Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK fee

£7,800 for the full course or £870 per 20 credits* (2023/24)

International fee

£14,900 for the full course (2023/24)

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

You’ll develop key skills, knowledge and experience to give you the edge in a range of rewarding careers

96%teaching**MA Publishing, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2023

This course explores all aspects of the publishing industry, including editorial and content development, design and production, sales and marketing, and business success and entrepreneurship. Throughout, you will learn how to respond to the exciting new opportunities facing the industry today and in the future.

An industry full of opportunity

The total value of the British book publishing industry has been estimated at around £6 billion, the largest in the world in terms of its output per head of population. Some 240,000 new book titles were published in the UK in 2018.

The expansion of digital publishing, the growing sophistication of interactive ebooks and the popularity of ereaders and tablets have brought new dimensions to the industry.

Meanwhile, traditional boundaries between book publishing and periodical publishing are breaking down, with professionals moving much more freely between the sectors. The industry is also becoming more global in outlook and reach, opening up even more opportunities for ambitious graduates.

The Derby MA Publishing is a newly designed programme that is up-to-date, well balanced, thought-provoking and exciting. It covers all industry sectors, from fiction to scholarly; and all job roles from editorial to author rights. It is perhaps the most tightly focused and complete Publishing MA available in the UK today.

Combining print and digital know-how

The MA Publishing has been designed to meet the needs of an industry undergoing dramatic technological and commercial changes.

With print, electronic and audio editions of books all now proving highly popular with different consumer demographics, we will ensure you are fully conversant with both traditional publishing techniques and the latest digital developments and self-publishing trends. By the end of the course, you will be equipped to move seamlessly between print and digital formats whenever required.

New skills for a new era

Publishing companies are keen to dispel the myth that all you need for success in the industry is a love of literature and reading. New entrants are now expected to bring industry-specific professional skills along with qualities such as innovation, versatility, enterprise and problem-solving.

Our MA therefore covers vital insights not just into editorial functions but also into aspects of the business such as leadership and management, project management, marketing, intellectual property law, and finance. This programme provides a comprehensive and well-balanced training to enter a wide variety of careers in publishing and beyond.

Expertise to inspire you

Our teaching team comprises enthusiastic, dedicated academics and practitioners with extensive experience in the UK, US and Australian publishing industries, encompassing editorial, marketing, publicity and freelance work.

International Students

The British publishing industry is one of the largest and most important in the world, exporting more books than any other country, and at the forefront of many developments such as digital business models, English language publishing, niche products and globalised business. By coming from overseas to study Publishing at MA level International students will receive unparalleled insights, knowledge base and training in every aspect of this dynamic, global industry.

Publishing MA alumni and Senior Lecturers in Publishing Cat Mitchell and David Barker

Hear from our graduates

As part of the University of Derby's Festival of Humanities, our Publishing MA Alumni joined Senior Lecturers in Publishing Cat Mitchell and David Barker to discuss 'How to get into Publishing', offering valuable insight and career advice to join the creative and commercial industry.

Read more: How to get into PublishingRead more: How to get into Publishing
Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

The course is made up of three stages - Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and Masters.

You will study modules such as:

The Publishing Profession

What does it mean to be a publisher today? you'll analyse new issues and big trends facing the world of books, literature and the wider publishing profession. Guest speakers and round-table seminars will contribute to a lively, stimulating and highly supportive learning environment.

Editorial and Editing

Here you will examine the ethical and practical issues of being a senior editor. Which books deserve to be published, and why? How do commissioning editors build a successful list of titles? When is it acceptable to change or ‘correct’ an author’s writing? Explore issues of bias, taste, morality – and profit – in publishers’ everyday decisions about what gets published and how.

Print and Digital Production

There are many stimulating and creative job roles in publishing, none more so than in design and production. In this module you will examine design theory and practice as well as project and systems management. You will explore how new projects are conceived, designed and brought to market in both print and in digital formats, on time and on budget.

Marketing and Sales in Modern Publishing

Publishing is a highly competitive business where success depends upon innovative marketing and sales operations. In this crucial module you will explore social media marketing, big data, market analysis, sales reporting and marketing theory. Learn the theory and practice of how marketing professionals deal with authors, signings and events, book promotion, and negotiating with booksellers.

