Publishing MA

Why choose this course?

Kingston University was ranked No 1 in London for Journalism and Publishing in the Guardian University League Tables 2020.

The global publishing business is undergoing constant change, not least as a result of the digital revolution of the last 20 years. To succeed in this business, publishers need excellent product-development, consumer marketing and digital technology skills. They also need to be creative problem solvers, with 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.

Kingston's Publishing MA will help you gain all these skills and qualities.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston offers the only London-based Publishing MA that includes a work-placement module. We will support you to find a 10-day placement with a relevant organisation. You will gain the skills to impress potential employers and have a wealth of networking opportunities throughout the year. Previous students have gained references and jobs as a direct result of their placements.
  • You may choose to work on a live publishing project with a partner organisation or author. This will give you a published product, showcasing the skills you have acquired, to add to your portfolio.
  • The Stationers' Company offers up to 12 bursaries of £6,000 each year to postgraduate students on specific courses. If you have been given an offer (conditional OR unconditional) onto our Publishing MA, you can apply.

What you will study

You will learn everything you need to know about the publishing industry: its structure, acquisition and development of content, print and digital production processes, sales, marketing and distribution.

You will also develop and demonstrate your analytical skills and competence through discussions, assignments and the culminating dissertation or practical project.

Your experienced teaching team is supported by expert guest speakers and a widely envied masterclass series featuring leading publishers and publishing professionals to keep you up to date with industry developments.

You'll need to take two compulsory modules, totalling 60 credits. You can then choose two optional taught modules, totalling 60 credits, as well as either a dissertation or practical project (worth another 60 credits).

Year 1

Optional placement year

This course meets the needs of commercial publishers, allowing you to gain key skills and to learn how processes work in a practical context. Its relevance is ensured by input about employers' needs from our advisory board of publishing professionals, resulting in a course that evolves alongside the industry.

Throughout your studies, you'll develop key skills and get prepared for a career in all sectors of the book and journal industries, and across all specialisms.

Core modules

Create: The Business of Publishing

30 credits

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.

Do: Work Placements, Networking and Career Planning

30 credits

The Kingston Publishing MA aims to equip you to participate actively in the current, fast-changing creative economy, and this module provides the opportunity to develop your employability and plan your future.  It offers you 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 you to further engage in these critical debates, increasing the confidence and insight essential for networking and job seeking.

Placements offer you the opportunity to match your interests with the diversity of situations in which publishing expertise is needed. During the module you 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 you 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 you capitalize on your experiences.

Throughout the module you 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.

Choose two of the following

Make: Content Development and Production

30 credits

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.

Share: Strategic Marketing and Sales

30 credits

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.

Writers' Workshop

30 credits

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.

Choose one of the following

Practical Publishing Project

60 credits

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.

Publishing Dissertation

60 credits

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.

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.

This has proven popular with Publishing students, with the majority securing a placement within publishing or a related industry.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A second class degree or above or equivalent and/or demonstrable enthusiasm for publishing.

Additional requirements

Copies of transcripts and certificates which confirm qualifications obtained and pending with the complete breakdown of all subjects studied and marks obtained. These should clearly show the qualification awarded and the final overall grade/mark. If they are not in English, we will also require copies translated into English by an authorised translator.

A personal statement of at least 500 words which should outline your reasons for applying for the course.

Prior learning - AP(E)L

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.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 7.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught via a variety of methods, including lectures, seminars, one-to-one tutorials and hands-on workshops.

You will undertake individual and group assignments including presentations, critical reflections, blogs, an exam as well as industry-specific tasks such as pitching your own publishing idea, developing a marketing communications strategy and analysing the business model of a publisher of your choice. You will be given opportunities to practise and receive feedback in preparation for all assignments.

The course content evolves each year. For example, with video becoming one of the most important marketing tools, we have recently added practical workshops in video creation to the marketing module, with input from industry professionals.

Guided independent study

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 document 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.

Support for postgraduate students

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.

