MA in Digital Publishing

Oxford Brookes University, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

Program Description

MA in Digital Publishing

Oxford Brookes University, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment

MA in Digital Publishing

This course is run by the School of Arts

The course provides an excellent overview of every aspect of publishing, with an emphasis on digital publishing. The MA in Digital Publishing combines theory with practice and provides scope to develop specialist skills required for career development. You will leave the course with a broad understanding of the key issues facing the publishing industry in the 21st century and a wide range of publishing and general management skills, including advanced IT skills, to help you succeed in the industry.

This course is part of a group of publishing courses, run by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (within the School of Arts), which enjoy a high international standing in the publishing world. We have close links with publishing companies in Oxford and London, and staff have extensive experience in national and international publishing roles.

Our publishing programmes provide you with the skills, knowledge and networks to kickstart your career in publishing, or to improve your current position.

Why choose this course?

If you choose an MA in Digital Publishing at Oxford Brookes you will enjoy:

  • excellent employment prospects - our graduates have been exceptionally successful in obtaining employment soon after graduation and have a strong record of career progression
  • extensive industry links and networking
  • a great location in Oxford, which is a global publishing centre
  • unrivalled access to work experience and International internships
  • specialist careers advice including our Working in Publishing Day
  • a large faculty with a variety of research interests and extensive industry expertise
  • access to a wide range of visiting speakers from the publishing industry who regularly contribute to the programmes
  • a variety of awards to suit your needs and career aspirations
  • access to unique research resources and specialist publishing collections - such as The Booker Prize Archive, André Deutsch Collection, African Publishing Collection as well as the Bodleian Library
  • opportunities to visit international book fairs including Frankfurt, Bologna and London
  • an industry advisory board with representatives from major publishers such as Bloomsbury, Faber, HarperCollins, Hodder and Random House
  • links with publishing organisations such as the Independent Publishers Guild, OPuS (Oxford Publishing Society) and the Society of Young Publishers with regular events held at Oxford Brookes
  • an extensive network of alumni throughout the world
  • opportunity to attend an international Summer School in Florence with students from Slovenia, Germany, Italy and France.

This course in detail

The MA consists of five compulsory modules and one elective module plus a dissertation or major project. The PGDip consists of five compulsory modules and one elective module. Compulsory modules and optional modules are listed below.

In Semester 1 you take Design and Production for Publishing, Editorial Management, and Marketing Management for Publishing.

In Semester 2 you take the two digital modules and choose on additional optional module to develop your skills and knowledge in a specialist area of publishing.

To gain an MA you must also submit a dissertation or a major project (15,000 words or equivalent for major projects).

Compulsory modules

  • Design and Production for Publishing explores the role of the design and production department in the publishing process. It looks closely at current working practices in areas such as design and typography, project management, the evaluation and selection of appropriate media platforms, the buying of raw materials and manufacturing processes, and the use of external resources.
  • Editorial Management explores the strategic role of the editor within the publishing process and the knowledge and skills required for the development of new projects, whether in print or digital form.
  • Marketing Management for Publishing provides a systematic examination of the key concepts and disciplines of marketing and their relationship and relevance to the products of publishing. It includes coverage of the marketing mix, consumer behaviour, segmentation, targeting and positioning, and elements of market research.
  • E-Publishing enables you to engage with the dynamic nature of a rapidly evolving part of the publishing industry. Through lectures, workshops, and talks from industry speakers, you are introduced to both the strategic and practical sides of e-publishing.
  • Digital Media Publishing offers an examination of forms of web publishing with particular reference to standards of mark-up and accessibility. It provides an opportunity for the practical investigation of the strategies to publish digital media. Emphasis is placed on keeping content separate from presentation through semantic markup and the use of XML, AJAX and various web server technologies.