  • Legal Frameworks for Publishers
  • Skills for Modern Publishing
  • Academic, Educational and Professional Publishing
  • Magazine Publishing

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

You will learn through a mixture of seminars, lectures, workshops and applied study, with a focus on real world learning. You will have exciting opportunities to gain experience with publishers, booksellers and events organisers and to gain insights into the freelance world of indexing, proofreading and design.

You could attend book fairs and festivals, volunteer at author events and book launches or take part in live projects working on the in-house publications produced by the University.

Students will be encouraged and supported to undertake various forms of work-related learning and experience, including internships at major publishers.

Thanks to our networks across the creative, media and cultural sectors, you will have the chance to make valuable contacts. We offer a vibrant programme of guest lectures and we host events where authors, editors and publishers speak about the realities of making a living in the field.

Programme leader Dr David Barker worked in publishing for over 20 years, split equally between London and New York. During his career, he worked at Cassell, Continuum, and Bloomsbury and commissioned non-fiction books about all aspects of pop culture. His research interests focus on the editorial process in publishing and how this needs to become more diverse.

How you'll be assessed

You will learn through a mixture of seminars, lectures, workshops and applied study.

Your work will be assessed using a wide range of methods, including oral and written presentations, reports, essays and portfolios of practical work in areas such as editing, production, marketing, design and digital publishing. 

Who will teach you

David Barker

Dr David Barker
Programme leader

David Barker is a Senior Lecturer in Publishing and Programme Leader for the MA Publishing at the University of Derby. He is interested in all aspects of Publishing as an academic discipline.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

The entry requirement to this programme is a good honours degree (1st or 2:1) in any subject, or its international equivalent. Applications may be considered if you have a 2:2 honours degree and can demonstrate significant publishing or related industry experience or aptitude. Examples might include a period of work at an appropriate level within publishing or a related industry, or a portfolio of work or achievements in a related discipline such as for example, English, Business, Law, Graphic Design, etc.

It is important that we get to know you, your aspirations and your expectations. Therefore, depending on your qualifications and experience, you may be invited to attend an informal interview before being accepted onto the programme to discuss the course, the nature of the programme, and what will be expected of you during it. Interviews will normally take place online and will last between 30 and 45 minutes. You are also invited to attend an Open Day/Evening event on campus if you can. 

The University welcomes applications from every sector of society, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Education is a signatory to the Equality in Publishing Charter.

If English is not your first language you will need to have passed the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS) at the overall level IELTS 6.5, including a minimum score of 5.5 in each test category. The test must be taken within the last two years leading up to the course start date and must still be valid when a visa is issued. (Where appropriate the University’s International Admissions office can give further details, including information regarding approved IELTS test centres.) The English language qualification required by this programme is at a higher level than that required for other university programmes: The reason for this is that throughout the MA Publishing programme, you will have to work with the English language at an advanced level.

If you are interested in finding out more about the MA Publishing, you may contact the Programme Leader by email at

Interview information

Fees and funding

2023/24 (August 2023 - July 2024)


£7,800 for the full course or £870 per 20 credits*

£870 per 20 credits


£14,900 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

2024/25 (August 2024 - July 2025)


£9,450 for the full course*

£1,050 per 20 credits


£14,900 for the full course


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

* UK full-time fees paid within one academic year are rounded down to the nearest £50 if applicable

Additional costs and optional extras

About postgraduate awards

Please note at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the respective awards. If you have any questions please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.


A broad choice

The MA Publishing will equip you with a broad range of skills, a critical awareness of the whole industry, a high degree of flexibility and an enterprising mindset. It will prepare you for careers with major publishing houses or the growing number of small publishers, including the thousands of ‘micro-publishers’, which exist within the UK. You could also consider becoming self-employed or setting up your own publishing company.

There are opportunities, too, to work in publishing roles within charitable organisations, government bodies and cultural organisations such as galleries and museums.

Much of the knowledge and many of the skills you will attain on this MA are highly transferable. The course is a perfect springboard for a wide range of professional careers such as magazine publishing, librarianship, bookselling, PR, communications, or illustration and web design.

Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’

Our Careers and Employability Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure that you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate – industry aware, motivated and enterprising.

The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.

If your ambition is to set up your own business in the publishing field, you could consider moving into one of our incubation units which offer reasonable rents and a range of business support services to help you establish your venture.

Contact us


If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

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