Publishing (Distance Learning)

MA or PGDip or PGCert

Start dates: January 2024 / January 2025

Part time: MA 32 months, PGDip 24 months, PGCert 12 months

Location: Distance learning

Department(s): School of Arts

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Publishing (distance learning) is a flexible learning programme. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed for successful entry into publishing, while studying from home.

This course closely follows our established campus-based MA publishing degrees. We have designed it to address publishing employers' needs. But more importantly, so that you can study while in employment in any field.

The publishing industry needs individuals who are able to assess, evaluate and synthesize data. So you will develop skills and knowledge in:

  • marketing
  • production
  • editorial functions
  • data analysis
  • writing practices.

As part of a study group of other students, you will be supported by a tutor. As well as a Subject Coordinator who will give you further academic guidance.

All modules are delivered online using interactive features of the virtual learning environment (VLE), Moodle.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Industry-led content
    Our extensive global publishing industry links mean our course content is highly relevant and topical, so will
    equip you for a promising career.
  • Professional software & market data resources
    You will be given an Adobe Creative Cloud license and access to Nielsen BookScan.
  • Industry events
    Attend professional events such as The Booksellers Kid’s Conference online, London Book Fair, and Frankfurt International Book Fair.
  • High employability rates
    Our graduates have a strong track record of winning industry Rising Star awards, securing dream jobs and fast promotions thanks to the thorough grounding from the course.
  • Designed for flexibility
    This course mirrors our campus-based publishing degrees, but it’s designed to be part-time so it can fit around full-time employment from anywhere in the world.

Course details

Course structure

This part-time course is usually studied over 32 months. However, you can take up to 5 years to complete the necessary credits.

In your first year you will take four core compulsory modules covering:

  • Sales and Marketing for Publishing
  • Digital Production and Workflow
  • Editorial Management, Functions and Strategies

In the second year you choose one module per semester from the following options:

  • either International Publishing and Rights, or Data-driven Marketing for Publishing or Independent Study
  • either Culture of Publishing, Journals or Independent Study.
  • either Children's and YA Publishing, or Publishing and Product Innovation or Independent Study.

The Independent Study module is specifically designed to provide you with a structured pedagogic framework in which to reflect on and develop your experience of work in publishing. You can only select the Independent Study module once.

In the final year, you will complete your studies with a longer period of research and writing (about 8 months) for a 15,000-word dissertation or major project.

Student working on Apple Mac

Learning and teaching

The course has a modular framework of compulsory and optional modules. These provide core competencies and knowledge and allow you to tailor your programme.

The modules are designed to accommodate a range of learning styles and personal circumstances. They are delivered using:

  • written materials and supplied textbooks
  • supplementary video and audio

Teaching methods include:

  • discussion forums
  • individual reading
  • investigative practices to engage actively with your study.

Study groups

You'll be part of a small study group with an Associate Tutor. You also have support from the Subject Coordinator.

The Programme Lead:

  • oversees the tutors’ involvement with you
  • provides the tutors with guidance
  • acts as a second level of support to you.

Work experience

We are unable to guarantee work experience. However, OICPS has an international network of contacts and alumni. If you would like to pursue some work experience while you are studying we will provide, where possible, links for you.


Your assessments will be diverse, and will support different learning styles - you’ll have a real opportunity to showcase your strengths. Your learning may be assessed by a combination of individual or group coursework, examinations, and presentations. The assessment methods chosen will be based on your learning needs, individual aims and the academic standards expected for the course.

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Marketing and Sales Management for Publishing (20 credits)

    This module provides a systematic examination of the key concepts and disciplines of marketing and sales and their relationships and relevance to the marketing and business practices in the publishing industry. Core marketing and sales issues required for print and electronic products and services are covered along with the concepts and tools necessary to operate in a marketing and sales environment. You engage with specifics of marketing in a publishing context including the marketing mix, consumer behaviour, segmentation, targeting and positioning, and elements of market research. Marketing theory and its application to publishing is presented and the module provides opportunities for you to apply this knowledge in producing a marketing plan for a new product.

  • Digital Production and Workflow Management (20 credits)

    This module focuses on the production and delivery of publishing products in a digital environment. It examines project management and workflow issues associated with the design and production of both printed and digital products. Particular attention is given to analysing and evaluating the changes that digital technology is bringing about to the ways in which products are developed and produced in the publishing industry. Key issues affecting the design and production strategies and business practices for print, ebooks, and web are discussed. Management skills such as planning, organising, briefing, costing and controlling a project from inception to completion are developed. Strategies and practices for international aspects of the publishing industry are investigated and the opportunities and constraints for the publisher are assessed.

  • Editorial management, functions and strategies (20 credits)

    Introduction to the role of the commissioning editor in contemporary publishing, within a range of market sectors. You explore the strategic role of the editor in the publishing process and acquire the knowledge and skills required for the development of economically viable new projects in both print and digital form. This module includes coverage of the editorial process in a digital environment, both in terms of content delivery and workflow. Topics covered include the importance and application of market research, working with authors and agents, and the management and exploitation of intellectual property. Financial responsibilities of the editor are presented and the necessity of business acumen demonstrated. Development of new products, with particular emphasis on list building and adding value to a company, are key subjects for study.

