This part-time programme is usually studied over 32 months. However, you are able to take up to 5 years to complete the necessary credits.
Four core compulsory modules make up the first year and address marketing and sales, digital production and workflow, and editorial as publishing-related topics and research skills as preparation for the later dissertation.
In the second year, you choose one module from each of two groups: either International Publishing and Rights or Independent Study; and then either Culture of Publishing, Journals 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 may, however, select the Independent Study module once only.
Your programme is completed with a longer period of research and writing (about 6 months), supported by a supervisor, which culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation.
Marketing and Sales Management for publishing 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 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 introduces 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. Through a variety of learning methods and activities this module emphasises the knowledge base and the intellectual, interpersonal and practical skills needed by editors to face the opportunities for and threats to publishers in the 21st century.
Research Skills provides an in-depth introduction to the culture of research, to research methods and skills such as critical reading and level 7 academic writing skills. It guides you in theorising, structuring and designing research for publishing and ultimately in the approaches required for writing the dissertation. Data sources for publishing are examined and the final proposal prepares you for the later dissertation, although the skills learned and practised in this module are also applicable to practical evaluation of live projects necessary during work in publishing.
International Management of Publishing and Rights 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.
Culture of Publishing 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 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.
Independent Study 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.
Dissertation is a defining and essential component for the award of the MA Publishing Studies. As a major in-depth investigation of a subject, theme or issue of significance to the study of publishing, it allows you to put into practice the investigative and communication skills developed in the previous modules. In addition, you are able to demonstrate an ability to formulate and evaluate an independent study through research and an extended piece of academic written work of 15,000 words.
Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules you choose from may vary from that shown, although this is a rare occurrence.
Teaching and learning
Teaching is presented in a structured
modular framework of compulsory and optional modules which provide both core
competencies and knowledge while offering the opportunity for you to
tailor your programme. You will be encouraged through discussion
forums, individual reading and investigative practices in the modules to engage
actively with your study. This approach is informed by and based on the understanding that
your learning should be relevant to your interests.
In presenting the
learning materials online, each module clearly outlines the structure of the 10
units at the start, identifies points of increased input, discussion areas,
activities and assessments enabling you to adjust your engagement with
the learning, within the requirements of the module, to suit your individual
timetables. Within the modules and during the course of the programme,
culminating in the dissertation, your autonomy in your learning increases through structured activities that start with close guidance and build towards
greater independence. Flexibility, where possible, while aiming for a cohesive
and supportive group of fellow students, is built into the timetable of discussion forums,
communication with associate tutors and other students.
Study groups: You are entered into a small study group with an Associate Tutor who pays
particular attention to your involvement, responses and learning within
individual modules and throughout the programme. This support structure is
enhanced by the Subject Coordinator and the Programme Lead who will oversee the
tutors’ involvement with you, provide the tutors with guidance and act as
a second level of support to you.
Work experience: The
global nature of the students studying on this programme body makes the universal guarantee
of the provision of work experience or work-based learning unattainable.
However, OICPS will draw on its international network of contacts and
alumni to provide, where possible, links for you while studying on the programme
if you desire and are available for work experience.
Approach to assessment
The assessment strategy for the programme as a whole
provides course work assignments appropriate to the core and optional modules.
As a culmination to the programme, an independent research project leads to a
15,000 word dissertation. The assessments are designed to promote a
dialogue between students and staff around assignments and feedback, and recognise that it is a joint responsibility. Use is made of peer formative feedback in
Within the modules, two or three assignments with increasing
weighting provide you with an initial low percentage summative assessment,
leading to assignments of greater weight towards the end of the study period.
Formative feedback is provided for the larger weighted assignments. Marks and
feedback are provided for all assignments. Written
coursework includes such assignments as reports, reading diaries, academic
essays and proposals. Feedback is provided using an assessment matrix derived
from the learning outcomes and includes discursive comments and the opportunity
to discuss feedback with your tutor. Marking by Associate
Tutors is monitored by the Programme Lead/Subject Coordinator team and a percentage of double
marking monitors the summative assignments.
The extensive electronic library resources support the programme and are assisted by the provision of up to two selected text books for each module studied. This particular unique feature of the programme provides text for directed reading and acts as a resource for further investigation of module topics.
As a distance learning programme, attendance in person as such is not relevant. However, the 10 units within each module are likely to require up to 15 hours study per week and include as listed elsewhere timely contributions to discussion forums, research, writing and reading. For this reason you should be aware that the programme will make considerable demands on your time and will need to be given priority over other commitments if you are to succeed with this study.
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