take you on a journey through the modern publishing industry, giving you vital skills and knowledge not only for a career in publishing, but in many other related fields as well.
You will investigate how publishing products and services are commissioned and brought to completion, including the modern production processes and business strategies used to succeed in the competitive media environment.
You will also consider the legal environment in which publishing operates, focussing on the management, sale and licensing of rights in publishing as well as looking at wider issues connected to digital publishing, such as contracts and rights negotiations.
We have links with local, national and even overseas organisations such as Cambridge University Press, Bloomsbury, Hachette, Hart McLeod, and Shakespeare and Company in Paris. These connections will provide you with many opportunities to make contacts for your career, including work placements, field trips and guest lectures from speakers who have worked on top projects such as Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We also run a professional mentoring scheme, giving you the chance to find a mentor in the industry relevant to your own interests.
As one of our MA Publishing students, you can also attend our publishing and marketing short courses free of charge, and apply for our annual bursaries, sponsored by Cambridge University Press and the Worshipful Company of Stationers.
This Master’s course was developed in close consultation with Cambridge University Press and other local publishers including ProQuest and Lutterworth’s, so you can be sure it meets the professional needs of today’s publishing industry.
Our MA Publishing will help you develop skills and knowledge for a career in the publishing industry or any field that involves editorial work, marketing, business planning or project management. Many of our graduates now work in a publishing-related role with companies such as Bloomsbury, Wiley Capstone, Pearson, Cambridge University Press and Macmillan.
You might also decide to continue on to a research degree, such as our PhD Publishing.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Creativity and Content in PublishingYou will cover issues, principles and practices related to the research, commissioning, preparation and packaging of publishing products and services in a variety of formats and on various platforms. You will consider the importance of determining the strategic direction of a publisher’s list, the publisher’s relationship with content creators, and the need for quality control in managing editorial projects. The module will introduce you to the world of contemporary publishing and the importance of different media markets. You will also be introduced to the processes by which publishers work with authors and designers in the preparation of text and images for publication in both print and electronic formats. Workshops will cover commissioning and editorial skills and in further sessions you will address issues such as marketing and the making of effective presentations. Industry specialists will be brought in where appropriate to introduce you to case studies in order to illustrate salient contemporary content management issues. The module will conclude with student group presentations of new product proposals. For assessment you will complete an editorial plan to present a new publishing idea. You will work in a group to submit an acquisitions proposal comprising appropriate documentation and graphics, as well as an assessed presentation.
Legal Rights and Data Issues in PublishingYou will cover issues, principles and practices related to the national and international legal environment in which publishing operates, and focus on the management, sale and licensing of rights in publishing, including predominant contemporary concerns about digital rights. You will also look at wider issues connected to digital publishing and how creative practice can be developed to make the most of the opportunities created by digital formats. You will become familiar with publishing contracts and rights negotiations for text, images and other creations. Also of vital importance will be other subsidiary rights, specifically the international market in translation rights and international co-editions. This learning will be supported by Workshops that will enable you to learn professional skills needed to negotiate rights purchase and sales, and to develop international co-editions. Further workshops will cover creative approaches to digital publishing environments. For your assessment you will take a short in-class test on legal publishing issues, and will prepare and present a paper at an internally organised symposium on Digital Publishing ideas.
The Business of PublishingYou will cover issues, principles and practices related to the management of publishing organisations as well as marketing in a publishing context, finally coming to an understanding of how publishing operates across various platforms. You will focus on the need to understand the competitive media environment. You will also explore organisational and management issues, and will be introduced to marketing principles and the skill of writing business plans. You will become familiar with different publishing organisations. You will also explore the variety of strategies employed by publishers and related businesses in order to successfully market their products. Industry specialists may introduce you to case studies in order to illustrate relevant contemporary industry issues. For your assessment you will complete an analysis of marketing strategies, based on sound marketing principles (e.g. segmentation, targeting, positioning, and list building policies), and conduct an analytical study of annual publishing finance reports.
Production Processes in PublishingYou will look at the design, production and distribution of publishing products and services in a variety of formats and on various platforms. You will become familiar with the processes and technologies used to transform a manuscript or data file into a print or digital publication suitable for audiences in local and international markets, as well as the relevant project management tools and methods. To help you understand and analyse aspects of the production process, you will attend a combination of lectures and seminars, while workshops will enable you to learn the practical skills you will need for working in a publishing environment. Using industry standard software and practices, you will learn how to take a project from initial briefing through to its distribution, covering specific production requirements for print and digital products and services. You might also have the chance to visit a printing works or publishing house. For your assessment you will undertake two written assignments: one will focus on an understanding of the design and production process, and the other will take the form of a portfolio of evidence of your work which will critically analyse and evaluate a chosen part of the process.
Major Project PublishingThis module is your opportunity to conduct a significant in-depth investigation of a publishing issue and produce a major project of 13,000 words. This can be a dissertation, a case study report related to your employment or work experience or a business plan for a publishing venture or activity that you intend to engage in on completion of your course.
You will show your progress on the course through a combination of essays, reports, business plans, book proposals and individual or group presentations, as well as your final Major Project.