Attend an Open Evening

Publishing  MA


The global publishing industry is changing dramatically - and so are the skills needed by the next generation of publishers. Located in the heart of the commercial centre of this global industry, the City MA in Publishing bridges the gap between knowledge and practice. The MA Publishing is available on a full-time basis (1 year) or a part-time basis (2 years).

Mary Ann Kernan, Programme Director, talks about the benefits of studying Publishing

Why study Publishing at City?

  • This course provides you with a systematic understanding of the current international publishing industry, and a critical awareness of insights drawn from both scholarly research and professional practice.
  • Through both analytical and applied modules, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to your own research or advanced professional practice, and a critical awareness of the nature of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge relating to publishing. The conceptual and applied understanding that you gain will enable you to critically evaluate current industry practice as well as research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them; as well as, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

International students

If you're from outside the UK you might also be interested in our International Publishing MA - an extension to our Publishing Masters which caters for both experienced and aspiring international industry practitioners.

Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,500
  • Part-time EU: £4,750 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,000

Start Date:

September 2016

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

You should have:

  • an upper second class honours degree or the equivalent from an international institution
  • evidence of a commitment to a career in publishing (such as experience within bookselling or publishing, voluntary or professional experience on a publication)
  • or evidence of research into current industry conditions.

Other Suitable Qualifications

You are encouraged to apply if you have relevant professional experience.

English Requirements

If your first language is not English you are required to obtain a minimum overall score of 7.0 in the IELTS Academic English Language test, including at least 6.5 in the writing component of the test.

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

When and Where

Start Date:
September 2016
One year full-time

Course Content

The course covers all types of publishing, from trade and specialist publications to novels and non-fiction, providing a thorough grounding in the drivers of commercial success for both print and digital products.

It is taught by publishing practitioners who share their specialist expertise and up-to-date industry knowledge. Each module includes case studies and projects, most with the active involvement of industry sponsors.

Course Structure


Core Modules (taken in terms 1 and 2)

PBM001 - Business and Marketing in Publishing
The module aims to provide an effective working knowledge of the business and marketing principles and practices of the publishing industry across different marketplaces and sectors, and how they apply in different types of publishing organisations in both domestic and global markets. By the end of the module, you will be able to define strategic responses to realistic industry conditions, including investment, marketing and business development opportunities; and apply theoretical models to detailed analyses of industry practices in different strategic contexts.

PBM002 - Creating and Managing Intellectual Property
Working with authors and others to generate and manage intellectual property is the core activity of the publishing industry, and functions within the complex legal environment of copyright law. In this module, you will be encouraged to develop an applied, analytical understanding of how publishing projects are conceived, developed, managed and launched, and how publishing contracts reflect legal frameworks in the UK, Europe and other jurisdictions.

PBM003 - Digitisation and Publishing
Changes associated with digitisation touch on every stage of the publishing process, including how we relate to, interact with and consume published products and services. Some sectors of the industry, especially academic and educational publishing, have long-established and successful models of digital delivery and services. Innovations in others, notably consumer publishing, are closely associated with technological changes. This module explores this rapidly evolving area of practice with reference to analytical tools and research frameworks drawn from business studies and other disciplines, including sociology and cultural studies. You will review changes in authorship and product models, working practices, the supply chain, marketing, and commercial measures; and identify the effects of the associated disruptions in the publishing value chain. The module considers the broader cultural and global impact of the interactive technologies and new models of digital consumption, and develops insights through both an industry-facing project and a summative essay assessment.

PBM004 - Publishing History and Culture
The module aims to develop an informed, critical understanding of books and print media in their historical and social contexts. You will review a range of literature essential to an understanding of the history and cultures of publishing, including the impact of printing technologies; the commercialization of publishing; authorship and copyright; and the cultural, social, and political impact of literacy. The module will also encourage you to apply insights from theory and research in the humanities and social sciences to the analysis of the evolution and impact of publishing upon the formation and development of modern societies.

Students must also complete four optional taught modules from this list.

PBM006 - Developing Creative Content
This module aims to provide you with a strategic and a practical introduction to the challenges and opportunities the publishing industry faces in responding creatively, commercially and culturally to current disruptions in the publishing value chain; enable you to apply the knowledge you gain to critical and comparative analyses of industry practice; and provide an applied experience of current challenges and opportunities in responding creatively to the publishing marketplace.

