The MA consists of three compulsory modules and three elective modules plus a dissertation or major project. The PGDip consists of three compulsory modules and three elective modules. The compulsory 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 choose three optional modules to develop skills and knowledge in specialist areas of publishing.
To gain an MA you must also submit a dissertation or a major project (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.
See Postgraduate information at Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies.Compulsory modules
- Design and Production explores the digital aspects of design and production in the publishing process. It looks closely at current working practices in areas such as content 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 and Content Development 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.
- Sales, Marketing and Consumer Insight 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 including SEO.
Compulsory for the MA
- 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 are examined and the strategic reasons for developing them critically appraised. You will learn about the process and management of digital product design and development.
- 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 are 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.
- Multi-Platform Publishing examines 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Teaching and learning
As a student studying with us, you will engage in a range of teaching and learning experiences. 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 graduate attributes, and to encourage deeper learning
- computer workshops to give you the opportunity to test, clarify, and apply your digital 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 for example, simulating new product development in a real-life publishing context
- individual supervision in support of self-directed outcomes for the dissertation, major project or independent study module
- use of resource-based learning materials and virtual learning environments to support student learning through computer-aided assessment and computer-aided learning.
Approach to assessment
Assignments in all modules are designed to assess your knowledge and skills developed during the period of study. It is nearly all coursework with a few class tests. These are designed to 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.
Assessment is primarily by coursework. A limited number of class tests assess your skills in applying marketing terms and in proofreading.
Facilities available to publishing students include a purpose-built Apple Macintosh 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 and Nielsen Bookscan.
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.
Study trips and book fairs are a key part of the courses, and each year students attend the Frankfurt, Bologna and London Book Fairs. These trips are optional and the cost is not included in tuition fees. Further links with the contemporary publishing industry are available such as opportunities to volunteer at the Oxford Literary Festival, participate in Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) meetings and attend seminars conducted by speakers from the industry.
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. Costs are about £10 for a trip to London, about £300 if you join our optional trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair and about £300 if you join our optional trip to the Children's Book Fair in Bologna.
Attendance pattern in the first semester follows a predictable schedule. Following the induction week which takes place 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).