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Kingston University is ranked No 1 in London for journalism, publishing and public relations (Guardian University Guide league tables 2020).
With very few budding writers making a living from writing alone, this course offers creative writers the chance to learn not only the craft of writing, but also current trends in publishing from world-renowned professionals. It offers the opportunity to develop a creative writing portfolio at the same time as getting to grips with how the publishing process works.
You'll benefit from teaching staff who have practical experience of working in publishing and/or creative writing industries, attend a series of masterclasses across the disciplines and work on live projects for Kingston University Press.
We have exceptional links with major publishers, such as Hachette Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and Macmillan; and you will have the opportunity to enter your work into competitions sponsored by The Bookseller magazine and Faber and Faber. There are also opportunities to work on live projects for Kingston University Press.
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2021/22 (i.e. between August 2021 and July 2022), please view the information about changes to courses for 2021/22 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2021/22 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2021/22. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
The creative writing element of this course is workshop-led and, in the second semester, you will be given the opportunity to specialise in the genre of your choice, be it poetry, drama or children's fiction.
The publishing element focuses on marketing-led commercial and trade publishing, and the modules you study will help you to understand the structure of the industry and the core skills required to enter.
You'll take two 30 credit modules from Publishing (one must be ‘Create' but you can choose the other, and two 30 credit modules from Creative Writing. You can then choose whether to pursue a dissertation or practical project within either Publishing or Creative Writing, worth 60 credits.
In addition to taking two core modules, you can choose to write an academic dissertation to demonstrate your analytical skills and competence, or undertake a major practical publishing project as your final assessment. If you choose to take your dissertation in creative writing, you will write an extensive piece of creative writing accompanied by critical essay; you will be supervised by a professional writer.
This module initiates you into the collaborative, creative business of commercial publishing and facilitates the development of your research, critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills. From books and magazines to apps and websites, you will 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 your 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. You also have the opportunity to work with your peers, and to critically evaluate each others' publishing proposals.
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.
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.
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.
The module is designed to introduce students to some issues of critical and literary theory. The module is also designed to make students more aware of how their work impacts upon wider literary, cultural, political and philosophical issues. Awareness of these theories and of some of the issues surrounding the production and reception of literary texts will stimulate them, encouraging creative and conceptual thinking. The module will explore debates about literature and the practice of creative writing through readings of essays and texts that are relevant to criticism and theory. The academic component of the assessment will support the creative work with the objective that students will also have to demonstrate critical, academic, analytical skills.
This module provides the opportunity to write across three genres - including prose, poetry and playwriting - to teach you how to apply literary techniques from other forms to your own work. It will look at:
• issues of voice, imagery, tone and characterisation;
• elements of narrative, dramatic and lyrical forms; and
• contemporary works – allowing you to master structure and style and understand how a variety of literary forms function.
You will also submit a portfolio of writing exercises in the different genres studied.
This module offers a regular and intensive review of your writing in one of the following genres: poetry, crime writing, prose fiction, biography, drama, scriptwriting or writing for children. You will be advised on how to strengthen your knowledge of the codes and conventions of your chosen genre to produce a substantial piece or collection of work that will reflect your knowledge of and engagement with your chosen genre. You will apply detailed feedback on your work to your writing as well as using your increased knowledge of your chosen genre to make your writing more effective. These elements will help you improve the key transferable skills of analysis and implementation that will feed forward into your dissertation module and into all analytical/practical tasks you subsequently undertake.
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.
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.
This module focuses on your own creative writing and research into your chosen form or genre, developed in consultation with your supervisor. You learn via one-to-one tutorials with your personal supervisor. You produce two pieces of writing:
Your supervisor must agree in advance the final structure, approximate word length and for presentation conventions of these pieces.
Many postgraduate courses at Kingston University allow students to do a 12-month work placement as part of their course. The responsibility for finding the work placement is with the student; we cannot guarantee the work placement, just the opportunity to undertake it. As the work placement is an assessed part of the course, it is covered by a student's Tier 4 visa.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
We normally expect applicants to have:
You must also submit a 3,000-word sample of creative writing, a personal statement (1,000 words) plus references.
