Search our site
Search our site

Publishing MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Publishing MA

From books and magazines to apps and websites, publishers need excellent product-development, consumer-marketing and digital-technology skills. To succeed in this global business, you will also need great organisational and communication skills, outstanding attention to detail and the ability to work effectively with others. The best publishers are those who can think on their feet and embrace and exploit new challenges. This course aims to help you gain all these skills and qualities.

Key features

  • This course will help develop your skills and prepare you for a career in the publishing industry, whether as publisher, agent or supplier. The competencies acquired through this course have an increasingly wide transferrable value within the international economy as a whole.
  • You will benefit from the input of a dynamic Publishers' Advisory Board, members of which give lectures and masterclasses on the MA and contribute to its development.
  • You will undertake a work placement with a relevant organisation, usually represented by a member of our Publishers' Advisory Board. These placements have resulted in many of our students gaining references and employment opportunities within the industry.

Creative Skillset logoKingston University's Publishing MA programme has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry mark of quality, by experts working in the creative industries. This accolade is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry.

What will you study?

You will learn everything you need to know about the publishing industry, from its structure, the production processes involved, including commissioning titles, editing copy and branding issues, to how to market the title and ensure dissemination. You will attend masterclasses by leading publishers and publishing professionals to keep you up to date with industry developments. You will also develop and demonstrate your analytical skills and competence through discussions, assignments and the culminating dissertation or practical project.


Blog posts, business and marketing plans, case studies, critical reflections, essays, portfolios, group and individual presentations.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module initiates the student into the collaborative, creative business of commercial publishing and facilitates the development of their research, critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills. From books and magazines to apps and websites, students explore the structure and operation of successful publishing companies, the stakeholders, tools and processes crucial to the development of profitable multi-platform products and services and the fundamental and disruptive business models used by both traditional companies and new industry-entrants.

    After an immersive introduction to the complex and challenging nature of twenty-first century publishing, the module offers the opportunity for the generation and critical evaluation of students' own publishing ideas. This involves using industry-standard sources and approaches to research and analyse markets, identify appropriate business models and operational strategies and build and present persuasive business cases.

    Throughout, there is an emphasis on building robust and well-evidenced arguments to win support for theoretical assertions and practical publishing concepts. Students also have the opportunity to work with their peers, and to critically evaluate each others' publishing proposals.

  • The Kingston Publishing MA aims to equip students to participate actively in the current, fast-changing creative economy, and this module provides the opportunity to develop their employability and plan their future.  It offers students the chance to network with industry professionals, and to learn hands-on through placement in a real publishing environment – experiences which are vital in understanding how the business operates, and in securing employment.

    The module begins with a series of Masterclasses by a wide range of experts on key contemporary issues. The seminar which follows each event allows students to further engage in these critical debates, increasing the confidence and insight essential for networking and job seeking.

    Placements offer students the opportunity to match their interests with the diversity of situations in which publishing expertise is needed. During the module students will undertake a minimum of ten days with a host organisation. An active programme of preparation support is offered during this process. The work experience allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through academic study. Critical reflection on the placement and on personal and professional development throughout the module ensures that students capitalize on their experiences.

    Throughout the module students will be guided through practice in all aspects of career planning – from examining industry roles, sector and entrepreneurial opportunities, to the practical honing of skills in job searching, producing successful CVs and job applications, and interview preparation.


Optional modules

  • This hands-on module equips students with both the key theory and the core practical skills needed to effectively manage content from raw material to finished print and digital presentation. Working in teams students will carry out essential editorial and production tasks to produce a live published product. This group publication project enables students to collaborate to demonstrate the team work skills required for timely delivery, and to develop a thorough understanding of work flow and the associated processes. It also allows students to show how material gets turned into a market appropriate product ready for stakeholder approval and launch. The module as a whole enables students to illustrate how value gets added within the publishing supply chain, and appreciate the content management systems and metadata vital in today’s publishing environment.

    By working on in-class exercises and assignment projects students will acquire and apply the key skills necessary to operate within a professional publishing context. Students will engage with project management, budgeting and costing, briefing, the different types of editing, design and layout, proofreading, and delivery. This module enhances employability by allowing students to use industry standard tools and packages, such as HTML, InDesign and Photoshop, and to improve understanding of basic typographic and design principles, the application of typesetting/mark-up skills, and production of publication ready files. Practising these hands-on skills will enhance students' understanding of how attention to detail can improve a product, make it the best it can be, and ensure it is presented profitably to its intended market.

  • The Practical publishing project provides students with the opportunity to conceive, plan, manage and deliver a substantial publishing-related output in order to achieve specified goals. Examples of potential projects include producing and publishing a book, app or magazine, researching and presenting a start-up business plan or developing and implementing a major market research exercise. In all instances, students are expected to define a specific audience and relevant stakeholders, as well as personal development and project objectives. Students will also develop a structured project plan and a post-project critical evaluation, in order to identify personal goals for future professional development.

    Depending on the nature of the chosen project, students will engage with different ranges of knowledge and skills, from practical print or digital production methods and processes to software expertise, market research (including questionnaire design, data analysis and interpretation) and business planning. Although students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, they are supported and mentored by an individual supervisor at key points in the process.

  • The Publishing dissertation module provides students with the opportunity to independently conceive, explore, investigate and then deliver a significant study within the publishing industry and allied fields. The theoretical underpinning may vary according to the approach taken and the research questions chosen, but the outcome should be a sustained and coherent piece of detailed work, capable of publication and wider dissemination.

    Depending on the issue chosen, students will engage with a range of professionals within the industry, and within related fields. Although students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, they are supported and mentored by an individual supervisor during the process.

  • This module equips students to consider the various individuals and communities (colleagues, shareholders, retailers, distributors, customers and other stakeholders) involved in the business of content delivery, and how most effectively to disseminate information and influence their behaviour, in order to promote effective marketing and sales.

    This module will enable students to understand marketing and sales principles, and develop associated skills in applying them to meet the demands of modern publishing. Students will undertake exercises and discussions about the various applications of sales and marketing within the publishing industry and its environs, and consider their relevance through all stages of the publishing process.

    Through this process students will learn how best to investigate the market for demand, how to predict that demand, and how to prepare, market and distribute information about a product or service, whether in whole or part, to promote profitable fulfilment of that demand.

    Publishers operate in an international context and so must market and sell their products to customers around the globe. Students will therefore consider how publishers organise themselves to deliver international operations successfully, and explore associated cultural, pricing and communication issues.

  • In this module you will present and discuss your own and each other’s work in a weekly workshop. The draft work presented may include several genres and forms, such as crime writing, fantasy fiction, children’s literature, historical fiction, science fiction, romance and autobiography. Practical criticism of student writing will be accompanied by discussion of the scope or constraints of the various genres, as well as the implications of particular forms. Attention will be paid to the transferable components of good writing: appropriate use of language, narrative pace, dialogue, expression, characterisation and mood.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
Favourite this course

Find a course

Course finder


Kingston Writing School

As a student on this course you will be part of the Kingston Writing School, a vibrant community of outstanding writers, journalists and publishers.

Find out more...

Bloomsbury Publishing Scholarship

Bloomsbury Publishing Scholarship logoStarting a Publishing MA in 2016/17? You could be eligible for a £10,000 Bloomsbury Publishing Scholarship.

Find us on Facebook

Postgraduate study
Site menu