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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



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

This course is available as a Joint Honours degree.

View Joint Honours optionsView Joint Honours options

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

Course description

The first single honours degree of its kind in the UK, this exciting course combines authorship and publishing to open up a world of opportunities in the creative industries and beyond.

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; in 2018 alone, the publishing industry in the UK generated £3.2bn of revenue and supported 70,000 jobs.

In a fast-changing society where consumers are bombarded with fake news and a flood of information, carefully curated and diverse content is more important than ever.

The publishing industry is undergoing an exciting and unprecedented time of change and is rapidly adapting to an evolving digital marketplace. It is a resilient, creative and global industry that continues to grow year-on-year. It requires professionals who are commercially and digitally aware, and who feel passionate about books, writing and reading.

Top30for Journalism, Publishing and Public Relations**The Guardian University Guide 2021
Why you should study Publishing at the University of Derby

Whether you aspire to make your living as an author, editor, lliterary agent, freelancer, or book or magazine publisher, you will find this course to be stimulating, innovative and wide-ranging.

An integrated approach

In today's publishing ecosystem, authors, editors, literary agents, publishers and professionals across the industry have never worked more closely together. Even the rising number of self-published writers work with editors, cover designers and marketing experts to bring their work to readers. 

If you are looking to pursue a career as a writer, you will need to collaborate with fellow professionals to an unprecedented degree. This course will help you to understand not only the theoretical and practical skills of writing, but also the commercial realities and opportunities from the perspective of the more business-oriented world of publishers and editors. It offers an excellent introduction that ensures you will have a thorough understanding of the marketplace for your work.

Equally, as an aspiring publisher, this course will give you valuable insight into the creative processes, aspirations and concerns of authors.

Vital practical experience

The literary creative industries have a longstanding tradition of accepting interns on work experience in a wide variety of roles. We encourage you to make the most of such opportunities and give you guidance on how to secure an internship.

There may also be opportunities for you to undertake voluntary work with our own in-house publishing imprint, Peregrine Books, which has been set up to publish books, eBooks and periodicals on a commercial basis.

Ideally equipped for career success

The BA (Hons) Writing and Publishing equips you for many different career paths in and beyond the creative industries of today. You will attain extensive transferable skills, a high level of employability and a full and nuanced understanding of the rich world of writing and publishing.

You can look forward to a wide range of possible post-graduation opportunities, from employment to freelancing, to gettting your writing published or even setting up your own business.

"I think the teaching staff are amazing. Each are different and have enthusiasms which open up whole new worlds. Their desire for us to succeed is massively inspiring." — Annice Collett, Writing and Publishing student

What you will study

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

Code: 4CW507

Introduction to Creative Forms

This module furnishes you with a comprehensive, practice-based introduction to the basic requisite skills of public creative and professional writing, the fundamentals of the disciplinary culture of creative community, and the creative writing workshop. It facilitates the shift from private and personal writing practice towards the habits and skills necessary for writers intending to be read by others.

It introduces you to the practices of generating new drafts of work, in response to prompts and/or starting from original concepts; giving, receiving, and sifting constructive and discipline-, craft- and genre-specific feedback in verbal and written form from peers and tutors; basic editing and copy-editing; redrafting; professional presentation of drafts in hard copy and document formats; maintenance of a portfolio of original work; collective self-management of workshop groups; and disciplined written and verbal reflection on individual and group creative and editorial processes, and critical self-evaluation.

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20 Credits

Code: 4CW511

The Writer's Toolbox: Reading for Writing

This module concentrates on reading as the fundamental activity underpinning the act of creating new writing. The philosophy of the module can be stated very simply: the reading and absorption of good books nourishes the potential for good writing.

You will be encouraged on this module to learn from writers; to consider the lessons you can learn from them in terms of style, structure, and theme; to apply these to your own writing; to acknowledge these influences and to reference them appropriately.

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20 Credits

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: 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: 5CW510

Different Modes for Different Media

In this Creative and Professional Practice module, you will focus on the different modes and resultant processes of writing, and produce original quality work suited to a variety of media, including print & digital formats.

You will address what processes are useful for writers to be creative and professional, and to produce work of a good standard. You will work on important areas for any writer to develop, including idea, technique, and voice.

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20 Credits

Code: 5PM501

It Says Here: Popular Music and the Written Word

The American rock writer Greil Marcus has described pop as “an argument where anyone can join in.” And of course many have. From its very beginnings, popular music has been accompanied by literary comment.

This writing has helped publicise and so effectively sell popular music as a commodity; but it has also invested it with significance. In evaluating the function(s) of popular music writing, the module will contextualise its developments in relation to various styles, movements and “moments” – for example, by considering the various forms that popular music journalism has taken.

In so doing, we will not only look at the emergence of the rock writer – and at the idea of the “professional rock fan” as “opinion leader, the interpreter, the ideological gatekeeper” (Simon Frith) - but also at the form and meanings of output from alternative platforms such as fanzines and blogs. We will also address and assess rock and pop’s “literary” claims through examination of a range of artist-generated outputs – such as autobiography, poetry, fiction, screenplay and, of course, lyrics.

The module mixes the critical with the practical. In this way, it builds on work undertaken on Writing for Media - which explored the craft of writing in and for the media industries – by giving you the opportunity to develop writing techniques and strategies appropriate to different popular music contexts and “markets,” whilst encouraging you to develop your own voice.

Assessment is by seminar participation/presentation and portfolio.



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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: 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: 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: 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

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.


More information
20 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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How you will learn

This programme offers a careful balance of intellectual exploration and the achievement of practical, professional and business-focused knowledge, skills and understanding.

You will therefore learn through lectures, project work, group sessions, teamwork, independent study and research, all underpinned by a strong emphasis on real-world and technology-enhanced learning. 

How you'll be assessed

You will be assessed by a variety of appropriate methods. In certain modules you will be asked to prepare essays or written reports, while in others you may be required to lead a group discussion or deliver your research outcomes orally. There may also be exams and tests.

Who you'll meet

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

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
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

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
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

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 20 credit module


£14,045 per year


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

Additional costs and optional extras

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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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. Call our Clearing hotline on 01332 592020 and explore your options.

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This programme will prepare you for an extremely broad range of potential career paths, including becoming a successful author in your own right.

You will be ideally equipped to secure rewarding roles in the book or magazine publishing industries, either in the UK or abroad. Other options to consider include working as a literary agent, a bookseller, an events co-ordinator at a book festival, or a freelance editor.

With the transferable skills you will gain, you will also be equipped to work as a social media marketer, advertising executive, events manager, publicist, and many other roles across the commercial and voluntary sectors.

If your ambition is to launch your own venture in the publishing field, the knowledge and skills you gain through our legal and business modules will underpin a successful commercial start-up. You could even explore moving into one of the University’s incubation units which offer reasonable rents and a range of business support services to help you establish your enterprise.

To deepen your critical awareness of the publishing industry further still, you could also 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.

Contact us

Alistair Carnegie Hodge A.Hodge@derby.ac.uk +44 (0)1332593776

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

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 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

Mandatory 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.

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