PBM007 - Managing the Publishing Value Chain
This module aims to provide you with a strategic and a practical introduction to the challenges and opportunities the publishing industry faces in responding creatively, commercially and culturally to current disruptions in the publishing value chain; and to enable you to apply the knowledge you gain to critical and comparative analyses of industry practice.

PBM011 - Designing Interactive Media
An applied, critical understanding of the disciplines which inform the effective design of interactive and visual content is a key requirement for the development of an interactive media artefact or website. This module provides a hands-on introduction to the skills needed to plan, design and render visual layouts for interactive content, particularly on the web, and encourages you to apply the knowledge and skills you will gain to your own professional development.

AMM421 - Digital Cultures
This module will explore the sorts of roles new communication technologies - and in particular digital media, social media, and the Internet - play in the transformation of cultural, economic, political, and social structures and practices. Students will review the key theoretical debates around new media and critically evaluate the claims being made about their influence and impact. Are they representative of a shift toward more democratic and participatory engagement? What happens to the 'when and where' of this engagement? How is the policy changing in order to reflect this paradigm shift? What are the implications for cultural managers? Questions such as these will be investigated using examples from a range of cultural and creative industries.

INM380 - Libraries and Publishing in an Information SocietyGives a broad understanding of the ways in which the publication of recorded information is changing, and the impact which this will have on publishers, libraries, other information providers and society in general. These issues are related within a framework of forces for changes: technical, economic, social and political.

Finally, all MA students complete the Major Project

PBM008 - Major Project
You will identify, research, articulate and write-up a substantial major project or piece of research related to your programme of study which reflects your interests. This element of the programme will allow you to apply and further develop the knowledge and skills gained through the taught modules, and add to the literature related to your programme of study. The project can take the form of either professional practice or research. Your related skills will be developed through lectures and seminars, and you will work with a supervisor who will support you through the period of developing and writing up your project.

Part-time students

Part-time students take the course over two years and normally chose an equal number of elective modules between the two years.

Core Modules

*    PBM001 Business and Marketing in Publishing (Year one, term 1)
*    PBM002 Creating and Managing Intellectual Property (Year one, term 1)

*    PBM003 Digitisation and Publishing (Year two, term 1)
*    PBM004 Publishing History and Culture (Year two, term 1)
*    PBM008 Major Project  (60 credits, Year two)

PBM005, the Placement module, will only be available as an elective in year two of the programme.

Teaching and Assessment

You will learn through lectures, current and hypothetical case studies, group work, student-led presentations and seminars, workshops, online learning and research, preparation of submitted work, site visits and discussions.

Visiting lecturers from the industry contribute throughout the teaching of each module, and in term 2 there will be a programme of master classes from distinguished publishing professionals.

A standard module consists of 20 timetabled hours comprising a variable proportion of lectures, seminars, and supervised project work; and each is designed in the expectation of considerable personal study hours.

Teaching staff, 2015/16


  • Full-time EU: £9,500
  • Part-time EU: £4,750 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,000


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.

A small number of bursaries are advertised and awarded by media and industry organisations. See below.


Profile Books - City University London Publishing Scholarship

City University London MAs in Publishing and International Publishing 2016–2017

City University London's MAs in Publishing and International Publishing invite applications for the 2016–2017 Profile Books – City Publishing Scholarship. Funded by Profile Books and a charitable trust, the Scholarship will fund full UK/EU fees up to the sum of £9000 to support a candidate who would not otherwise be able to join an MA programme.

Andrew Franklin, MD of Profile Books, will also mentor the successful candidate through your year of studies at City University London. Profile is Independent Publisher of the Year 2015-16 and a leading publisher of literary fiction and quality non-fiction – and Andrew’s offer is therefore a valuable opportunity, which will enhance both your studies and your career prospects after the MA year.

Find out more about the Profile Books Scholarship

Additional scholarships

Applications are invited to apply for other Scholarships and awards available to support students on the City Publishing MAs:

MA Publishing Alumni Val Brandes talks about the many advantages of applying for a Scholarship

Case study: Emma Smith, Stationers' Company Bursary holder 2011-12

How this bursary helped me

"The bursary has been especially valuable to me, not only financially but also in terms of the ongoing opportunities and insight that it provides. The benefits of individual mentor support, the chance to talk to industry professionals and the invitation to attend events have all made me extremely grateful to be part of such an encouraging and sociable organisation. The scholarship initially allowed me to study but will undoubtedly open up more possibilities and connections as I progress, then hopefully I will be in a position to help other people get into publishing."



