Publishing Media

What’s so special about the publishing department at Brookes?

Your Frequently Asked Questions

We are the longest established provider of degree-level publishing education in the UK, and are often used as a benchmark by other universities offering similar subjects.

The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS) is the largest centre for publishing education in the UK. We also offer postgraduate and research degrees in publishing, in addition to consultancy and training for publishers and publishing-related organisations through our consultancy wing.

Oxford is the ideal city in which to study publishing. We are strongly networked to the regional, national and international publishing industry through our Industry Advisory Board, the Oxford Publishing Society and the Oxford branch of the Society of Young Publishers, as well as our many informal contacts. Oxford is the second biggest publishing hub in the UK, and in an under an hour you can access the London publishing industry as well.

On the web pages for OICPS you will find podcasts, an alumni page with news of our graduates and their careers in the industry, the latest news about our events and activities, information about our research and consultancy, and listings of work experience and job vacancies in the publishing industry.

Where does Oxford Brookes feature in the rankings?

The 2019 university league table from the Guardian ranks Publishing at Oxford Brookes at number two out of 61 universities in the category Journalism, Publishing and Public Relations; the 2015 and 2016 Guardian University Guide rankings also placed Oxford Brookes at number two in the same category (number three in 2018). The 2013 Sunday Times University Guide ranked Publishing at Oxford Brookes number one across all British universities in the category of Communications and Information Studies.

The 2017 National Student Survey highlights the excellent standard of the publishing programmes at Oxford Brookes. The overall satisfaction figure was 100 per cent, with 100 per cent saying that the staff are good at explaining things to their students; 98 per cent thought that the staff have made the subject interesting; 98 per cent thought that the course is intellectually stimulating; and 99 per cent thought the course is well organized and running smoothly.

Do I need particular A-Level subjects to get in to Publishing?

No. If you are joining us through a school or FE A-Level route you do need good grades to be accepted, but we do not normally ask you to have taken A-Levels in specific subjects such as English. Indeed, we welcome the variety of backgrounds that different subjects bring. So, just to take a few examples, English, Maths, Psychology, Drama, Physics, Music, Geography and Fine Art are all equally suitable. You will need Maths and English at GCSE.

Will I be interviewed?

Nearly always, yes. We try to interview all applicants, and will ask you to come in and talk to us on a mutually agreed date. The interview is designed so that we can get to know each other, and does not include formal tests, trick questions or unfair techniques. Most students say after interview that they enjoyed the experience and were very glad they came.

I’m not sure what publishing covers

That’s not unusual. Many students – especially those from a recent school or FE college background – are unsure about the scope of our publishing courses, or even what ‘publishing’ means. We take a broad view of publishing to include book, journal, magazine, and digital publishing. It’s something you can ask us about when you come for interview, but in the mean time do browse the OIPCS website to get some idea of the range and rapid change of contemporary publishing.

Do I have some choice in what I can study on Publishing courses?

Yes, you do. The amount of choice depends on whether you are studying publishing as Single or Combined Honours. Single Honours students can choose from a variety of modules in different parts of the programme, whether in editorial, design and digital publishing, the history and culture of publishing, magazine publishing, or business. Combined Honours students (for example, those taking English and Publishing Media) choose their options across two subjects, but still have access to all the modules in Publishing Media.

What do your students want to do when they leave?

Our undergraduates look for opportunities in all kinds of fields, as well as further academic or professional study such as an MA with us. Our graduates can be found in all areas of book, magazine and web publishing. Some graduates have developed their careers in journalism, PR, advertising, charities, the arts and other organisations involved in publishing and communications activities. There has been a steady rise in recent years in the number of students who want to go straight into publishing.

Do look at the alumni page on our website, which has profiles of our graduates working in publishing.

Will the degree help to get me a job in publishing?

OICPS is known both nationally and internationally – it is a very strong ‘brand’. This means that if you seek a position in publishing or another similar media role your potential employer knows what they are getting, and this usually offers a significant advantage. The publisher can feel confident that you already have a good understanding of the industry when you start work, and this helps with rapid career progression as well as in getting your first job.

Employers post real jobs and work experience opportunities on our website.

Will my publishing degree get me other kinds of jobs? I am really keen to study publishing but at the moment I’m not sure that I want to work in it.

Certainly it will. Although there is a strong professional component on our programmes, you should remember that a BA in Publishing Media, either on its own or with another subject, tells the world that you are able to direct your own studies, critically review evidence, undertake research, and create electronic and paper documents that communicate your ideas and knowledge. It is not a training course but a programme of higher education, and just like any other good degree it will serve as a starting-point for careers across both public and private sectors.

Is the publishing department conveniently located at Oxford Brookes?

The department is based in Headington Hill Hall, a building that commands marvellous views over Oxford. It was built in 1824. We also have a new, purpose-built IT suite with publishing-specific software. The Headington Library at Oxford Brookes has an extensive range of books, print and electronic journals and databases related to publishing, and special collections including the Booker Prize Archive, the André Deutsch collection and the African Publishing Collection. All of these buildings are centrally located on the main campus.

Can I study part time?

Yes, you can. Brookes undergraduate degrees can be studied in part-time mode by taking up to five module credits a year instead of the eight normally studied by full-time students. Your part-time degree then takes about five years to complete, though some students take longer.

Will I be able to get work experience while I’m studying?

Most definitely, yes. We encourage our students from the summer of their second year to seek positions in publishing companies while they study, and we find placements and help to arrange this for you. We have a member of staff dedicated to this role and an extensive range of contacts in Oxford and far beyond. Arrangements are flexible and are designed to meet different student’s needs, so the length of stay can vary from, say, a full week, or one day every week, to a whole summer. Most opportunities will be in the Oxford region, but we also arrange positions in London and elsewhere if students prefer.

Tell me about your staff

The department’s staff members are highly experienced, well qualified people whose specialities cover a wide range of ‘real’ publishing activities and expertise, as well as continuing consultancy, scholarship and research. See the full list on our web site.

This breadth and depth of staff, which also supports our extensive postgraduate programme, gives us a strong advantage over similar courses elsewhere. Our permanent staff are frequently joined by guest speakers and visiting lecturers from the publishing industry and elsewhere.

Any more questions? Come and see us at a visit day or open day.