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Digital Publishing

MA, PGDip

School of Arts

This programme provides an excellent overview of every aspect of publishing, with an emphasis on digital publishing. The MA in Digital Publishing combines theory with practice and provides scope to develop specialist skills required for career development. You will graduate with a broad understanding of the key issues facing the publishing industry in the 21st century and a wide range of publishing and general management skills, including advanced IT skills, to help you succeed in the industry.

Digital Publishing is part of a group of publishing courses, run by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (within the School of Arts), which enjoy a high international standing in the publishing world. We have close links with publishing companies in Oxford and London, and staff have extensive experience in national and international publishing roles.

Our publishing programmes provide you with the skills, knowledge and networks to kickstart your career in publishing, or to improve your current position.

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MA: 12 months, PGDip: 9 months
  • Part time: MA: 24 months, PGDip: 18 months

UCAS Postgraduate code

36906

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

If you choose an MA in Digital Publishing at Oxford Brookes you will benefit from:

  • Unrivalled industry links and networking through connections with publishing organisations such as the Independent Publishers Guild, OPuS (Oxford Publishing Society) and the Society of Young Publishers – regular events are held at Oxford Brookes. We also have an extensive network of alumni throughout the world
  • Publishing at Oxford Brookes is rated number 2 in the 2016 Guardian University Guide, in the category Journalism, Publishing and Public Relations. The programmes have been awarded the Creative Skillset tick by experts working in the creative industries
  • Teaching by staff who have written many of the key texts on publishing, and supported by an Advisory Board comprising some of the most senior publishers in the UK, with an extensive list of visiting speakers and associate lecturers who are leading industry specialists.
  • Visits to London, Frankfurt and Bologna book fairs, and the opportunity to attend an international Summer School in Florence with students from Slovenia, Germany, Italy and France.
  • Oxford is a global centre for the publishing industry and you will have unrivalled access to work experience in Oxford, London and elsewhere.
  • We offer International internships, a range of scholarships, and provide specialist careers advice, including our Working in Publishing Day.

The MA consists of five compulsory modules and one elective module plus a dissertation or major project. The PGDip consists of five compulsory modules and one elective module. Compulsory modules and optional modules are listed below.

In Semester 1 you take Design and Production, Editorial Management and Content Development, and Sales, Marketing and Consumer Insight.

In Semester 2 you take the two digital modules and choose on additional optional module to develop your skills and knowledge in a specialist area of publishing.

To gain an MA you must also submit a dissertation or a major project (15,000 words or equivalent for major projects).

See Postgraduate information at Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies.

Compulsory modules
  • Design and Production for Publishing explores the role of the design and production department in the publishing process. It looks closely at current working practices in areas such as design and typography, project management, the evaluation and selection of appropriate media platforms, the buying of raw materials and manufacturing processes, and the use of external resources.
  • Editorial Management explores the strategic role of the editor within the publishing process and the knowledge and skills required for the development of new projects, whether in print or digital form.
  • Marketing Management for Publishing provides a systematic examination of the key concepts and disciplines of marketing and their relationship and relevance to the products of publishing. It includes coverage of the marketing mix, consumer behaviour, segmentation, targeting and positioning, and elements of market research.
  • Digital Publishing Strategy enables you to engage with the dynamic nature of a rapidly evolving part of the publishing industry. The technological basis for the products themselves will be examined and the strategic reasons for developing them critically appraised. You will learn about the process and management of digital product design and development.
  • Multi-Platform Publishing offers an examination of forms of digital publishing with particular reference to epub and apps. Industry standards in markup and eBook formats are covered in detail with particular focus on differences between platforms and methods of distribution. Expertise grows through the use of more sophisticated enhancements to the content with multimedia, animation and interactivity. 
Optional modules
  • Academic and Professional Publishing provides you with an understanding of the nature of scholarly communication and the current debates surrounding topics such as research funding, open access and peer review. The convergence of books and journals in this area and the emergence of new publishing and business models to suit the market will be investigated along with the development of digital solutions.
  • International Rights Management introduces the management of rights in the fast-moving world of global publishing. As well as looking at the acquisition of rights from the author, and the different rights contracted, the module covers the rights function within the publishing house and its responsibility for licensing a range of products.
  • History and Culture of Publishing examines the culture and ideology of publishing in terms of its development throughout the 20th century, and its contemporary practice. Different theories of print culture and critiques of the role of the publisher in society are reviewed, and there is an examination of ideological challenges to the culture of publishing.
  • Magazine Publishing provides a comprehensive insight into and understanding of the international magazine industry and its place as both a print and electronic product. It covers a range of contemporary issues and business models, exploring the job roles involved in the production of magazines and addressing the issues of editorial content, marketing, branding, technology, law and design.
  • Children's Publishing explores the development of the market sector and the current shape and business practices of publishing for children and young adults. Topics include picture books, co-editions and translatability; the sector's links to other leisure industries, merchandising and content reuse; editing and censorship; age ranging and gatekeeping; literacy and reading campaigns; and promotion.
  • Fiction and Non-fiction Publishing are perennially popular business models within the publishing world, and the globalisation and digitisation of the consumer book landscape have only enhanced one of the most dynamic and creative sectors of the industry. Within this module, you will explore the range and depth of pitfalls and possibilities intrinsic to this ever-changing aspect of publishing. You will gain an understanding of the importance of verticals in consumer publishing and as well as the elasticity of the role of the author.
  • Independent Study in Publishing offers you the opportunity to design a course of study to suit your own interests and concerns. It might be to study an area not specifically taught during the course, to conduct a study based on your work experience, or a study that fits with your career or business plans. Practical projects are suitable as an independent study, but should be accompanied by an analytical report. You will organise and carry out a work schedule set by yourself will determine a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria in collaboration with the module leader and a supervisor.
Compulsory for the MA
  • Dissertation or Major Project is the defining and essential component for the award of the MA degree. It is a major in-depth investigation of a subject, theme or issue significant to the study of publishing through research and extended written work (15,000 words or equivalent for major projects).
Please note, as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.

