The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication provides a comprehensive and coherent approach to all forms of publishing. The course covers the whole process of planning, editing, production, marketing and publication management in print and digital environments. It is dedicated to teaching the best current publishing practice, so the detailed content is updated each year as a result of the rapid changes that are transforming the industry worldwide.
The MLitt in Publishing Studies teaching course is devised, and continually updated, to reflect current publishing industry practice and standards. It produces graduates who will have an enhanced opportunity to succeed in publishing and publishing-related careers. The course is demanding, stimulating and enjoyable, and many publishers now consider it to be the equivalent of a year’s experience within a publishing company. Our graduates occupy senior positions in both commercial and not-for-profit publication organisations throughout the world.
The MLitt in Publishing offers:
- Strong publishing industry links and networks
- Enhanced publishing career pathways
- International environment with a student cohort from all around the world
- Intensive publishing research environment
In close contact with publishing businesses and the changing needs of the industry worldwide, the teaching team equips you with the qualities — intellectual and practical — that are needed for a successful working life in publishing and related organisations.
A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
INTO University of Stirling offers a Graduate Diploma for those students who do not meet the required criteria for this course. If you successfully complete the Graduate Diploma in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences and meet the required progression grades, you will be guaranteed entry onto year one of this Master's degree.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
Course start date
Full-time and part-time: September
Structure and content
The MLitt in Publishing Studies is a one-year, full-time course (two years, part-time) designed to enable students' career development in Publishing. In Semester 1, students take compulsory modules in Publishing Dynamics, Editorial Practice and Content Creation, Marketing Management and Communications, Skills Training for Publishing, and the Publishing Project. These modules offer a coherent introduction to the publishing and related industries, offering students a thorough grounding in contemporary publishing. In Semester 2, students continue working on the Publishing Project, and further the modules Marketing Management and Communications and Skills Training for Publishing, in addition to choosing from a number of optional modules: Digital: Process and Product; Publishing, Literature and Society; Skills for Publishing Management; and the internship module Publishing in the Workplace. The MLitt is completed via the Publishing Dissertation over the summer. Part-time students take the course over two years.
As well as the content of the modules, students attend a regular series of Visiting Speakers, have the opportunity to attend industry events such as the Publishing Scotland conference and the London Book Fair, go on field trips to locations including a printer and a book distributor, and to undertake a variety of internships and work placements.
Delivery and assessment
The MLitt in Publishing Studies is delivered through interactive lectures, seminars, workshops (including sessions in the Publishing Computer Lab) and one-to-one teaching.
Assessment is based on a range of practical and academic activities, including the creation of a physical publishing product (a book, magazine, e-book or app), marketing plans, presentations, and a dissertation. Students have opportunities to undertake work experience and internships, and to go on industry visits and field trips. There is also a weekly series of visiting speakers.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Full-time students have three days of classes a week in Semester 1 and two or three in Semester 2 depending on module choices.
- Publishing Dynamics – This module investigates different market sectors, introduces concepts of publishing business, finance and intellectual property, and analyses current publishing trends and issues. It also explores job roles and publishing processes, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a publishing career.
- Editorial Practice and Content Creation: This module examines the processes by which publishing projects (including books, magazines, journals, and digital products) are conceptualised and created, including via market research and literary agents. It explores the management of authors and intellectual property resources, and editorial workflow, including practical skills of project management and text preparation (copyediting and proofreading).
- Marketing Management and Communications: This module introduces marketing theory and practical publishing examples in order to develop a range of strategies for effective promotion of publishing products, through traditional and digital media, including social networking. The module also explores the publishing supply chain and effective sales.
- Publishing Project: Each student will conceptualise a publishing project (a sample of a book, magazine, or digital publication), source text and images and then design and produce it. The project is accompanied by an analysis of the the issues that emerge in its creation. Work is supported with IT workshops on publishing and design software (including InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat and the creation of EPubs). In addition, using the skills gained in Marketing, Management and Communications, students devise a marketing plan and accompanying marketing materials for a realistic and innovative launch strategy for their publishing project.
- Skills for Publishing Management: This optional module enables students to develop management skills crucial to publishing. Areas covered include strategic, operational, risk, financial and HR management.
