Available through Fast Track to Clearing

Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 4-6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112* (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



Joint Honours

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

What is Joint Honours?

A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.

You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.

Course description

Publishing sits at the heart of the UK’s creative economy. Study the subject as part of a Joint Honours degree and you will have the perfect springboard for a wide range of careers in the creative and cultural industries.

Top20for Publishing**The Guardian University Guide 2020
Why you should study Publishing at the University of Derby

We are the only university in the North to offer a comprehensive range of postgraduate and undergraduate courses in Publishing. This Joint Honours programme is part of that portfolio, equipping you with the industry knowledge, skills and intellectual abilities you need to thrive in your career.

In-depth knowledge, broad perspectives

This well balanced course explores every aspect of the book and magazine publishing industries. You will gain vital insights into editorial and content development, design and production, sales and marketing, entrepreneurship and the legal frameworks within which publishers and authors operate.

Throughout your studies, you will gain a thorough understanding of how to respond to the exciting new opportunities shaping the industry today and in the future.

An industry full of opportunity

The British publishing industry employs around 27,000 people directly, a very high proportion of whom are graduates. The industry has evolved in recent years to include digital publishing, although most UK and US publishers have reported an upturn in physical book sales and a slight decline in ebook sales for 2015-16.

In many ways, the UK is a world leader in publishing, with a strong reputation for innovation and quality. It publishes perhaps as many as 175,000 new titles each year and exports more books that any other country in the world. It is no surprise, therefore, that the industry offers a wide range of highly desirable career options.

The course should appeal particularly to those with a love of literature and reading. It also represents an excellent opportunity for EU or international students who would like come from overseas to study Publishing at Derby. Whatever your background or ambition, you will receive unparalleled insights into one of the largest and most important industries in the world.

Print and digital know-how

We have designed the course specifically to meet the needs of an industry undergoing dramatic technological and commercial changes.

With the printed book still accounting for around 85% of revenues, we will build your awareness of all of the traditional aspects of publishing. At the same time, however, we will ensure that you are fully conversant with digital technologies, trends and marketing techniques.

This will enable you to work successfully, and at a high level, in whichever sector of the book or magazine industry you choose to pursue your career.

New skills for a new era

A love of literature and reading is a good starting point for a career in publishing, but the industry is looking for much more than this. New entrants are now expected to bring industry awareness, business acumen and professional skills, along with qualities such as innovation, versatility, enterprise and problem-solving.

We therefore cover not just editorial functions but also aspects of the business such as leadership, project management, marketing, publishing law, and finance.

A stimulating learning experience

You will be encouraged and supported to undertake work-related experience, including contributing to live publishing projects, periods of work-based learning and internship opportunities. There is the chance to get involved with the University’s own publishing unit, Peregrine Publishing, and to attend literary festivals, book fairs and other relevant events.

Our teaching team comprises enthusiastic, dedicated academics and practitioners with extensive experience in marketing, publishing, professional writing and business. We have excellent contacts within the industry so guest speakers will share their knowledge and experiences with you. The launch event for our Publishing programmes, for instance, featured a keynote speech by Stephen Page, Chief Executive of Faber & Faber.

Compelling subject combinations

Because Joint Honours gives you the flexibility to cover two subjects in one degree, you will be able to impress potential employers with your resourcefulness, breadth of knowledge, organisational abilities, communication skills and capacity to work to deadlines.

Subject combinations which might work particularly well include:

What you will study

Example modules are shown below, the modules available as a Joint Honours student will be dependent on the subject that you combine with. In your first year, modules will be defined for you, and will be dependent on your subject combination to ensure you have the best fit. In your second and third years, module availability and the number of modules you are required to take will depend on whether you choose this subject as a major, joint or minor.

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4PU501

History and Culture of Publishing

This module introduces you to the history and culture of publishing over the last 500 years. It can be reasonably argued that book publishing began in Europe in the mid-fifteenth century with the invention of the technology whereby pages of a book could be printed using moveable type.

Compared to all previous periods, during which each copy of a book had to be written by hand, printing allowed for the production of multiple copies relatively quickly, reliably and inexpensively. The number of books, and later periodicals, being published grew enormously, providing a significant spur to major secular and religious developments, including the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and later the Industrial Revolution.

