- Learn the art, craft and processes of writing fiction and non-fiction; we'll cover writing for books, magazines, and digital content
- Understand how today's publishing industry works and gain the skills you need to get your work — or the work of others — to market
- Prepare for any career in the literary world, whether you aspire to be a writer or to work in the publishing industry, including roles in editorial, design, production, sales, marketing, publicity and more
- Tailor your degree to suit your needs and aspirations, with the choice of a wide range of optional modules.
The world needs writers and publishers
The UK market for written information and creative content of all types is of enormous significance to cultural and political life, as well as to economic growth. However, we live in a fast-changing society where consumers are bombarded with fake news and a flood of information daily. This means that carefully curated and diverse content is more important than ever.
The publishing industry is rapidly adapting to this evolving digital marketplace. It is a resilient, creative and global industry that continues to grow year-on-year. To do so, it relies on professionals who are commercially and digitally aware, and who feel passionate about books, writing and reading. Could that be you?
We blend the creative and the commercial
In today's publishing industry, authors, editors, literary agents and other professionals need to collaborate with each other to an unprecedented degree. If they have an understanding of each other’s roles and priorities, they can do this well. That’s why this course looks at the industry from both the perspective of the writer and the perspective of the publishing professional.
This gives you a distinct advantage in the workplace; if you want to be a writer, we’ll ensure you understand the marketplace for your work and the practicalities of getting it published, including self-publishing or working with literary agents. Equally, if you're an aspiring publishing professional, we’ll give you valuable insight into the creative processes, aspirations and concerns of authors, alongside the communications skills that are vital for any publishing role.
"I have been grateful to have dynamic lecturers who are supportive and knowledgeable about all aspects related to this creative industry. They make the learning process accessible and engaging. The lecturers have always challenged me to produce my best work and allowed me to develop a wide range of skills which will be invaluable in my career after graduation. The programme provides a range of modules which will open many different opportunities for me."
Fred Gough, Writing and Publishing Student
Choose your focus
This Creative Writing and Publishing degree gives you the opportunity to learn about every aspect of the publishing process: from developing ideas, to writing, editing and typesetting, as well as designing, marketing, and selling written work.
In the first year, everyone takes the same modules because these cover critical skills and knowledge. In years two and three you can tailor the course to suit your interests with our wide range of optional modules, including:
- writing and publishing for: non-fiction, short fiction, children and young adults, or gaming
- designing and producing content
- poetry and language
- power, passion and persuasion
- teaching English literature and language
- business skills for the creative industries
- the legal aspects of writing and publishing, and many others.
Expertise to inspire you
We have a vibrant programme of guest lectures, which are delivered by leading novelists, poets, scriptwriters, editors, publishers, agents and others. Previous speakers have included: the BAFTA award-winning script writer Neil McKay; poets and authors such as Momtaza Mehri, Bernard O'Donoghue and Dan Abnett; professionals from Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Amazon, and The Southbank Centre in London. Our tutors themselves are experienced writers and publishing professionals, with a network of industry connections.
Practical and applied
This course includes writing workshops and work-based projects with employers, to help you hone and apply your skills. You might be producing magazines and anthologies of student work, creating interactive eBooks, or crafting industry-standard TV and film scripts. By the end of your studies, you will have a portfolio of professionally developed and presented work to show to a potential employer.
We also encourage you gain as much experience of the industry as you can. You can use our networks across the creative and cultural sector to find opportunities for mentoring, internships, placements and volunteering.
We take part in NaNoWriMo — a programme for young writers, which offers great tools, resources and access to a supportive community.
"Studying Writing and Publishing at Derby is a decision I will never regret. The lecturers are fantastic people, supportive and encouraging; our discussions in class were simulating and insightful. I particularly enjoyed utilising the book production, commissioning, and editorial skills I had gained while on the course, to self-publish two eBooks as part of my major publishing project."
Oliver Tipple, Writing and Publishing Student
Study in America
If you want to broaden your horizons and experience life in another country, you can choose to spend part of your second year studying at one of our partner universities in America. They are:
- Eastern Michigan University
- Keene State College in New Hampshire
- Longwood University in Virginia
- Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis.
Creative Writing and Publishing - your questions answered
In the below video, Programme Leader, Cat Mitchell, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Creative Writing and Publishing at the University of Derby. You can also watch exclusive subject content by signing up to Derby on Demand.
You'll learn through a mixture of:
- lectures, seminars and tutorials
- creative writing workshops
- project work
- technology-enhanced learning
- peer reviews and presentations.
We also arrange visits to literary festivals, local and national museums, cultural heritage sites and other areas of interest for 'location writing' exercises.
How you will be assessed
You will mostly be assessed by coursework, which could include:
- written work such as stories, poetry, scripts, blogs, press articles
- traditional essays
Who you will meet
You will learn from a supportive and enthusiastic team who bring together extensive academic experience and industry knowledge. They include:
- Senior Lecturer Dr David Barker worked in publishing for over 20 years, as a Commissioning Editor and then a Publishing Director, in both London and New York. Most recently he was Publishing Director at Bloomsbury Academic in London.
- Programme Leader and Lecturer Cat Mitchell worked at Penguin Random House in London in various marketing and publicity roles. She has also worked at a literary agency, a book festival, and most recently as a freelance book publicist.
- Associate Professor Dr Matthew Cheeseman lectures in Creative Writing. He works across fiction, non-fiction and art writing, drawing on critical theory and cultural studies. Matthew also edits and publishes the work of others via Spirit Duplicator, a small press.
- Head of School of Humanities and Journalism, Alistair Hodge, who has been an editor and book publisher for over 30 years and has taught advanced English, editing, book design and production, publishing business, ethics and law. He brings an unparalleled range of expertise to the programme, along with research interests which include the ethics and practice of editing.
Your learning will also be enriched by a vibrant programme of guest lectures and regular events where authors, editors and publishers speak about the realities of making a living in the field.
The UK publishing industry is proportionately the largest and most successful in the world, so you'll have an extensive range of career opportunities open to you. You could work as an author, editor or publisher of books, magazines or digital content. You could also consider a career as a literary agent, bookseller, or events co-ordinator at a book festival.
Outside of the publishing world, employers across all sectors always need people who can write and communicate well. The key skills you'll develop on this course — writing, editing, group work and presentations — are essential for many roles, most obviously copywriters, marketers, advertising executives, events managers and publicists.
Graduates from our previous BA in Writing and Publishing went on to jobs in copywriting, arts development, librarianship, archive and record keeping, computer games and website design, teaching, marketing and law.
You may also choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level, for example on our MA Creative Writing or MA Publishing.
Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’
Our Careers and Employment 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. Throughout your studies, you will also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions.
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.
Additional information about your studies
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 below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2020 - August 2021 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.
Included in your fees
- Your course fee includes any mandatory study visits and some social events.
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Minimal printing costs starting at 5p per sheet
Optional costs not included in your fees
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.