Optional modules

  • International Publishing Management covers the management of publishing organisations in an international context. Focusing on the need to remain competitive and survive in the rapidly changing media communications environment, you access and use a range of analytical tools; explore international management issues through case studies; and develop an understanding of the financial tools available to management to assess performance.
  • Publishing and Language Issues examines how language issues are affecting the development of publishing in an international context. It looks at these issues from the perspective of publishing in world languages (eg English, French), in major national and international languages (eg Chinese, Arabic), and in more local languages (eg Finnish, Kiswahili, Bengali).
  • New Product Development addresses the fundamental issue of how publishers survive and prosper through the development of new publishing ideas. Working in groups, students simulate the new product development process, taking marketing, editorial, production and financial elements to an advanced stage and presenting the new product proposals (books, journals, international publishing projects, e-publishing projects, translated or co-published projects) to senior management.
  • Journals Publishing introduces a rapidly changing publishing sector, covering both electronic and paper-based serial publications across science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences, and the arts. Journals publishing is characterised by technological change in everything from workflow and production to online submissions systems. Where journals publishing leads, the rest of publishing often follows.
  • Children's Publishing explores the development of the market sector and the current shape and business practices of publishing for children and young adults. Topics include picture books, co-editions and translatability; the sector's links to other leisure industries, merchandising and content reuse; editing and censorship; age ranging and gatekeeping; literacy and reading campaigns; and promotion.
  • Magazine Publishing provides a comprehensive insight into and understanding of the international magazine industry and its place as both a print and electronic product. It covers a range of contemporary issues and business models, exploring the job roles involved in the production of magazines and addressing the issues of editorial content, marketing, branding, technology, law and design.
  • Rights Management introduces the management of rights in the fast-moving world of global publishing. As well as looking at the acquisition of rights from the author, and the different rights contracted, the module covers the rights function within the publishing house and its responsibility for licensing a range of products.
  • History and Culture of Publishing examines the culture and ideology of publishing in terms of its development throughout the 20th century, and its contemporary practice. Different theories of print culture and critiques of the role of the publisher in society are reviewed, and there is an examination of ideological challenges to the culture of publishing.
  • Independent Study in Publishing offers you the opportunity to design a course of study to suit your own interests and concerns; to organise and carry out a work schedule set by yourself; and to determine a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria in collaboration with the module leader and a supervisor.

Compulsory for the MA

  • Dissertation or Major Project is the defining and essential component for the award of the MA degree. It is a major in-depth investigation of a subject, theme or issue significant to the study of digital publishing through research and extended written work or project (15,000 words or equivalent for major projects).

Teaching and learning

Some of the key teaching methods we use are:

  • lectures that provide you with foundation knowledge and a framework for study that will enable you to achieve the module's learning outcomes
  • seminars and workshops that encourage you to engage in discussion with tutors and peers to test your understanding and ability to apply ideas, to develop your transferable skills, and to encourage deeper learning
  • computer workshops to give you the opportunity to test, clarify, and apply your IT skills
  • field trips to book fairs and to the industry, for example, printers, publishers, retailers, so that you can observe at first hand aspects of the industry taught in lectures and workshops
  • work experience and internship opportunities across a broad range of departments and market sectors
  • group work role play simulating new product development in a real-life publishing context
  • individual supervision in support of self-directed outcomes for the dissertation or major project
  • use of resource-based learning materials and virtual learning environment to support your learning through computer-aided assessment and computer-aided learning.

Assessment is primarily by coursework. A limited number of class tests assess your skills in applying marketing terms and in proof reading.

Specialist facilities

Facilities available to publishing students include a purpose-built IT suite with an interactive whiteboard and sound and video projection. All students have the opportunity to learn and use professional software such as Adobe Creative Suite which includes InDesign, Acrobat, Photoshop and other software used for digital production. These technologies are taught in workshops and assessment for some modules involves producing course work using these programmes.

The library carries a comprehensive and up-to-date collection of books, journals and electronic resources relating to publishing. Students have access to many databases including Book Facts Online, the Bookseller, Business Source Complete, Fame, Global Publishing Information Reports, Logos, Mintel, Nielsen Bookscan, and Pirabase.

The library also includes a number of special collections of relevance to publishing students and researchers such as The Booker Prize Archive, André Deutsch Collection, Publishing in Africa Collection and the Book Design Collection.

Field trips

Study trips and book fairs are a key part of the courses, and each year students can attend the Frankfurt, Bologna and London Book Fairs, as well as attending the publishing summer school with our European Partners in Florence. These trips are optional and the cost is not included in tuition fees.

Attendance pattern

The attendance pattern in the first semester follows a predictable schedule. Following a full week of induction before the teaching calendar starts, your week involves lectures, seminars and workshops occupying Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday and Friday are available for you to pursue work experience opportunities which we help you arrange or to work on your course work, either singly or in your groups. Semester two follows a similar programme of a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops, group work and voluntary work at Oxford Literary Festival and London Book Fair. Your module choice will determine the days you will attend, and the other days in the week will be occupied with work experience and course work. There are occasional evening lectures by visiting speakers or those organised through Oxford Publishing Society (OPuS) and Society of Young Publishers (SYP).

Entry requirements

A good degree in any subject or significant industry experience is required. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a commitment to work in the publishing or communications industries. This commitment could be evidenced through voluntary work with communications sections in not-for-profit organisations, through short periods of work experience with publishers and through work with various media during university.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or if you have not studied a BA in English, then an English language level of IELTS 7.0 is required.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements.Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

Home / EU full-time on-campus fee: £7,495

Home / EU part-time on-campus fee: £3,820

International full-time on-campus fee: £12,870

International part-time on-campus fee: £6,560

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year.

Last updated August 28, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
7,495 GBP
United Kingdom - Oxford, England
Start date: Sept. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2017
United Kingdom - Oxford, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
- UK and EU; £12,870 - Non-EU