The module will provide a description and critical historical evaluation of the various trends that have contributed to literary and publication history and culture since the fifteenth century. Students will be introduced to the critical evaluation of historical sources, examining issues such as the reliability of sources and evidence, bias, and anachronism.

The module will examine the history of the industry, individual book history, broad historical and cultural themes, prominent individuals and recent trends and changes in the culture and practices of global book and magazine publishing.

Students will learn the fundamentals of financial and business arrangements around literary outputs, both in the past and in today’s increasingly globalised industry. This will include an introduction to the concepts of profit, return on investment and the financing of projects by various means.

Students will also learn concepts related to licensing of content, the sale of publication ‘rights’, consumerism and publicity, evaluating such matters in the context of historical and cultural change within the literary and publishing spheres.

The module provides essential contextualisation for the rest of your studies on this programme. 

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20 Credits

Code: 4PU502

Markets and Media

This module will focus principally on the mechanisms, techniques and theoretical approaches underpinning the marketing of literary outputs, including books, magazines, and ebooks.

It will also explore

  • Brand identity, including publisher brand, but focusing on authors as brands, particularly in recent times;
  • The rise of digital and social media marketing and B2C exposure of authors’ work;
  • The rise of self-publishing and the ways in which authors market and promote their own work.

All publishers, including self-publishing authors, have a marketing orientation to their business operations. No product is brought to market without a thorough consideration of to whom it will sell, the quantities in which it will sell, and how and where it will be promoted.

This module will consider online and offline promotional methods commonly used by UK publishers, and how to measure a return on marketing investment. Publishers must fully understand their market in order to develop successful products, leading to a successful business.

Selection of the appropriate promotional tools will depend on a number of factors – some tools are specific to the publishing industry while others are generally applicable to the promotion of products. All require skills in copywriting and research to understand consumers.

This core module will be highly practical and topical, examining current professional practice against a range of relevant academic models and theories. The module will give students the opportunity to work on a live brief from an external organisation, such as a publisher, bookseller, marketing agency or an author.

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20 Credits

Code: 4PU503


Within the publishing industry, an editor is the person who takes overall responsibility for all or part of the publisher’s output, including dealing with authors, helping to steer the editorial and commercial policies of the business, and ensuring that literary or scholarly standards are maintained.

A slightly more recent, but subsidiary, meaning of ‘editor’ describes a range of people whose roles are to correct or alter a text ready for publication. Subject editors, copy-editors and proofreaders fall within this category.

The principal focus for this module is upon the first of these definitions, although the module will also describe the processes performed by subject editors, copy-editors and others in preparing texts for publication.

Editors are the main drivers of a publishing business, commissioning authors to write new books or articles, and helping build the identity and reputation of the publishing company for whom they work.

This module will examine the fundamentals of editorial work within today’s publishing sector, and will also focus on the often complex relationships that can exist between editors and authors and their intermediaries, including literary agents, contract lawyers, etc. You will also examine the ways in which it is acceptable, or ethical, to change an author’s text, voice, style or message.

Issues of commercial management, market positioning, and business acumen are key to being a successful editor, and the module will introduce concepts of entrepreneurship, profitability, competition, the rise of digital media and changing distribution channels – all of which are issues that can impact editors as well as authors.

The module will also contain significant discussion of the role of authors, literary agents and their editorial advisers in dealing with every stage of the creative and content development phases. The negotiations around the contents of author contracts, commissioning briefs and their interpretation; discussions and ethical dilemmas surrounding how to make significant changes to an author’s text, including an interpretation of the author’s rights of copyright, integrity, and paternity.

The various roles and responsibilities of authors, editors and publishers will be explored, defined and analysed both in a historical and a contemporary context.

This module will consist primarily of lectures and seminars, with room for discussion of editorial theory, ethics, policies, and practices.

Through the module, students will also work alongside an external agency (e.g. a publisher, a literary agent, an author) to develop and interpret a detailed publishing proposal in the form of a commissioning brief or detailed literary product description. This may relate to any aspect of book, magazine, journal, newspaper or digital output.

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20 Credits

Code: 4PU504

English for Writers, Editors and Publishers

Every piece of writing intended for publication can benefit from the advice and intervention of a good editor. This module considers how authors’ texts can and should be altered, or developed, prior to acceptance for publication.

