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MA Publishing Studies - study by distance learning with this innovative programme

This programme, the only one in Europe, is taught to students at a distance and does not involve being resident on campus in Oxford. The part-time, interactive course runs over two years and offers students the opportunity to benefit from the Centre’s excellent teaching alongside career and family commitments.

Advance your career in publishing with our flexible programme

What Some of our Current Students Are Saying

Why did you choose distance learning?

  • I chose distance learning because I work full time.
  • I work in Germany in the publishing industry, so it was really the only option.
  • For me it was difficult for me to move.
  • Actually, I wanted to do my masters, but then I got a job offer, so I thought I might try the distance learning course.

Why did you choose Brookes?

  • I really wanted to do a Publishing Studies MA. I looked at courses at other universities, but this was the only one that offered distance learning.
  • It has an exceptionally good reputation within publishing and is also one of the only universities that offers a distance learning option.
  • It is nice to get a broader view than just a scientific academic publishing which is what I currently do, and I hope that I will be able to take a lot of the skills I learn on the course back to my job [in publishing] and make me more valuable as an employee.
  • It was the content of the course; the reputation of the institution that was important to me. I was looking for a course that was related to the modern world, not just the theory and history of publishing. So, for someone like me, investing in a career change… looking at the industry for the first time … I needed something that had a depth and a breadth but with a good qualification at the end.

What is Your experience on the programme?

  • You interact with students on line, and having opportunities like today [Study Saturday] it is really important to network with people. Doing that virtually is really great, but it is really good to speak to people on Skype or face to face. 
MA Publishing Studies - study by distance learning with this innovative programme

Studying on the programme from a position in a publishing company in Germany, this students comments: “It is nice to get a broader view than just a scientific academic publishing which is what I currently do, and I hope that I will be able to take a lot of the skills I learn on the course back to my job [in publishing] and make me more valuable as an employee”.

Please see the Oxford Brookes Course webpage for further information, and how to apply (under the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' tab).

Why study with us?

Excellent programme and teaching

  • Our materials are developed by experienced academic staff with a variety of research interests and extensive industry expertise.
  • The three core modules are editorial, marketing and sales, digital workflow and production management (see course diagram). You will complete your degree with a research project around the present or future industry.
  • From elective modules in the second year you will acquire specialist knowledge and skills – choose from Rights and International Management, Journals Publishing, and History and Culture of Publishing.
  • The Independent Study options allow you to tailor your study to your interests or present employment
  • You will have access to the full electronic resources of the university library including journals and databases relating to the publishing and creative industries.
  • Full support is provided throughout your study including the use of online chat and video conferencing. You will be assigned a personal tutor who guides you through the modular teaching materials. You will also work with a tutor who will support your dissertation. Study days offer the opportunity for face-to-face contact.
  • The programme affords you the flexibility to switch between the distance learning and campus based courses if you decide you would like to experience teaching and learning in Oxford, with face-to-face lectures and seminars.

We have:

  • An industry advisory board that monitors and supports the development of the programme and its relevance to current publishing.
  • An extensive network of alumni throughout the world.
  • A web board where employers advertise jobs in publishing
  • Opportunities for work experience
  • A number of students are sponsored by their employers

 Your experience

While studying with the OICPS you will engage in learning about the publishing industry through core modules. Based around a range of online and print resources, the modules are divided into manageable, weekly units. Additional online activities will both engage you and provide a forum for questions and discussion. The course will encourage you to build your knowledge and understanding through problem-based examples. This process is guided by your personal tutor who will communicate with you regularly. The modules are assessed through assignments, usually written reports and essays, which are linked to the teaching units and the learning outcomes.

Much of the support for learning and study is through textbooks and materials specifically written for the modules. The print materials you are given work alongside digital resources including guided readings from electronic journals, databases and ebooks.

Access to the internet and email is essential to participate in this course. Please contact the course tutor if you are not sure whether your access is suitable.

Who would benefit from this distance learning course?

You may already be working in the publishing industry but would like the opportunity to extend your knowledge of other areas of this creative industry such as journals, trade publishing or non-fiction. Alternatively, you may want to explore the industry with a view to changing career. Given the flexibility of the programme, you could be based anywhere in the world, and we welcome international students.

What sort of person does well at distance learning?

You will need to be self-motivated and disciplined in the management of your time. Each 10 unit module assumes about 150 hours study time (15 hours per unit). This is carried out over a 10 week period, so represents an intense period of study. Can you find an extra 15 hours a week, over a 10 week period? The 10 week units occur at intervals from September through to mid-June leaving the months of July and August free.

Our personal tutor programme means you will be offered support throughout your studies. However, whilst your tutor will provide a degree of personal support, the distance-learning process does mean that you will primarily work individually. Communication with other distance-learning students is encouraged and this is possible via social networking sites such as Facebook.

Course outline and structure

The MA Publishing Studies programme which is studied by Distance Learning comprises four core compulsory modules, two elective modules and a dissertation. The modules contribute 20 MA credits each giving a total of 120 credits (60 ECTS) and the dissertation contributes 60 MA credits (30 ECTS) which together provide the total 180 credits (90 ECTS) for a master’s degree. You can complete the programme in two years and if you decide on this, the first year involves studying three modules one after the other starting in January with Editorial Management. Marketing and Sales Management follows in May and Digital Workflow Management completes the year starting in September. Alongside the Marketing and Sales and Digital Workflow Management, you also study a ‘long, thin’ module called Research Skills. This is taught over two periods of 10 weeks, with a break in the summer.

In the second year, you select two elective modules from a choice of three: History and Culture of Publishing, International Publishing and Rights Management and Journals Publishing. Studying these two modules take you to June. During the summer and through to December, you work on your dissertation.

The table below shows you how the programme works through the two years. You can take up to five years to complete the course if you prefer longer breaks between modules.

Year 1

January to March

May to July

July to August

September to December

Marketing and Sales

(20 credits)

10 weeks

Digital Workflow

(20 credits)

10 weeks

 Summer break

Editorial management, functions and strategies

(20 credits)

10 weeks


Research Skills  (20 credits)

20 weeks (every other week from May to December with a break in August)

Year 2

January to March

April to June

July to August

September to December

Elective module from International and Rights Management or Independent Study

(20 credits)

10 weeks

Elective module from Print Culture, Journals Management or Indepdent Study

(20 credits)

10 weeks

Dissertation (studied from July through to submission in December)

60 credits

Other awards

The credits that you earn during the programme can provide you with alternate awards. For example, if you successfully complete the compulsory modules, you may decide that rather than continue, you will leave the programme. At this point you are eligible for a Postgraduate Certificate in Publishing by Distance Learning. If you complete the Research Skills and the other two elective modules, you are eligible for the Postgraduate Diploma in Publishing by Distance Learning. Completing the dissertation leads to the award of the MA in Publishing by Distance Learning. If you take either the Certificate or the Diploma, you can return, complete the other requirements and obtain the higher awards.