We normally invite applicants for an interview with the admissions director or another senior member of the teaching team. We will ask you to submit a creative writing sample of up to 3,000 words with your application.
Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with 7.0 in Writing and 5.5 in all other elements. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements may be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from one of the recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
You'll be taught and assessed through essays, reports, presentations, briefs, research projects, and portfolios.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
Year 1: 8% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours will vary depending on which modules you choose on this combined course.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
As a one year full time student, you'll be expected to attend 2 - 3 days a week. We also offer a part-time study option to help you fit your MA around other commitments.
As a one year full time student, you'll be expected to attend 2 - 3 days a week. We also offer a part-time study option to help you fit your MA around other commitments.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 5 - 10 students and lecture sizes are normally 10 - 20. However, this can vary by module and academic year.
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses.
In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.
Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Bursaries are available for MA students on either the Publishing course or on the Publishing with Creative Writing course. You'll take a lead on the University's annual creative writing anthology, Ripple, and benefit from a £500 bursary. Find out more when you apply.
The campus at Penrhyn Road is a hive of activity, housing our fantastic new Town House, with four floors of study space and our extensive library, the main student restaurant, and a host of teaching rooms and lecture theatres.
The Town House offers group study spaces for when you need to work together. The light, airy top floor cafe serves light snacks and drinks, as well as fabulous views!
At the heart of the campus is the John Galsworthy building, a six-storey complex that brings together lecture theatres, flexible teaching space and information technology suites around a landscaped courtyard.
Graduates from this course will develop a range of skills desirable to employers, such as communication skills, self-management, meticulousness in editing and presentation, the ability to reflect on one's own work and to respond to constructive criticism, the ability to write for particular purposes and the ability to work constructively with others.
In addition to a possible career as a translator and a writer, particular careers may include work in publishing, journalism, advertising and marketing, film, television, radio, arts management, new media, business, teaching and therapeutic fields.
We maintain links with institutions and organisations including:
A range of additional events and lectures will enhance your studies and add an extra perspective to your learning. Activities for this course include:
The literary magazine Persist is edited by MA students, providing:
The masterclasses are an excellent way to learn about different job roles in the publishing industry. The speakers work in all areas of publishing so it's very insightful to hear different perspectives on the business. It also gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get first-hand answers from professionals. It can be a great way to network too - I ended up securing a work placement at Weidenfeld & Nicolson by talking to publishing director, Alan Samson, before he gave a masterclass.
Amy Cartwright, Business Development Executive at Charity Retail Association and Publishing MA graduate
Our regular masterclasses are delivered by a wide range of successful industry professionals, from editors and publishers to literary agents. John Blake, one of our masterclass speakers, talks about celebrity publishing in the video below:
The Publishing MA benefits from the input of a dynamic Advisory Board. The Board is involved in the course's development and keen to contribute. Each member gives guest lectures and contributes to placement and dissertation study.
Research in creative writing at Kingston University covers the following areas:
Subject-specific research initiatives include:
Publishing has a vibrant culture of both research and professional practice. Our lecturers publish all the time – whether it is academic research, industry-leading text books or writing for the national or trade press. Applications for research study with us are very welcome.
At masters level we have a vibrant programme of industry dissertation supervision for our MA dissertations, as fits our industry-focussed discipline. This has led to the identification of issues needing further exploration, which have been developed through collaboration between Kingston students and industry tutors, affirming the position and value of Publishing within the academy. In 2018 a Kingston MA student won the prestigious Association for Publishing Education Award for the best dissertation at masters level for her work on publishing for autistic children.
Associate Professor Alison Baverstock has carried out ground-breaking work into the nature of self-publishing and how it is impacting the wider industry. This has been published in book (The Naked Author, Bloomsbury) and journal form. She is currently overseeing four PhD students, who are variously working on what attracts young adults to the books they choose, cover design in women's commercial fiction, the history of Virago and publication of fairy tales. She also has extensive experience of overseeing PhD by Publication.