Teaching and learning

Some of the key teaching methods we use are:

  • lectures that provide you with foundation knowledge and a framework for study that will enable you to achieve the module's learning outcomes
  • seminars and workshops that encourage you to engage in discussion with tutors and peers to test your understanding and ability to apply ideas, to develop your transferable skills, and to encourage deeper learning
  • computer workshops to give you the opportunity to test, clarify, and apply your IT skills
  • field trips to book fairs and to the industry, for example, printers, publishers, retailers, so that you can observe at first hand aspects of the industry taught in lectures and workshops
  • work experience and internship opportunities across a broad range of departments and market sectors
  • group work role play simulating new product development in a real-life publishing context
  • individual supervision in support of self-directed outcomes for the dissertation or major project
  • use of resource-based learning materials and virtual learning environment to support your learning through computer-aided assessment and computer-aided learning.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is primarily by coursework. A limited number of class tests assess your skills in applying marketing terms and in proof reading.

Assignments in all modules are designed to assess your knowledge and skills developed during the period of study. These closely align with industry practice so that through the programme you gain in confidence in your ability to complete live publishing projects. After successfully completing the programme you are ready to enter the publishing industry as an effective employee.

Specialist facilities

Facilities available to publishing students include a purpose-built IT suite with an interactive whiteboard and sound and video projection. All students have the opportunity to learn and use professional software such as Adobe Creative Suite which includes InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop and other software used for digital production. These technologies are taught in workshops and assessment for some modules involves producing course work using these programmes.

The library carries a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of books, journals and electronic resources relating to publishing. Students have access to many databases including Book Facts Online, the Bookseller, Business Source Complete, Fame, Global Publishing Information Reports, Logos, Mintel, Nielsen Bookscan, and Pirabase.

The library also includes a number of special collections of relevance to publishing students and researchers such as The Booker Prize Archive, André Deutsch Collection, Publishing in Africa Collection and the Book Design Collection.

Field trips

Study trips and book fairs are a key part of the courses, and each year students can attend the Frankfurt, Bologna and London Book Fairs, as well as attending the publishing summer school with our European Partners in Florence. These trips are optional and the cost is not included in tuition fees.

Associated costs

 We aim to keep extra costs to a minimum.  

  • There may be some core text books that you might want to buy, rather than borrow from the library. 
  • You will incur printing costs for coursework and dissertations. 
  • Field trips are at your own expense.  Cost range from about £10 for a trip to London, to £300 if you join our optional trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Attendance pattern

The attendance pattern in the first semester follows a predictable schedule. Following a full week of induction before the teaching calendar starts, your week involves lectures, seminars and workshops occupying Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday and Friday are available for you to pursue work experience opportunities which we help you arrange or to work on your course work, either singly or in your groups. Semester two follows a similar programme of a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops, group work and voluntary work at Oxford Literary Festival and London Book Fair. Your module choice will determine the days you will attend, and the other days in the week will be occupied with work experience and course work. There are occasional evening lectures by visiting speakers or those organised through Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) and Society of Young Publishers (SYP).

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2017/18: £7,495 2018/19: £7,640

Home/EU - part time fee: 2017/18: £3,820 2018/19: £3,900

International - full time: 2017/18: £13,200 2018/19: £13,460

International - part time fee : 2017/18: £6,730 2018/19: £6,860

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

There are a number of scholarships and funding schemes available for students on our courses. 

In past years we have offered a range of scholarships, such as the following: London Book Fair Scholarship, Wiley Scholarship, and the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (International) Scholarship and the Stationers' Foundation. These ranged in value from £1000 to £6,000.

For details of the latest scholarships available please visit http://arts.brookes.ac.uk/scholarships

With regard to University schemes, our students have had considerable success in obtaining a variety of awards including the John Henry Brookes Scholarship and the Santander Scholarship. Assistance is available in preparing applications for all scholarships. Please contact an academic member of staff to discuss your application. 

Entry requirements

Entrants to the programme should possess the following minimum qualifications:

  • A second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in any subject 

or

  • An appropriate professional background and experience in the publishing industry.

Applicants should also demonstrate a commitment to work in the publishing or communications industries. This attribute is usually evidenced through the application and personal statement, references or at interview.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each component.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS Postgraduate.