Work placements are an integral part of the course, providing you with experience and contacts as well as enhanced publishing skills. The assessed MA placement, which all students complete, takes place in the middle of the second ten-week teaching term. Through the placement experience, you are also encouraged to develop a dissertation project that will further your career goals.

The impressive list of MA placements includes:


  • Rotating Placement, Profile
  • Editorial, Adult Fiction, Bloomsbury
  • Textbooks, Cambridge University Press
  • Marketing, Press and Editorial (6), Random House
  • Marketing, Punk Publishing
  • Editorial, Picador, Macmillan
  • Editorial and Marketing (2), Faber
  • Marketing and Digital (2), Macmillan
  • Editorial, Children's, HarperCollins
  • Editorial, Aurum and Quarto
  • Editorial, Bloomsbury Academic
  • Rights and Editorial (2), Puffin
  • Editorial and marketing, SAGE
  • Marketing, Trade and Editorial, Education, Hodder
  • Marketing, Frommer's, John Wiley


  • Intern: Can of Worms
  • Rotating Placement: Profile
  • Editorial, Adult Fiction, and Rights: Bloomsbury
  • ELT Marketing: Cambridge University Press
  • Rotating Placement: Kyle Cathie
  • Marketing: Little, Brown
  • General Intern: Steidl and SuperSuper Magazine
  • Marketing and Editorial (two): Vintage/Random House
  • Marketing: Punk Publishing
  • Editorial: Picador, Macmillan
  • Faber Digital
  • Marketing: Macmillan Children's
  • Editorial: Children's, HarperCollins
  • Editorial: Transworld
  • Intern: Conville & Walsh
  • Editorial: Aurum
  • Digital Marketing: Octopus
  • Editorial: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Rights: Puffin
  • Editorial: Legend Press
  • Sales: Simon & Schuster
  • Editorial: Quarto
  • Editorial: New Holland
  • Dictionaries: HarperCollins


  • Bloomsbury: Academic, Editorial, and Rights
  • Conde Nast: Marketing and PR
  • Cambridge University Press: Marketing, English Language Teaching
  • Dorling Kindersley: Production
  • Harper Collins Children's, and 4th Estate + General Fiction
  • Hodder Non-fiction Editorial, and Hodder Education
  • John Wiley: Frommer's, Medical Reference, and Medical Textbooks
  • Mills & Boon Editorial
  • National Gallery Publications
  • Nielsen BookScan
  • Picador Editorial
  • PR and Publicity: Octopus
  • Puffin/Penguin: Children's Rights
  • Punk Publishing: Marketing
  • SAGE: Journals Editorial, and Rights
  • Transworld: Children's Rights
  • Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt: Marketing

Career Prospects

Here's a selection of what last year's graduates are doing now:

  • Account Executive, Faber Factory
  • Freelance Artist & Illustrator
  • Editorial Assistant, Usborne
  • Formerly Sales Assistant, QED Publishing
  • Associate Editor, Black Lawrence Press, New York
  • Editorial Assistant, Bloomsbury
  • Sales Assistant, Penguin
  • MBA, Singapore
  • Rights Consultant, Korea
  • Freelance Editor at Wordit Content Design & Editing Services Pvt. Ltd, Mumbai
  • Freelance Editor
  • Commercial Sales Administrator, SAGE
  • Assistant Editor, Online Journals, SAGE
  • Junior Copywriter, Aesop Agency
  • Freelance Publisher, Learning Luxembourgish
  • Production Assistant and Ebooks Controller, Robert Hale
  • Contracts Administrator, Macmillan Education
  • Analyst, Commercial Unit, Nature Publishing Group
  • Editorial Assistant, Nelson Thornes
  • Intern, The Rights Factory, Toronto
  • Rights Assistant, HarperCollins Press. New York
  • Marketing Assistant, Pearson
  • Editorial and Production Assistant, Thames River Press
  • Digital Publishing Executive, Blackwell's UK Limited (International Book Retail and Distribution)
  • Publishing Assistant, SelfMadeHero
  • Intern, Athene Publishing
  • Client Liaison Manager, Professional Outsourcing Solutions Ltd
  • Sales Account Manager, Assouline, New York
  • Translator for Foreign Teachers, Attached Middle School, Jiangxi Normal University