Finally the university has been exploring and analysing its pre-arrival shared reading scheme The Kingston University Big Read, which won a prestigious Times Higher Education Award in 2017 for Best University Initiative for Widening Participation. This has now developed into a dynamic research project, across a range of other universities, concentrating on how universities can make their students feel welcome - and hence encourage both engagement and retention. In 2018-19 we worked with The University of Wolverhampton, Edge Hill University and University of the West of Scotland. Most of our findings are published in the journal Logos, Journal of the World Publishing Community and there are regular blogs on progress. To discuss these or potential collaborations, please contact Alison Baverstock.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. number of modules or credits in a year, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.
Unless government advice instructs otherwise, Study Abroad programmes will take place in 2021/22. The safety of all our students is paramount, therefore, as per normal practice, all Study Abroad activities must also be approved by the University's insurers to ensure that students are adequately protected during their period abroad. We will provide updates as the pandemic situation stabilises and/or further government advice is released.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback from students and other key stakeholders. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, we do not anticipate having to make any further changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules in response to issues arising from the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles, module summaries and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed in 2021/22, e.g. moving those modules which can be delivered more effectively to the first teaching block and moving back those – such as practical modules and placements – which may be more difficult to deliver due to some ongoing restrictions.
In some cases, it may be necessary to delay placement modules which may then impact the length of the course. In these circumstances the University will guide students through the appropriate options available to ensure students are able to make informed choices.
We have not changed entry requirements as a direct result of the pandemic.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a direct result of the pandemic.
As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to steadily increase the proportion of on-campus teaching. We will continue to provide a proportion of online learning, as experience has shown that this enriches and supports the student learning experience.
If the pandemic affects teaching and learning activities in 2021/22 more than we currently anticipate, the proportion of online learning will increase. However, unless a lockdown is enforced, we will ensure that all courses provide a reasonable percentage of their teaching and learning activities on campus.
Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you should still be able to engage with your course remotely in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, for example on courses with high practical content, your course team will be able to advise you on the options available to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced in 2021/22 the University will aim to deliver the course fully online once more. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled learning and teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours were not and will not be made as a direct result of the pandemic.
‘Scheduled learning and teaching' includes teaching delivered online, either live or recorded/on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. up to December 2021) should be available by the end of August. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2022) will not be available until the autumn. We make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible.
In 2020/21 it was agreed that scheduled learning and teaching could take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm, to maximise the time available for teaching in order to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing. This meant we sometimes had to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. If we need to accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing in 2021/22 we expect to adopt a similar approach. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and, therefore, do not anticipate having to make any further changes to the course, i.e. to the overall methods of assessments, in response to issues arising from the pandemic. However, if this becomes necessary, the changes will be highlighted to students via email before enrolment.
Changes are made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area and in response to feedback received from students and other key stakeholders. Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for Year 1 of the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
If social distancing or lockdown restrictions are in place in 2021/22, online alternative options to formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be made available to students where possible.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
Staff are engaged in Continuous Professional Development activities to develop their teaching expertise, as part of the normal enhancement processes, to ensure that course teams have the required breadth of expertise.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2021/22.
As we transition from the pandemic restrictions, we expect to be able to increase student access to on-campus facilities. Students will therefore have access to University computers and library facilities.
If, due to an increase in social distancing requirements or the enforcing of a lockdown, it becomes necessary to significantly increase the proportion of teaching delivered online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities might be restricted if social distancing requirements are enforced.
The University is committed to supporting students who are unable to access suitable technology to ensure equity of access in a blended delivery mode.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2021/22. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2021/22.
We are anticipating that placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead in 2021/22. However, to ensure students gain maximum value from placement activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year, when any impacts from the pandemic restrictions are minimised.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through the University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered.
In the interests of the health and wellbeing of our students, all placement arrangements must be approved by the University's insurers and the appropriate risk assessments made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. BSc (Hons), MSc, etc., as a direct result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students by email before enrolment.
The experience of delivering courses in 2020/21 under the various Covid-19 restrictions has enabled us to better prepare and plan the delivery of our courses in 2021/22. We are confident the course can be delivered as planned and in accordance with any professional body requirements. We do not anticipate making any further changes to courses in response to any issues arising from the pandemic and which would put at risk any professional body accreditation status.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.