Through UCAS Postgraduate, you should use the UKPASS portal to make your application, which will then be forwarded directly to our Admissions Office. You should send supporting documentation to us directly using the email addresses on the UKPASS application form.

You do not need to wait for your references before you apply and while we do not have a deadline for applications and continue to accept students through the summer, the earlier you apply, the earlier we can respond. 

We usually offer an interview to applicants which can be in person if you live near Oxford. Alternatively, we can telephone you or offer a Skype interview.

Successful applicants who have accepted their place are then invited to join a Facebook group so that they can get to know each other before joining us in September.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

In addition to the and knowledge of contemporary publishing strategies and issues provided through the formal teaching in the compulsory and optional modules, you will develop a professional network which will enable you to navigate effectively through this international industry. You will gain skills in team working, digital and financial literacy, marketing and sales that combined with an innovative approach to contemporary media issues will enable you to start or to enhance your career in publishing.

Our publishing courses attract graduates from a wide range of disciplines who are seeking entry with advanced standing into the publishing industry. We also attract people wishing to update and enhance their knowledge of publishing practice and people working in publishing who are seeking knowledge outside their own specialist field in order to advance their careers.

Candidates from around the world enrol on the course to learn about publishing within the context of a global industry - in the past three years we have had postgraduate students from over 30 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.

Careers

A Digital Publishing MA will provide you with the skills, knowledge and equally important access to networks that kick-start your career in publishing, or improve your current position.

"I got my dream job. The course made the difference..., and the head of sales told me that everyone in publishing knows that graduates from Brookes have an excellent preparation and knowledge of publishing."
Elena Bianco

Graduates who have completed publishing courses at Oxford Brookes have been exceptionally successful in obtaining employment soon after graduation and have a strong record of career progression because our courses enjoy a high international standing. Our flexible work experience opportunities with local, regional, national and international publishing enterprises provide you with the essential up-to-date practical knowledge that will enhance your employment prospects on completing the programme. In addition our teaching staff have extensive experience in national and international publishing roles and a broad range of contacts that are at your disposal for your individual interests in this diverse industry.

While studying with us, you will develop a wide range of publishing and general management skills, including digital publishing  proficiency. Graduates who have completed our publishing courses have been exceptionally successful in obtaining employment in trade, children's journals, ELT and schools publishing, rights management, digital and production roles. Our alumni have strong records of career progression.

Our graduates have established an enviable reputation in the publishing industry and they are extremely successful in obtaining good jobs fast. Evidence from our alumni suggests that they are able to enter the industry at a higher level than would otherwise have been possible. Our international alumni are working in publishing companies in New York, rights management in Toronto, production in India, digital enterprises in Kenya and a variety of roles throughout European publishing companies. In addition, European and UK students are working in Oxford and Cambridge University Presses, Taylor and Francis, Simon and Schuster, Sage, Penguin, Elsevier, Touch Press, Lion Hudson and Barefoot Books to name only a few. 

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

Research highlights

The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS) is one of the leading centres for publishing education in the world. Our staff and students contribute to a vibrant research environment that is interdisciplinary in emphasis and international in scope. We focus on areas such as book consumption and the life cycle of books, book trade and publishing history (especially 18th-21st centuries), museum publishing, serials publications, pedagogy and publishing education, and the future of the industry. Members of staff have published award-winning monographs, key pedagogical textbooks, and a range of scholarly articles and edited collections.

Students pursuing doctoral studies with us are investigating such topics as girls' magazines in the cultural and consumer marketplace, the future of university libraries, German publishing in the First World War, and marketing strategies for children’s literature in the Middle East. We also supervise students for the PhD by Publication. Most of our research students are based in Oxford, but a number work on their studies from a distance with regular contact in person and by email.

Research is supported by the resources of Oxford Brookes Library –especially its Special Collections featuring the Booker Archive, the Publishing in Africa Collection, the Rainbird Archive, and the Peter Stockham Collection of Children’s Books—as well as by other local and regional archives and university libraries. 

OICPS carries out independent research and training with the international publishing industry. Recent research and consultancy clients include the British Council, Hewlett Packard, the Society of Experimental Biology and Sports Books.

If you have a topic relating to publishing that you would like to study at doctoral level, please contact us with a preliminary synopsis.

Research areas and clusters

The OICPS can offer PhD and MPhil supervision in the following areas:

  • The Culture and History of Publishing: Late nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century print culture, publishing and book history. Examples of specific research areas might include authorship, reading and literary sociology, contemporary fiction and literary prizes, and the impact of editorial and technological issues on culture and society.
  • International, Strategy, Policy and Development: Studies of contemporary publishing in local, regional and national contexts, issues of development and publishing. Geographical areas (outside the UK) where there is particular staff expertise include: Africa, China, Europe.
  • Publishing by museums, galleries and other institutions: Studies of publishing processes and practices (both in print and digital) by institutions including systems of representation through print and digital media.

Projects can also be co-supervised with members of the Department of English and Modern Languages, the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, the Faculty of Business and the School of Arts.