Whereas 4PU503 Editorial considers high-level editing, in which authors, agents, and publishers decide the broad parameters, approaches and content of a work, this module considers a range of language-related issues about how an author’s text may be analysed, changed, manipulated or edited by a number of hands prior to publication.

In today’s publishing environment, one of the fastest-growing sectors is self-publishing, wherein authors’ texts are often published online, or in print using short-run technology, with little or no editorial input. One of the principal functions of a publisher is to add value to an author’s work by editing their work with care, diligence, and sensitivity – but if an author chooses to self-publish then these skills become as important for writers as they are for publishers.

Issues of bias, sexism, racism, taste, decency, editorial control and freedom of expression are explored in depth.

In particular, you learn about style and technique, and hone your knowledge of ‘standard written English’. Common issues, practicalities, and industry standards are explained and analysed, including common author errors, syntax, punctuation, sentence structure and writing levels for different ages and abilities.


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20 Credits

Code: 5PU501

Writing and Publishing Non-fiction

This module introduces students to the wide range of categories that fall under the heading of non-fiction. From academic and professional publishing through to best-selling cookery books, travel books, popular science, celebrity biography, coffee-table books, non-fiction represents the largest, most diverse and commercially most significant sector of the UK, European and US book markets.

Students will learn to identify the shared characteristics and qualities of successful non-fiction. Examples from categories including history, popular science, travel, and music writing will be studied – with a sustained focus on analysing the techniques used by authors and publishers in conveying their content to targeted and often tightly defined markets and readerships (this sector accounts for a high proportion or purchases in the important book gift market).

This is also the sector in which the highest proportion of titles are commissioned by publishers: senior editors will delineate a market segment, identify suitable subject areas and approaches to that market, and then ask, or ‘commission’ an author or authors to write the main text for that new book.

The processes for commissioning is therefore of enormous importance to both publishers and authors. These publishing processes will be examined in detail. More so than with fiction or children’s books, the readership for a work of non-fiction is more easily quantifiable. Students will analyse the methods used by publishers to measure and predict audiences for non-fiction content, and how this influences the decision-making processes involved in adopting new project proposals. Different styles of commissioning will be discussed (proactive, reactive, and collaborative), and students will also investigate the strengths and weaknesses of series publishing compared to stand-alone publishing for non-fiction.

Part of the module will be dedicated to scholarly and academic publishing, introducing students to historic and contemporary issues around journals, monographs, textbooks, open access, and digital platforms. Students will also learn to compare specialist non-fiction with much broader content in the same subject area, underlining the different business models that are available and the wide range of routes to profitability that are options for both writers and publishers.

The module will provide students with a stimulating overview of the myriad forms of non-fiction writing and publishing, building upon knowledge learned in the modules on Editorial and Markets and Media. 


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20 Credits

Code: 5PU502

Writing and Publishing: Fiction long and short

The taught elements of this module cover three aspects. First, we will introduce and you will analyse a range of authorial processes and strategies designed to encourage you to think more analytically about their own creative writing. Novels and short stories from a range of genres will be studied, and students will be introduced to various theories of fiction, to comprehend the writing processes that underpin content from literary and experimental work through to highly commercial genre fiction.

Second, we will examine the roles played by authors, editors and literary agents during the content development and editing of a work of long or short fiction. Is there a typical process by which the first draft of a manuscript is developed to become the final text? How much input does the writer’s agent have in this process, compared to the editor or publisher? Who has the final say in terms of editorial approval The module will include case studies of real examples of published fiction, to help students better understand the varied dynamics of this crucial phase of the editing process.

Third, the module focuses on the publication process itself, exposing students to the many factors that can impact a work of fiction in the marketplace. This part of the module will look in particular at contemporary fiction and will consider examples – both successful and unsuccessful – of debut novels and short story collections in order to increase students’ understanding of the roles of the review media, social media, author profiles, book clubs, and publishers’ promotional activities in determining which works of fiction reach their intended readership, and which don’t.

As a whole, the module is designed to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the world of writing, editing and publishing fiction and to guide them toward success in being involved at any stage of the creative process in fiction, being in creative writing, editing or publishing, for a variety of media and audiences.