Your workload

9% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 206 hours
  • Guided independent study: 2124 hours
  • Placement: 70 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams, practicals (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios or 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

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 88%
  • Exams: 8%
  • Practical: 4%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course, and the MA Creative Writing and Publishing normally enrol a total of around 30 students. Lecture sizes will vary between modules and academic years, but seminar groups will not exceed 15 students.

Masterclasses

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.

Who teaches this course?

You will learn from a mixture of permanent teaching staff, masterclass speakers and guest lecturers, all of whom are publishing professionals with many years of experience.

Lecturers have each worked in publishing for at least two decades and include the well-known industry commentator and author of How to Market Books, Professor Alison Baverstock, and current practitioners Emma Tait and Clare Somerville. They are also experienced industry trainers and qualified higher education teachers.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £10,000
  • MA part time £5,500

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £16,600
  • MA part time £9,130

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.


Funding and bursaries

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:


Stationers' Company bursaries

The Stationers' Company offers up to 12 bursaries each year to postgraduate students on specific courses, including Kingston University's Publishing MA. Successful students will each receive a bursary of £6,000 and will be offered the opportunity to receive mentoring during their studies from an appropriate member of the Stationers' Company, taking into account the specific interests of the student.

On successful completion of their masters programme, the award winners will be presented with the Freedom of the Stationers' Company and it is expected that they will participate in the life of the Company. Dispensation for payment of the annual membership fee will be given for the following three years.

Applicants must normally be under 25, resident in the UK, and classified as paying UK tuition fees. If you are between 25 and 30 and wish to apply, please discuss your application with the relevant course director and administrator. Applicants must hold a conditional or unconditional offer for Kingston University's Publishing MA.

Find out more and see how to apply.

Facilities

The campus at Penrhyn Road, where this course is taught, is a hive of activity, housing the main student restaurant, the learning resources centre (LRC), and a host of teaching rooms and lecture theatres.

The LRC offers:

  • specialist resources for Publishing MA students including The Bookseller and a number of specialist journals
  • subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area
  • online database subscriptions
  • a growing selection of resource materials

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.

The Iris Murdoch Archives

Kingston University hosts two major archives relating to Iris Murdoch – a significant philosopher and one of the twentieth century's greatest novelists. These archives currently comprise:

  • Iris Murdoch's Oxford library (more than 1,000 volumes, many of them heavily annotated by Murdoch)
  • the papers, tapes, interviews and manuscripts collected by Peter Conradi, Iris Murdoch's official biographer and Murdoch scholar
  • various letter runs and documents donated by well-wishers

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of additional libraries and archives, including the British Library.

After you graduate

Once you graduate from Kingston, you'll be part of a professional community of publishers, who keep in touch by meeting in person, or through our active social networks.

Read what some of our graduates have gone on to do and how studying at Kingston helped them kick-start their professional careers. You can also find out more about where our other graduates are working:

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in a range of roles in publishing and other industries. Here are just some examples:

  • Blake Friedmann Literary, TV and Film Agency
  • BMJ Publishing Group (journals)
  • Brandwidth (digital production)
  • City & Guilds Publishing (editorial)
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica (marketing)
  • Hachette Children's Books (digital rights)
  • Little Tiger Press (editorial and marketing)
  • Montash Associates (recruitment)
  • Nosy Crow (sales, production and marketing)
  • Penguin (production, art department, marketing)
  • Random House (marketing, production, digital publishing)
  • Usborne Publishing (publicity)
  • Wiley (production)

What our graduates say

An MA gives you the opportunity to study something you love in glorious depth. It allows you time and resources to explore your particular interest, become involved in it and maybe even further its development in some way. It can help you to realise your true potential and push you to the very limits of ambition. The Kingston MA pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best possible way. I know that for me, it was absolutely the right thing to do.

Alice Saggers, international editions assistant, Phaidon Press

With specific tips, strategies and notes, feedback from tutors has been exceptional and timely, always playing a crucial role in the development of our critical thinking and assignments. Through masterclass sessions, industry conferences, networking opportunities and even field trips, our tutors provide a staggering amount of opportunities to engage and get involved with the publishing industry.

