Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 4-6 years
£9,250 per year* (2020/21)
£14,045 per year (2020/21)
112 (September 2020 entry)
Kedleston Road, Derby Campus
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.
- Publishing at Derby has been ranked in the Top 20 in The Guardian University Guide 2020
- Develop the understanding and skills you need to embark upon a successful career in the publishing industry, including in editorial, rights, marketing, sales, publicity, production, design, or even becoming a published author yourself
- Explore the entire spectrum of the creative process: our unique, integrated curriculum takes you from conception and writing through to content development, editing, publishing, sales and beyond
- Learn all the practical skills needed in the rapidly-changing, multi-platform publishing marketplace, including how to create an interactive eBook and use digital design programs
- Look at the creative literary industry from all angles and cover every sector – from commercial fiction to academic publishing, poetry to biography, and from children’s picture books to Young Adult novels
- Build essential business and leadership skills and gain insights into important aspects of the law, including author contracts and copyright
- Gain real-world experience of writing, editing and publishing through live projects with publishers, including our in-house imprint, Peregrine Publishing
- Learn from our enthusiastic and highly experienced lecturers, who have substantial backgrounds in the creative and publishing industries
- Gain insight from a wide variety of guest speakers from across the industry. Previous speakers have included professionals from Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins, Little Brown, DK, Waterstones Head Office, The Bookseller, The Southbank Centre in London, and Derby Book Festival, as well as a number of literary agents and published authors
- Benefit from networking opportunities on our trip to the London Book Fair, and experience visiting a book festival first-hand
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Senior Lecturer Dr David Barker worked in publishing for over 20 years, as a Commissioning Editor and then a Publishing Director, in both London and New York. Most recently he was Publishing Director at Bloomsbury Academic in London.
- Lecturer Cat Mitchell worked at Penguin Random House in London in various marketing and publicity roles. She has also worked at a literary agency, a book festival, and most recently as a freelance book publicist.
- Associate Professor Dr Matthew Cheeseman lectures in Creative Writing. He works across fiction, non-fiction and art writing, drawing on critical theory and cultural studies. Matthew also edits and publishes the work of others via Spirit Duplicator, a small press.
- Head of School of Humanities and Journalism, Alistair Hodge, who has been an editor and book publisher for over 30 years and has taught advanced English, editing, book design and production, publishing business, ethics and law. He brings an unparalleled range of expertise to the programme, along with research interests which include the ethics and practice of editing.
Your learning will also be enriched by a vibrant programme of guest lectures and regular events where authors, editors and publishers speak about the realities of making a living in the field.
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
September 2020 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|UCAS points||112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
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.
£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.
Additional costs and optional extras
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.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
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.
Included in your fees
- The fee includes any mandatory study visits and some social events
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Minimal printing costs starting at 5p per sheet
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.