Through the module, students will compose and workshop a short ‘flash’ fiction story of no more than 1,000 words, to a given brief. The story will be designed to appeal to a distinct market segment, such as fantasy, historical fiction, romance, crime, etc., and through formative feedback in sessions, students will be required to reflect on the process of composition with reference to the requirements of agents and publishers.

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20 Credits

Code: 5PU503

Law for Writers and Publishers

Publishing, and by extension creative and professional writing, necessarily involve legal frameworks and the understanding of copyrights and rights, and this module demonstrates the importance of understanding these elements of intellectual property and how they are evolving. The key legal relationship lies between author and publisher, and over the last 300 years a corpus of statute law has evolved to codify this relationship.

Copyright, which was initially conceived as a mechanism to protect publishers from unlawful copying and piracy, now protects instead the author, in whom copyright resides until 70 years following his or her death. These protections were significantly clarified and enhanced by Copyright Act of 1988, which incorporated for the first time the moral rights of integrity and paternity. This is of considerable relevance to all writers, editors, and publishers, of all types of literary output, and is gaining special importance within digital and multi-platform publishing and self-publishing.

Underlying the key relationship between an author and a publisher sits the author contract, an often complex document that sets out the rights, responsibilities and obligations of both parties; most publishing professionals and all published authors will have an involvement with these contracts at some point, either in agreeing the principal clauses of the contract, or interpreting them, or working under them.

This module (which builds upon aspects covered at Level 4 in the modules Editorial and History and Culture of Publishing) gives students a clear overview of the history of legal agreements between writers and publishers, looking mainly at developments in the UK but also at other countries where certain aspects are often handled quite differently. It will explore the issues and breadth of rights that are possible to sell around a book, and how an agent fits into the process. Examples include the right to publish; freedom of expression; freedom from censorship; the closure of publishing companies in certain countries; subliminal or societal pressure to conform; ethical and moral questions; the role of images in copyright and publishing; as well as more wide-reaching examples of rights that may include foreign language, merchandise, film, and more.

The module will also look at legal frameworks in other creative industries such as music and film, to give students the clearest possible picture of the roles and rights of authors and publishers. These examples are quite prescient when looking at digital copyrights and Digital Rights Management Systems (DRMS) used by publishers to protect their digital products. Certain aspects of broader commercial and contract law will also be discussed along with the role of copyright and ownership in the internet age.

The module will also include analysis of some well-known legal cases and scenarios, along with sessions which introduce topical or emerging issues of law, ethics or commercial practice within writing and publishing. Novel copyright forms such as Creative Commons and its relationship to the industry will also be analysed and assessed. No prior legal training, study, or knowledge is required.

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20 Credits

Code: 5PU504

Power, Passion and Polemic: Advanced English for Writers and Editors

For millennia orators and authors have developed a wide range of structural, literary and linguistic techniques and forms to endow their speeches and written compositions with power, authority, emphasis, emotional and intellectual effect, and passion. For centuries, such techniques formed a core part of the English curriculum, and many experienced authors and speech writers still make frequent use of the more common figures, schemes, and tropes, including alliteration, anaphora, diacope, assonance, litotes, metaphor, irony, cliché, etc.

For creative and professional writers, therefore, a sound theoretical and historical knowledge of such advanced English techniques is invaluable. Appropriate and knowledgeable use of such structural and linguistic techniques can ‘improve’ their writing substantially, aiding rhythm, balance, power of emotional effect, etc.

Given that experienced writers use such techniques, it is also, therefore, imperative that those charged with editing their text should also be familiar with the structural and linguistic forms being deployed. By way of example, consider the following sentence: I said, ‘Who killed him?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know who killed him but he’s dead all right,’ and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights and windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key and she was all right only she was full of water.

An inexperienced editor might well be tempted to remove what appears to be an excessive number of the conjunction ‘and’. Yet this is a sentence from Hemingway, who, quite knowingly, had used polysyndeton to enhance the stream-of-consciousness and breathless effect he was trying to achieve. An editor must recognise, evaluate and negotiate with authors over the use, appropriateness, and effect of such rhetorical devices.

This module provides you with a sound working knowledge of such techniques, in part by analysing certain famous examples, such as the Gettysburg Address, the speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr and of Winston Churchill, as well as looking at written compositions from authors such as William Shakespeare, Thomas Huxley or Virginia Woolff.

