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Postgraduate Course

Publishing MA

Develop your skills in publishing, critical reflection and creative practice. Work within a thriving writing and creative industries community.

Close-up of a typewriter.

Enter into the world of publishing, with a focus on the independent sector and small presses. Knowledge, context and skills will be put into practice by working on live projects, taking publications through the entire process from conception to distribution. Prepare for your career by working with industry professionals.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your degree is in a non-related subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

The focus of this MA is on contemporary publishing and emergent themes in writing. You will engage with a diverse and inclusive range of creative and critical texts in a variety of forms, enhancing your knowledge of the current publishing landscape. You will develop creative skills surrounding the reading, generation, selection, development and publication of new texts.

Your major project will be the co-creation of a publication, such as The York Literary Review. This will be a journal of original literature, including prose, poetry, non-fiction and art. You will also have the flexibility to pursue your own projects that you are passionate about. Projects can be developed and tailored to your learning needs. The staff team of award-winning writers have an exciting and diverse approach to creative writing, literature and publication and are able to supervise a huge range of proposed projects.

You will be encouraged to take a professional approach to your study and attend the variety of events provided by the York Centre for Writing. These include visits from agents, publishers, editors and writers and fosters an important sense of belonging and community. You will also have opportunities to attend trips away.

Our reading lists are diverse and innovative, often promoting the work of authors who have been marginalised and the publishers who champion them. This is an important element of our ongoing work to decolonise the curriculum. We encourage you to approach your practice and study within wider political, environmental and cultural contexts.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete.

You will study 5 compulsory modules.

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and modules will be spread across both years.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will discover the different models of practice in publishing, from conception to distribution. Examining key roles involved in the publication of a book as practised by both large corporations and small presses. Using case studies, you will examine the variety of professional roles involved in publishing.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will discover the changing nature of the publishing industry, examining key historical moments that have shaped the world of contemporary publishing. Following this, you will understand how this knowledge is applicable to anticipating future trends across fiction and non-fiction publications. This includes other literary cultures, such as blogs, reviews and literary prizes.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

Throughout this module you will learn about the challenges faced by publishers, including:

  • The economic issues surrounding commissioning
  • The relationship between publishers and agents
  • Intellectual property, sale of rights and copyright.
  • Challenges faced by smaller publishers such as funding.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on a live publishing project, such as publication of the York Literary Review, as well as taking part in York Literature Festival activities. In addition to selecting a theme and focus for the review, you will:

  • Commission work and call for submissions
  • Create copy and develop layout and typesetting
  • Print and distribute promotional materials
  • Develop a marketing campaign and launch event

You will be expected to engage with ongoing events as part of the York Centre for Writing and the York Literature Festival. This will be part of your core research that you will undertake in the capacity of a small press.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module, you will undertake a self-determined project, with supervisor support. You have options for the form your project will take. It could be:

  • A negotiated work placement or internship with a publisher
  • A collaborative project with a writer, group of writers or an organisation to produce a publication
  • A research project on an aspect of the publishing industry.

This project is introduced early in the course, giving you maximum time to prepare and negotiate content with your supervisor.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Your learning will be collaborative and taught through workshops unique to each module. Class sizes are kept small. By working as part of an intimate group, you will develop strong collaborative methods of practice, so that you can effectively share workshop ideas. You will collaborate with students studying on the Publishing and Creative Writing and Publishing and Contemporary Literature MA courses.

We will provide you with the opportunity to reflect both verbally and in writing on the progress and development of your practical project. Throughout the course, there will be opportunities for 1 to 1 sessions with your supervisor.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


Reading lists are usually available several months in advance and the team ensure that all assessment types and tasks are accessible to all students. You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your role in managing your own learning and its outcomes.

During the course, you will undertake various assessments, varying from module to module. For example, your Publishing Project will be assesses using the following:

  • A work placement or internship with a professional publisher
  • A publication created in collaboration with writers or an organisation
  • A research project focusing on an area of the publishing industry that you are passionate about

You will also be assessed on your abilities to take a project from conception to publication. This includes:

  • Editing
  • Calling for submissions
  • Distribution

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree in a related subject

    Interview if your degree is in a non-related subject

Your application many be considered if you have a degree in Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences or other related subjects.

If you have a 2:2 undergraduate degree and knowledge of a subject related to publishing, you may be accepted on to the course following an interview. You may also be required to submit written work to support your application.

International students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

This cost applies to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

The tuition fee for 2024 entry to this postgraduate course is:

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study

These costs apply to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Publishing take you?

This MA will help prepare you for a career in the publishing industry. You will also leave with transferable skills in:

  • Project management
  • Copywriting
  • Editing
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £7,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2020)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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