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

You can study Publishing as either a joint, major or minor subject. This will determine how many modules you’ll study at each stage. Please check your other subject to ensure it is possible to create your chosen combination.


You will study modules such as: 

You will gain a sound overall knowledge and understanding of what publishing actually entails, the culture of the industry, and how senior publishers build value in their businesses by encouraging and nurturing new writing talent.

  • The History and Culture of Publishing – charting the past, the present and the future of the industry; examining publishers’ role in promoting literature, knowledge and cultural exchange; and considering the ethical and practical issues related to book and magazine production, marketing and sales
  • Market and Media – looking at marketing theory and practice across the breadth of the publishing industry, from poetry and fiction to scholarly and non-fiction books, and including both print and digital products
  • Editorial – exploring the core function of publishers: to select which books should be published and how.

You will have the opportunity to choose from a number of modules, depending on whether you are studying Publishing as a Minor, Joint or Major subject. Core topics at this stage include modules such as:

  • Content Development – debating issues and good practice around bringing an author’s manuscript to the point where it can be published, whether in book or ebook format. How does one edit an author’s work? What are the constraints, ethical dimensions and practical considerations in taking a new book to market?
  • Law for Authors and Publishers – offering you a sound theoretical and practical overview of intellectual property law, contract and copyright law, and author contracts. This will enable you to work in any area of publishing with a confident knowledge of the legal frameworks within which publishers must operate
  • Print and Digital Production – looking at the theory, practice and technology around book and magazine production, including design, typography, traditional and new print technologies, project management, metadata and software. This will provide you with highly relevant understanding of how publishers put their book and magazine products together.

Optional topics include modules such as:

  • English for Editors – exploring questions of style, linguistics, grammar and usage within modern publishing. The English language is changing constantly, and everyone working with authors and books needs to understand all the issues surrounding publication for a wide variety of audiences and for a wide range of purposes

You will build upon the knowledge gained in stages one and two by completing either a research dissertation or by working upon a major publishing project.

  • The Twenty-first Century Book – investigating the latest challenges, issues and opportunities faced by publishers in the UK and globally. New print technologies; new forms of marketing and social media; new ebook formats; and new business models will all be explored in their widest possible context
  • Principles of Business in the Creative Industries – evaluating the many ways in which publishing, and the broader creative industries, differ from more traditional types of business. Publishers work with creative individuals to bring their intellectual property to market, and the very particular ways in which they do so form the heart of this wide-ranging and stimulating module.

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.

Smiling girl with scarf sitting in cafe with cup of coffee

Find out more about Publishing

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

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.

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

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


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.

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.

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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