The module will also examine the structure of compositions. 

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20 Credits

Code: 5PU505

Writing and Publishing for Children and Young Adults

Children’s and Young Adult (YA) publishing is a significant and exciting part of the global publishing market and generates significant revenue for writers, illustrators, designers, editors, agents, and publishers.

This module will offer students an overview of publishing for children, starting with a history of children as readers and consumers of stories, novels, and picture books. The ancient oral tradition of stories for children will be examined, and how this evolved into book form in the mid-eighteenth century, yet the continuing importance of oral delivery, particularly for younger children.

A selection of classic texts and authors will be studied – from Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss to J.K. Rowling and Jon Klassen – and students will be introduced to the scholarly discipline around children’s literature, to better understand the key issues and debates that frame this deceptively simple segment of the publishing industry. (In particular, imbalances of representation around gender and race will be examined.)

Students will be introduced to many different types of publishing in the children’s and YA markets. Contemporary developments will be addressed across both fiction and non-fiction and a range of publishers will be studied – from small, specialist publishers and award-winning independents to the children’s book divisions of large conglomerates. The role of literary agents within this market will be examined and there will be the opportunity to compare styles of children’s books from different countries.

The ethical and moral aspects of publishing for children will be addressed, while the module will also look at themes and issues that are perennially popular in this market – from pirates to princesses, ogres to heroines. The final strand of the module will look at this readership more closely, and how to reach it effectively via print and digital media. This is an unusual segment of the publishing industry in that the purchasing power lies not always with the reader but often with a parent, carer or school, so students will learn about issues around packaging and marketing products for an audience that comprises very different perspectives.

As a whole, the module will provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the world of publishing for children and young adults – giving them a focused perspective on print and digital publishing activity in this vibrant area.

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20 Credits

Code: 5PU506

Content Development

Building upon the skills and knowledge gained in previous modules (Editorial, 4PU003; English for Writers, Editors and Publishers, 4PU004; Power, Passion and Polemic, 5PU006), this is a highly practical module in which you will work on live briefs and literary projects of various types.

For much of this module students will work in groups, in classrooms and computer suites, supervised and aided by academic staff, to compose, write, edit text and images for real, live publications. Projects will vary in nature and extent, but may include projects such as community newsletters, local history publications, community group pamphlets, short books, or sections of larger book or magazine projects.

Students will help develop the content of such projects in a variety of ways, although each student will be asked to undertake two specific tasks for assessment purposes: editing text for publication; and a broader portfolio of project work, including a critical reflective report about the process of collaboration with the external partners, including issues that emerged, were raised and were tackled during the collaboration (see Module Assessment).

Students will learn how authors, editors and publishers can ensure successful outcomes with the use of digital coding (where appropriate, html and metadata).

Throughout the work on this module, reference will be made to the theories, professional practice, ethical conduct, legal frameworks and commercial practices that underpin work in the sphere of content development and which have been covered in previous modules.



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20 Credits

Code: 5PU507

Print and Digital Production

In this module, you will examine the principles, practices, and theories behind book design and production, both in print, digital and multi-platform formats. You will be introduced to industry-standard software that is used to manipulate illustrations, and lay out text and images when typesetting books and magazines. You will also be introduced to the fundamentals of quality assurance when manipulating content, how to code text styles and how to prepare content for transfer to ebook formats.

This module will also focus upon the role of writers as creators of content, examining the ways in which a writer’s work can be designed and formatted, as well as the ways in which writers can be briefed by publishers to supply text and images in the most suitable ways – with particular reference to a range of house styles used by different publishers.

Students will be asked to consider a wide range of different content and product types including textbooks, volumes of poetry, heavily illustrated coffee-table books, magazines, or scholarly journals with multiple authors. The module will also examine the functions fulfilled by design and production specialists such as freelance designers, type designers, jacket designers, typesetters, indexers, illustrators, etc.

A focus on working with images will be part of this module, acknowledging that writers and publishers need to develop the critical editorial and design skills to assess images, manipulate them, and use them appropriately – while being aware of copyright, ethics, and usage restrictions. The module as a whole is linked to thorough analysis of brand and audience, so that students learn how to create visually appealing content across multiple platforms, from print to social media.