Job destinations

Where are they now? Employment destinations of previous Publishing MA graduates include:

  • Digital Marketing Manager, Constable & Robinson
  • Production Editor, Faber
  • Export Sales Executive, Kingfisher Publishing
  • Senior Editor, food and lifestyle titles, Penguin Books Australia
  • Editorial Assistant, Continuum
  • Editorial Assistant, Virgin Books Ltd
  • Commissioning Editor, Piatkus Fiction
  • Co-editions Co-ordinator, Thames & Hudson
  • Marketing and Sales Executive, Macmillan ELT
  • Digital Marketing Manager and Editorial Assistant, Royal Society of Medicine Press
  • Journals Managing Editor, Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • Editorial Assistant, Hodder Headline
  • Export Sales Executive, Octopus
  • Ebury and BBC Sales Assistant, Random House
  • Marketing Assistant, CUP ELT
  • Editorial Assistant, Higher Ed Dept, John Wiley & Sons
  • Production Assistant, Routledge Journals
  • Marketing Services Assistant, Scholastic, Book Clubs and Fairs
  • Higher Education Sales Representative, Pearson
  • Business Development Executive, McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Editor, Dorling Kindersley
  • Assistant to the MD, Lucas Alexander Whitley Writers Agents
  • Editorial Assistant,  Prospect Press, Media & Editorial Project, Trinidad
  • Editorial Assistant, Sweet & Maxwell
  • Editorial Assistant, Hodder Medical
  • Literary Agent, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency
  • Contracts Assistant, fiction, education and entertainment titles, HarperCollins
  • Marketing Assistant, Hachette Children's Books
  • Picture Library & Licensing Manager, The British Library
  • Editorial Assistant, IT publishing company in Tokyo, Mainichi Communications Inc.
  • Editor, Trade, The Friday Project
  • Editorial Assistant, Lifestyle, Financial Times
  • Communications and Customer Support Controller, J Sainsburys
  • Marketing Co-ordinator, Built Environment List, Taylor & Francis
  • Foreign Rights Manager for the Nordic territories, Quarto Publishing
  • Editorial Manager, Journals, Routledge/Taylor & Francis
  • Production Executive, Journals, SAGE Publications
  • Production Assistant, Pickering & Chatto
  • Media Reader/Data Analyst + Management Trainee,  Publications Service, Cision
  • Marketing Assistant, Octopus Publishing Group
  • Timeplan Education, Waterstone's
  • Production Assistant, Hachette Partworks
  • Agent, The Marsh Agency
  • Picture Researcher, Octopus Publishing
  • Assistant Editor, Icon Books
  • Commercial Promotions Executive, News and Magazines, WH Smith's
  • Special Sales Account Manager, Aurum Publishing Group
  • International Sales Assistant, Penguin Books Ltd
  • Digital Graduate Trainee, Orion, Hachette
  • Sales Assistant, Walker Books
  • Publicity and Marketing Assistant, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Digital Rights Assistant, Harper Collins
  • Junior Literary Scout, De Stefano Literary Scouting Agency
  • Digital Content Developer, Pearson Higher & Professional Publishing

Application Deadline

Places are strictly limited and we strongly recommend that you apply as early as possible.

Most students apply for the one year full-time course. However, the course can also be taken on a part-time basis over two years.

You can apply online. Please follow the instructions below carefully. Please submit the following:

  • One application form.
  • A copy of your degree transcript. We require an original transcript or a copy certified by your university. If you have not yet graduated, you will be required to send us your degree transcript as soon as it is available. You will not be able to register as a City student without having supplied your degree transcript.

Please note: Academic references are not required when you submit your application. However, the admissions tutor may request them at a later date to help make a decision on your application.

Application form

Selection process
Places are strictly limited and we strongly recommend that you apply as early as possible. Applications will be considered throughout the summer.

Return address

Please return any hard copies of supporting documents, marked "Postgraduate Applications 2016", to:


MA Publishing

City University London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB