Publishing MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)


January 2018, September 2018

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 12 months full-time or 2 years part-time (September starts); 17 months full-time or 2 years part-time (January starts)

Teaching times

Semesters 1 & 2: Monday 6-8pm AND Thursday 6-8pm (full-time) / Monday 6-8pm OR Thursday 6-8pm (part-time)

NB while you will be taught predominantly in the evening, some visits to businesses will take place during the day.


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.

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Full description
I wouldn't be where I am now if I had not done the Publishing MA. I was able to secure internships, one of which led to a job at an internationally-recognised publishing company


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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

Core modules

  • Creativity and Content in Publishing
    You 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 Publishing
    You 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 Publishing
    You 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 Publishing
    You 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 Publishing
    This 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.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of English and Media is a community of more than 800 students, exploring subjects that further their understanding of culture and communication in the global age, from film studies to applied linguistics. We focus on skills and knowledge valued by employers, and provide our students with valuable industry insight through our links with creative partners.

Our students take part in many activities to help prepare them for the future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by internationally acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences. They even have the chance to get writing advice from our Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Untitled PageWork placements and internships

You will have the chance to apply for an internship with various local, national and even overseas organisations, such as Cambridge University Press, Nexus Partnerships, Bloomsbury, Hachette, Hart McLeod, Lutterworth's, ProQuest and Shakespeare and Company in Paris.


As an offer holder for this course, you can apply for our Stationers' Foundation Bursary. Offered by The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers, this bursary will earn the successful applicant £6,000 along with the chance to become a Freeman of the Company.

You will also have the chance to win one of our graduation prizes for innovation, best major project, best overall grade and greatest contribution to the course.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year part time)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Additional costs

Various optional trips

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our funding guide for postgraduate students to learn more about the following:

  • the new postgraduate loan
  • applying for our scholarships
  • additional funding options and support.

From September 2018, EU students starting a postgraduate degree with us can access a £600 bursary.

We also offer our £400 Books Plus scheme, which helps with the costs of study. There's no need to apply for this: if you're eligible you can simply collect a Books Plus card when you start your course.

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online