The module will also introduce fundamental concepts and principles of project management theory, including critical path analysis, and how this is utilised to steer complex writing and production processes.

Through the module you will also work to a live project brief, preparing a detailed production specification, including type, page, and cover design.

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20 Credits

Code: 6PU501

Multi-platform Writing and Publishing

Almost all aspects of writing and publishing involve ‘digital’ working. Even if creative compositions are hand-written in the first instance, they will quickly be transferred into an electronic, i.e. digital form, and they will remain in a digital form almost throughout the content development phase. Illustrations, text and ancillary content will all be prepared digitally, using word processors, editing software, layout software, image processing software, etc.

To this extent most writing and publishing are digital. What is often conceived of as ‘digital publishing’ is, in fact, digital outputs of the written form, as ebooks, on websites, as blogs, electronic journals, PDFs etc. After several years of dramatic sales growth, the rise of ebooks has stalled but in certain sectors such as literary fiction, they represent a significant minority of sales for authors and publishers.

In recent years the concept of ‘digital’ publishing as a separate entity or activity has given way to a more nuanced and balanced notion of ‘multi-platform’ writing and publishing in which text is composed, prepared and disseminated (i.e. published) via a range of different formats, or in a range of different content containers, often near-contemporaneously. A new book might well be published as an ebook only a few weeks after the print version is made available.

Writers, authors, content developers and publishers therefore need to understand the theory, concepts and practice around presenting material in many formats. There is a technical aspect to this, covered in this module, as well as business aspects (pricing and distribution policies), ethical and legal considerations around the repurposing of material and whether authors can exercise control or veto over such use, and complex issues such as piracy, digital rights management, commercial decisions on price, format, and design, etc.

This module will give students a detailed and sophisticated understanding of all of these issues. They will compose material for multi-platform use and learn the technical, practical and theoretical aspects of preparing a range of digital and print outputs, including:

  • Print-ready PDFs for conventional book printing
  • Static PDFs for online publication or dissemination
  • Interactive PDFs, with multi-media elements and hyperlinks
  • Blogs and websites
  • Ebook formats
  • Metadata and discoverability
  • Illustrated digital formats

Students will work in groups to conceive, design, develop and discuss the content for publication, as well as the nature of the appropriate multi-platform formats suitable for the publication of their material. Students will submit their assignments individually. 



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20 Credits

Code: 6PU502

The Written World in the Twenty-first Century

This module offers an overview of contemporary publishing and creative writing. It is designed to get you thinking about where these creative industries are heading.

So many discussions around current trends in writing and reading offer polarised alternatives (print vs digital, highbrow vs mass market, traditional publishing vs self-publishing, etc.), but such arguments are often over-simplified and misleading. So much of what we consume and create now, in the written world, is hybrid in nature.

In this module, you engage with and contribute to current theories and debates about print culture and the roles of publishers and writers. Examining the contemporary state of writing and publishing in the UK and abroad, you consider the challenges that are facing the written world as a result of economic, social and technological developments.


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20 Credits

Code: 6PU503

A Picture Paints: Working with Images

The phrase ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ is said to have been coined in the early twentieth century. Whatever its origin, it does convey accurately the sense in which the range of meaning and emotion evoked by illustrative material can be extremely wide and have profound effects. Combining text with appropriate imagery is vital in cover design, in magazines, and also in illustrated books.

This module provides a comprehensive overview of the use of all types of illustrations with published media: photographs and bitmaps; illustrations and vector art; handwritten text as an artform; maps, graphs, and tables; paintings; special illustrative effects. Students will analyse and learn how to create, edit and manipulate illustrations of many types using industry-standard software and also flat plans and paper-based design techniques.

The module will also deal with aspects of design theory related to the emotional and intellectual effects that can be created by particular use of illustrations, including how different people react to the same image according to cultural, societal and historical factors, experience and awareness.

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20 Credits

Code: 6PU504

Principles and Practice of Business in the Creative Industries

Enterprise and entrepreneurship are essential within the economy, as they create jobs, wealth and value. Individuals contribute toward this through applying an enterprising mindset, an individual and unique combination of enterprising behaviours, attributes, and skills which can be used in a variety of contexts.