- Digital: Process and Product: This optional module enables students to develop skills, understanding and aptitudes for digital publishing, its processes and products, including in compiling digital briefs, reviewing and evaluating digital products, management of social media and digital rights, understanding of e-business models and the digital economy, and deployment of analytics, keywords, SEO, metadata and XML.
- Publishing, Literature and Society: This optional module explores the interactions between contemporary and historical publishing and society, approaching topics including authorship, readership and the literary marketplace, censorship, wartime publishing, and publishing and diversity.
- Publishing in the Workplace: This optional module enables students undertaking work placements or internships to incorporate their workplace learning through critical reflection on their and their placement company’s activities and processes.
- International Publishing Management: This optional module introduces students to the global business of publishing, including growth strategies and financial management for publishing.
- Arts Research Training: This module enhances students’ employability skills, professional social media, online writing and editing skills, and research methods and research project development.
- Publishing Dissertation: This is an intensive piece of research on a topic of your choice relevant to publishing and approved by the Course Director. Work extends over both semesters and into the Summer.
- Publishing Dynamics This module investigates different market sectors, introduces concepts of publishing business, finance and intellectual property, and analyses current publishing trends and issues. It also explores job roles and publishing processes, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a publishing career.
- Marketing Management and Communications
- Editorial Practice and Content Creation
- Publishing Project
- Skills Training for Publishing
- International Publishing Management This optional module introduces students to the global business of publishing, including growth strategies and financial management for publishing.
- Skills for Publishing Management This optional module enables students to develop management skills crucial to publishing. Areas covered include strategic, operational, risk, financial and HR management.
- Publishing, Literature and Society This optional module explores the interactions between contemporary and historical publishing and society, approaching topics including authorship, readership and the literary marketplace, censorship, wartime publishing, and publishing and diversity.
- Publishing in the Workplace This optional module enables students undertaking work placements or internships to incorporate their workplace learning through critical reflection on their and their placement company’s activities and processes.
- Digital: Process and Product This optional module enables students to develop skills, understanding and aptitudes for digital publishing, its processes and products, including in compiling digital briefs, reviewing and evaluating digital products, management of social media and digital rights, understanding of e-business models and the digital economy, and deployment of analytics, keywords, SEO, metadata and XML.
Why study Publishing Studies (MLitt) at Stirling?
Professor Claire Squires
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, around half of the research submitted from the subject areas that now make up the School of Arts and Humanities was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent in quality, with over 10% of that research placed in the highest (world-leading) category. 85% of the assessed research from the Arts and Humanities was judged to be recognised internationally.
The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication was established in 1982 and has since developed a global reputation for its postgraduate degrees in publishing, its research activities, and its industry links.
Focusing on book, magazine, journal and digital publishing, the Centre trains the publishers of the future, provides opportunities for those currently working in the industry to reflect on their professional practice, and through its research, critically analyses the past, present and future of the publishing.
The Centre undertakes a range of staff and student research activities, including collaborations with industry, publishing-related organisations and other Universities. We focus on the history of the book and publishing studies in the 20th and 21st centuries, both in Scotland, the UK and globally, including digital publishing, graphic novels and games, contemporary literary publishing, children’s publishing literary awards and book festivals. Our work has been funded by a number of funders including the AHRC, RSE, British Council, Nesta, and Creative Scotland, working with partners including Glasgow Life, the Saltire Society and Publishing Scotland.
One of the things that really drew me to the MLitt in Publishing Studies course was how practical the modules were. The classes and lecturers offered a myriad of practical skills through the publishing project, dissertation and through the way the course was taught. Right from the start we were given group exercises, like making pitches as international companies at rights fairs, and creating marketing materials in a team in a short space of time and presenting them to the class. We were also encouraged to keep on top of what was happening in the publishing world outside of our classroom. All of this also gave me lots to talk about in interviews. We were also exposed to many different aspects of publishing, which was invaluable. When I began the course I was set on becoming an editor but I found myself becoming increasingly interested in marketing as well.