Lisa Vanterpool, public relations and social media strategist, InkWell Management

I recommend the Kingston Publishing MA because it's the perfect publishing 'finishing school', giving you the skills you need before sending you off to your career.

Kjell Eldor, manager, Blackwell's

Kingston's Publishing MA allowed me to turn my love of books into a career. By providing an understanding of the business behind the books – and introducing me to my current employer – Kingston gave me a great start in a fantastic industry.

Andrew Turner, media communication executive, Quercus Publishing

In my work I have to be aware of every project in the publishing house, and be ready to answer questions and help out at many points throughout the publishing process. It takes a lot of organisation and concentration!  

I chose to study at Kingston because the location was good and I managed to secure a scholarship. The course content was interesting, with good links to industry. The MA gave me the opportunity to make the transition from academia into the world of work almost seamlessly.

I found the experience of working as co-project manager on the student writing anthology Ripple invaluable. I was able to put all my new-found knowledge into practice. I learnt a lot from my successes, and my mistakes!

Frankie Jones, editorial assistant, City & Guilds Publishing

Our course leader and the teaching staff made sure we had the right skills for the publishing industry, through internships at publishing companies, workshops with publishing professionals and coursework that included creating business plans. The course was challenging at times but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It boosted my confidence and helped me land a job in a reputable publishing company.

In my current role, I look after e-marketing, such as updating social media platforms and creating e-bulletins. I also research and coordinate conferences and other promotional activities. The practical training I received on my course and the network of connections I made helped me secure a role I was interested in.

Nyamto Jailem (Angelina) Wangsha, marketing assistant, Pickering & Chatto Publishers

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, Charity Retail Association

Links with business and industry

Our close links with the publishing industry, including publishers, agents, literary festival organisers and authors, mean that you will benefit from:

  • an academic teaching team that has both commercial publishing experience and contextual/theoretical knowledge of the industry
  • input from guest speakers, who add an extra perspective to your studies
  • masterclasses and other events with leading publishing professionals, commentators and authors on the latest trends
  • input into the course from our Advisory Board
  • work placements and the chance of winning an industry-sponsored prize

Publishing advisory board

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.

  • Viv Bird, Book Trust
  • John Bond, Whitefox Publishing Services
  • Genevieve Clarke, The Reading Agency
  • Louise Dixon, Michael O'Mara
  • Philip Downer, Calliope Gifts Ltd.
  • Richard Duguid, Penguin
  • Andrew Hansen, Prestel Publishing
  • Caroline Hird, Elsevier Health Sciences
  • Heather Holden-Brown, hhb Agency
  • Simon Juden, Pearson
  • Ros Kindersley, JFL Search and Selection
  • Sarah Mahaffy, Maharani Training
  • Robert McKay, Dunedin Academic Press
  • Richard Mollet, Publishers Association
  • Tony Mulliken, Midas PR
  • John Peacock
  • David Roche, David Roche Enterprises
  • Alan Samson, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • David Taylor, Lightning Source
  • Andrew Turner, Quercus Publishing
  • Kate Wilson, Nosy Crow

Research areas

Publishing at Kingston University has a vibrant culture of both research and professional practice. Our lecturers publish all the time – academic research, industry-leading text books and writing for the national or trade press. Applications for research study with us are very welcome.

We have a vibrant programme of industry supervision for masters dissertations. This has led to collaboration between Kingston students and industry tutors. 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 children with autism.

Associate professor Alison Baverstock has carried out groundbreaking 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. Alison is currently overseeing four PhD students, who are working on: what attracts young adults to the books they choose, cover design in women's commercial fiction, the history of Virago and the publication of fairy tales. She also has extensive experience of overseeing PhD by publication.

The University has a pre-arrival shared reading scheme – The Kingston University Big Read. This 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, encouraging 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 Logos – the journal of the world publishing community and there are regular blogs on progress. To discuss these or potential collaborations, please contact Alison Baverstock.