For instance, this could be in starting and growing a business (i.e. in an entrepreneurial context) or applying to existing organisations, whether large companies, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) or not-for-profit organisations (i.e. in an entrepreneurial context).

Being able to apply an enterprising mindset is highly desirable in today’s fast-moving business environment where reacting to gaps in the market or competitor actions, dealing with uncertainty, being able to make decisions and take action will all extend your commercial awareness and business acumen.

The creative and cultural industries, of all types, share certain characteristics that set them apart from other forms of business organisation. By their nature, they employ and are usually run by creative people who bring relatively high levels of intellectual dynamism and innovation to problems they encounter. The sector contains a high number of SMEs and start-ups, many of which rely on the vision and continued involvement of the business founder. Some business in the creative industries rely on alternative income and funding streams, from Arts Council grants to charitable contributions, advertising, and subscriptions, as well as straightforward sales of products and services. Within the creative industries, too, there is a high number of roles in freelance, consultancy, or knowledge transfer.

This module is designed with seminars, tutorials, and group sessions to allow students to explore all of these aspects, including how businesses and self-employed freelancers operate within the dynamic, fast-moving creative industries of today.

The aim of the module to help you understand the relevance and interaction of these elements within a business context, and to give you transferable skills you can apply in any organisational situation. Moreover, strong emphasis will be placed upon you to demonstrate these skills and to reflect upon your progress.

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20 Credits

Code: 6PU505

Book and Magazine Design

The reading of a book requires a significant investment in time. Even a short book will take several hours, during which readers must concentrate on the content of the text, and perhaps the illustrations on the page, absorbing the narrative and/or the factual information contained therein.

Any distraction, whether noticed or subliminal, affects the reader’s experience. A badly typeset or designed book is significantly less likely to be read, or enjoyed, than one in which the text and illustrations are presented in harmony and with close regard to design principles of balance, proportion, space, proper spatial arrangement and, in particular, high typographical standards.

This is one of the main reasons why certain beautifully constructed typefaces (such as Bembo, designed in 1485), Baskerville, or Garamond continue to be ubiquitous within all parts of the book, magazine, and digital publishing worlds.

Combining the right text with appropriate imagery is vital in cover design, in magazines, and also in illustrated books.

As such, this module explores the practical, but also the theoretical, aspects of book and magazine design, both interior pages and covers, as well as design for online publication. It will provide a comprehensive overview of the use of all types of illustrations with published media: photographs and bitmaps; illustrations and vector art; handwritten text as art form; maps, graphs and tables; paintings; and special illustrative effects.

Students will look closely at semiotics, the study of what meanings people derive from visual cues in typography, layout, illustrations, colour, and design; this is one centrepiece of the module’s teaching and learning which will look at how different people react to the same image according to cultural, societal, and historical factors, experience and awareness. Students also focus on typography, working with images, graphic design, and the use of industry-standard software to layout cover and page elements to a professional standard. Students will analyse and learn how to create, edit and manipulate illustrations of many types using industry-standard software and also flat plans and paper-based design techniques.

Students will learn the theory of design and also learn how to interpret the requirements of those who commission design: publishers and others who ask you as a designer to produce appropriate designs for particular purposes. To that extent, the module is a balance of pure theory and applied practice, giving a good grounding for anyone who will be involved in the design of printed or digital publications in a variety of markets.


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20 Credits

Code: 6PU506

Writing and Publishing: Magazines

This module focuses principally on writing, editing and publishing trade magazines of many varieties. The magazine and periodical sector differs from book publishing in that a much higher proportion of the textual content of the former is written by in-house staff. In book publishing, most content is generated by external, third-party authors, whose work is then edited and prepared for publication by a range of professionals working at or for the book publisher. In magazines, staff writers and reporters create content themselves, while also commissioning freelancers and others to write for their magazines.

Another principal difference, and feature, is that magazines by their nature are published repeatedly, often weekly or monthly. This generates a recurring demand, usually under strict deadlines, for copy to be written. To that extent writing for magazines can be pressured and stressful but also exciting and stimulating creatively.

This module explores the worlds of writing, ‘subbing’ and publishing magazines and periodicals. It looks at the many different and evolving markets for periodicals, examines the extraordinary range of writing required, and looks at different models of professional involvement and employment in this sector, from high-level editing and publishing to freelance writing and reporting.