Optional modules


International management of publishing and rights (20 credits)

This module addresses different strategic options for the international development and management of contemporary publishing organisations and explores models for the commercial exploitation of intellectual property rights worldwide, including: exporting, licensing and building locally. This module will cover the important aspects of copyright and moral rights, the sale of translation rights and co-editions and other subsidiary rights. Digital licensing and the protection of IP against infringement are also covered.

Data-driven Marketing for Publishing (20 credits)

This module builds on the theoretical foundations of sales and marketing covered in the first year modules in order to apply digital marketing methods used in the publishing industry today such as email marketing, online content marketing, serving of online subscription content and online advertising. Students will identify opportunities for collecting business-critical data and how to process, analyse, make professional recommendations, and take strategic marketing actions. They will also consider the ethical and legal issues of working with consumer data. Through a variety of learning methods, case studies, problem scenarios and online activities, you will learn to identify and implement digital marketing techniques underpinning the publishing industry in the 21st Century.

Independent Study (20 credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to formulate a programme of study with assessment criteria that is based on work experience in the publishing or closely related industries. This enables you to devise, negotiate, organise and carry out reflective analysis of a period of work or a specific project according to a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria in collaboration with the module leader and a supervisor. The programme of study is aimed at practical industry-based experiences and may include, for example, reporting on practical exploration of an issue of relevance to the publishing industry; or developing a practical project (eg website, newsletter, promotion materials). Critical reflection on your own work and on that of others is an integral aspect of the module.

Culture of Publishing (20 credits)

This module explores theoretical approaches to print culture and transitions in the publishing industry from the early 20th century to the present day. Through reading a range of key texts in the discipline, and through participation in online seminar discussions, you consider a wide range of interpretations and critiques of the role of the publisher in society. Included are a discussion of methodologies for studying book history and publishing culture, both sociological and paratextual. There is a consideration of the gate-keeping function of the publisher, and the publisher’s role in the negotiation of cultural and commercial value in texts. The module then considers how ideological challenges are linked to specific developments in the history of publishing in the past century.

Management of journals (20 credits)

This module introduces you to the economically and academically important area of journals publishing. It covers both electronic and paper-based serial publications across science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences, and the arts. Journals publishing is characterised by rapid technological change from workflow and production to online submissions systems. You investigate leading edge technologies and address the responses of publishers to this fast-changing environment, evolving business models, and the wider context set by the academy, government and the international knowledge economy.

Publishing and Product Innovation (20 credits)

This applied module builds on the foundations of marketing, editorial and production from the first year. You will explore publishing and product innovation, investigate how cultural and commercial value is generated from intellectual property globally, before finally developing your own ideas for a product, service or business. The aim of this module is to allow you to strengthen your competency in technical, business and creative skills through a sequence of research and design tasks.

Children's and Young Adult Publishing (20 credits)

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation or Major Project

    The 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).  In preparation, for this module you will be introduced to research methods, data analysis, critical reading and writing skills culminating in the submission of a research proposal.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The Oxford International Centre for Publishing (OICP) is one of the leading centres for publishing education in the world. 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
  • the future of the industry.

Research is supported by the resources of Oxford Brookes Library. The Special Collections feature:

  • the Booker Archive
  • the Publishing in Africa Collection
  • the Rainbird Archive
  • the Peter Stockham Collection of Children’s Books.

OICP carries out independent research and training with the international publishing industry. Recent clients include:

  • the British Council
  • Hewlett Packard
  • the Society of Experimental Biology
  • Sports Books.

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

  • The Culture and History of Publishing
  • International, Strategy, Policy and Development
  • Publishing by museums, galleries and other institutions.


This course is targeted at individuals who either want to start a career in publishing or who are already working and want to enhance their career with an advanced degree.

If you are a recent graduate who wants to enter publishing but are unable to continue with full time study then this programme enables you to develop appropriate knowledge of the industry. If you are already working and want to progress your career or change career, then the topics we cover in this programme provide the basis for this change.

Our students have been successful in building fulfilling careers with a wide range of publishers, including:

  • BBC
  • Bloosmbury
  • Oxford University Press
  • Pearson
  • UNESCO (France)
  • Bonnier.

Our Staff

Alexandra Shakespeare

Working with retail brands and newsstand publications to create compelling content for a variety of audiences, Alexandra is expert at both crafting copy and strategising editorial concepts.

Read more about Alexandra

Helena Markou

Helena Markou is a Senior Lecturer and the Subject Coordinator for the MA Publishing responsible for curating the taught aspects of the programme. In addition to tutoring across all aspects of publishing, she is passionate about supporting people in their publishing careers and continued professional development

Read more about Helena

Related courses

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

For 2024 entry, the induction will start on Monday 15 January.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) distance learning

International distance learning

Home (UK) distance learning

International distance learning

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) distance learning

International distance learning

2025 / 26
Home (UK) distance learning

International distance learning

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.