Now I am working as a Sales and Marketing Assistant with McGraw-Hill Education, a thoroughly enjoyable role where I can utilise the software, marketing, communication and design skills which Stirling gave me. It has also really helped in my understanding of how publishing in general works, and my role within the company in particular, and especially in choosing where I wanted to go. The course helped me get the job by giving me the needed skills, allowing me to articulate them in interviews and detail my professional development, and enabling me to prepare the interview tasks, but it also puts me at ease in my work. I can’t recommend it enough.
Kate McNamara, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2011-12, now Sales & Marketing Assistant, McGraw Hill
Graduating from Stirling with an MLitt in Publishing Studies gave me the tools necessary to enter the publishing sector with confidence and capitalise on what will be your crafted ability. Under the auspices of staff who know the market thoroughly and who inspire you to face challenges head on, a Stirling Publishing Studies graduate is sure to leave with the right mix of practice and theory, ready to forge a successful career in the creative industries. You’re also guaranteed to enjoy the majestic setting of Scotland’s ancient capital and will be enthused by the experiences and diversity of your peers.
Martin Jack, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2008-2009, Martin is currently Higher Education Texts and eBook Sales Manager, Taylor and Francis (Asia Pacific)
Attending Stirling was without a doubt the best decision I ever made! The MLitt in Publishing course provided me with the design and marketing skills needed to pursue a career in graphic design and the professors provided invaluable insight into the publishing industry from their first hand experience.
One of the biggest highlights while at Stirling was the incredible friendships I formed with people from around the world. I am fortunate to count them as some of my closest friends, even though we live in various countries now!
Currently, I am accountable for the marketing and graphic design at a multi-speciality medical practice in Utah. I was instrumental in assisting the company to undergo a complete corporate rebranding and have been able to build the graphic design fundamentals from the ground up. If I could offer any advice, it would be to pursue something you are truly passionate about because life is too short to do something you don’t absolutely love!
Kelley Whalen, MLitt in Publishing Studies, 2007-8
Staff in the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication all have a background working in the publishing industry, and retain extensive contacts within publishing – including via our alumni. Staff members have active research profiles, and are regularly invited to speak at industry events, literary festivals and academic conferences in Scotland and around the world including, in recent years, in China, France, Germany, India, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden.
Teaching in the Centre is supplemented by a regular series of visiting speakers, including recently speakers from Barrington Stoke, Canongate, Cargo Publishing, Cicerone Press, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh University Press, Faber & Faber, Publishing Scotland and Saraband Books.
The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication has over 30 years of graduates now working in the publishing and related industries. Entry level jobs our students have gone into in recent years include:
- Publicity Assistant, Canongate
- Publicity Assistant, Faber & Faber
- Marketing Assistant, Taylor & Francis
- Events & Marketing Assistant, The Bookseller
- Sales & Marketing Assistant, McGraw Hill
- Production Assistant, Oxford University Press
- Editorial Assistant, Oxford University Press
- Production Editor, Cicerone Press
- Publishing Assistant, Cengage Learning
- Web editor, Digital Publishing Department, China Social Sciences Press
- Foreign Rights Specialist, Suncolor Publishing Group
- Web Editor, BooksfromScotland.com
Some of our alumni who have worked in the publishing industry have gone onto the following job roles:
- Group Sales Director and President (Asia Region), Taylor & Francis
- Chief Executive, Publishing Scotland
- Managing Editor, Little Island Books
- Higher Education Texts and eBook Sales Manager, Taylor and Francis (Asia Pacific)
- Director, World Book Day
- Production Editor, Taylor & Francis
- Founder and Publisher, Tapsalteerie and Lumphanan Press
The MLitt in Publishing Studies is built around developing and enhancing publishing careers for its students. The focus of the modules is on building skills and understanding of the contemporary publishing industry, with constantly updated content and access to industry expertise. All students have the opportunity to undertake work placements, with host organisations in recent years including:
- Alban Books
- Barrington Stoke
- Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival
- Canongate Books
- Fledgling Press
- Floris Books
- Freight Books
- Luath Press
- Octopus Books
- Oxford University Press
- Saraband Books
- Tern Digital
The Centre is supported by an Industry Advisory Board, with members from Floris Books, Freight Books, Publishing Scotland, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis. Further industry support is provided by our regular visiting speaker series, and the internships and work placements provided for our students. The Centre is a Network Member of Publishing Scotland.
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
information on possible sources of funding
The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Master's course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here