The module allows students to learn industry-standard software for print and online publication of text, while developing the sophistication and subtlety of writing and composition that is demanded by the sector.


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20 Credits

Code: 6PU507

Independent Study in Writing and Publishing

Students have a choice of Independent Study topics in this module: a research-based dissertation, or a major writing or publishing project. The options have been designed to offer parity of learning and experience, so that whichever option you choose you will be required to undertake similar amounts and levels of work, both supervised and independently, and have equivalent opportunities to demonstrate your achievement and abilities against all of the module learning outcomes.

1 Research dissertation

Following a number of formal sessions to study research methodologies, you will choose, develop and refine a research topic, consisting of an in-depth investigation on a theme, subject or issue of significance to the study of writing, editing or publishing, culminating in the preparation of a fully referenced, dissertation (10,000 words).

2 Major IS project

Following a number of formal sessions to study research methodologies, you will choose, develop and refine a major writing or publishing project. You will be required to work independently or as part of a team to develop a specific output, either in the form of a portfolio of creative or professional writing, or a publishing project, which may take the form of a complete book or magazine, or a section thereof. The summative assessment of your major project will be in the form of the output itself and a critical reflective review (5,000 words), referenced as appropriate, outlining the processes, theories, principles, and practices adopted during the project.




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40 Credits

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.

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Undergraduate Live Online Events

While we’re not able to welcome you in person to our campuses at the moment, we’re not going to let that stop us showing you all the great things about studying at Derby.

We’re currently planning our autumn Open Events to bring you the best possible online and on-campus experience.

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Virtual Open Day

Delve deeper into the course with our Virtual Open Day, packed with subject and course information to help you make your choice, including tours of facilities, 360° views of award-winning accommodation plus advice and insight from students and academics.

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How you will learn

You will learn via a broad variety of techniques, including lectures, computer-based practical work, group research and discussions.

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed mainly by coursework, including written and oral presentations, essays, reports and research findings.

Who you'll meet

You will learn from a supportive and enthusiastic team who bring together extensive academic experience and industry knowledge.

Subject Leader Alistair Hodge has been a non-fiction book publisher, commissioning editor, designer and business leader for 30 years. He brings an unparalleled range of expertise to the programme, along with research interests which include the ethics and practice of editing.

Specialist modules are taught by subject experts with detailed knowledge and understanding of their areas. 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.

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112* (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

For joint honours degree entry you will need to choose two subjects. The entry criteria here is for this subject only. Your offer will be based on the higher entry criteria from the two subjects you choose to do. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

*The UCAS Points required for entry will depend on the subjects you choose to combine. The subject with the higher entry requirements will determine your offer.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

September 2021 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112*
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

For Joint Honours degree entry you will need to choose two subjects. The entry criteria here is for this subject only. Your offer will be based on the higher entry criteria from the two subjects you choose to do. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

*The UCAS Points required for entry will depend on the subjects you choose to combine. The subject with the higher entry requirements will determine your offer.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

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Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

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Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per 20 credit module


£14,045 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree

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Fast track to Clearing

If you don’t have a place at uni, have had a change of heart about your course, or maybe your gap year plans are on hold – don’t worry. Register with us today and fast forward to your future.

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Publishing represents a hugely stimulating career for graduates. By studying this subject as part of a Joint Honours degree, you’ll be well prepared for roles spanning everything from editorial to marketing, and from production to business development.

You could secure employment with small or large publishers in the UK or abroad, consider a career as a freelancer or even set up your own publishing business. Publishing roles are increasingly emerging within charitable organisations, government bodies and cultural organisations such as galleries and museums too. 

Many of the intellectual skills you develop on this programme are highly transferable to a wide range of other occupations in and beyond the creative industries. As a Joint Honours graduate, you will also set yourself apart as a versatile, well organised, adaptable and independent learner.

If you would like to deepen your critical awareness of the publishing industry further still, you could progress to postgraduate study with our innovative MA Publishing.

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.

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Additional information about your studies

You will typically study your two subjects equally at stage one, before choosing whether you want to major in one subject at stages two and three.

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.

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.

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Publishing can be combined with:

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