Publishing Studies (MRes)

Research Publishing Studies and Graduate with a University Degree

MRes, Postgraduate Certificate

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Publishing Studies (MRes)
  • Type Part-time, Full-time
  • Duration Full-time: MLitt-12 months; PG Certificate-9 months Part-time: MLitt-27 months, PG Certificate-18 months
  • Start date Full-time and part-time: September and January

Lesley McIntosh School of Arts and Humanities
Graduate Studies
University of Stirling
+44 (0)1786 466220

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication is a world-leading centre for postgraduate publishing studies, offering expertise in contemporary and historical publishing in the UK and beyond. The MRes in Publishing Studies is a course which enables students to develop strong research skills in the fields of publishing studies, either with regard to contemporary publishing issues and trends or to the history of the book and print culture. It enables and encourages an analytical and research-driven approach to publishing, leading either towards further study and research, or allowing publishing practitioners to examine in depth issues affecting their current practice.

The MRes 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

Course objectives

The MRes Publishing Studies is a research preparation Master’s course that offers students the opportunity for tailor-made Master’s study in the field of publishing studies. It also offers the opportunity to prepare for a PhD through concentrated research with a specialism in publishing.

Entrance requirements

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.

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 and January

Structure and content

The MRes in Publishing Studies is a one-year, full-time course (two years part-time) designed to enable students to research aspects of contemporary or historical publishing. The course offers maximum flexibility so that students can tailor their course to fit their research interests and professional practice. The course has both a September and a February intake, and benefits from access to the modules in the MLitt in Publishing Studies, independent research modules, and a long dissertation.

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, and go on field trips to locations including a printer and a book distributor.

Delivery and assessment

The delivery of modules is via a variety of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, seminars, self-guided study and one-to-one supervision. Assessment includes a variety of written assignments and presentations, including a portfolio of publishing research and an extended dissertation.

Module titles

Academic Year 2014/15

  • Arts Research Training (1 & 2): Our innovative training for graduates enables students to build up a portfolio of skills that prepare them for academic and professional life. All graduate students will work with their supervisors to select what’s right for them from a menu of activities. Each student will build up a portfolio of skills every year. On a taught postgraduate degree, you may be given specific guidance on what activities you need to undertake for those qualifications
  • Subject Specific Module: In this module, you will produce a portfolio of publishing-related research, which will allow you to explore - with the guidance of a supervisor - a range of issues relating to contemporary or historical publishing
  • Publishing Dynamics: This optional 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 optional 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 optional 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
  • 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.
  • Financial Management for Publishing: Confidence in the financial management is crucial to successful publishing companies and organisations of all sizes. The module enables students to understand profit, turnover and cash flow, and how it can be enabled to develop sustainable business practice.
  • Growth Strategies for Publishing: Strategies for growth in the publishing business are analysed in this module, include list-building, company acquisition, and international export, expansion, and partnerships.
  • Business Models in Publishing: As a result of the digital environment of publishing, business models are being rapidly redrawn. This module enables students to understand traditional and evolving business models for print and digital publishing, in home and international markets.
  • Digital: Process and Product: This optional module develops skills, understanding and aptitudes for publishing’s digital present and future. Students will become confident with embedding digital content creation in editorial thinking; briefing for digital products; reviewing and evaluation of products; effective usage of social media and management of digital rights; understanding of e-business models and the digital economy; deployment of analytics and metadata.
  • 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 Dissertation: This is an extended and intensive piece of research of 20-25,000 words on a topic of your choice relevant to publishing and approved by the Course Director. Work extends over both semesters and into the summer

Academic Year 2015/16

We are currently revising the curricula for our 2015/16 courses.

Course Director

Professor Claire Squires

RAE rating

Over half of our submissions in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise were found to be ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘World-leading.


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

Our staff

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.

Career opportunities

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,

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 MRes in Publishing Studies focuses on research and can be used to enhance existing publishing careers or to position students effectively for further study at PhD level. The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication has an active research profile, including the following current PhD topics:

  • Developing Literary Glasgow (an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Glasgow Life)
  • Writing Culture and Cultural Value: Ethnographies of Contemporary Publishing
  • The Saltire Society Book Awards (an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with The Saltire Society)
  • The Scottish Diaspora and the Book Business
  • The Nesta/Creative Scotland/AHRC Digital R&D Fund for Arts & Culture in Scotland (co-supervised with the University of St Andrews; co-funded by the University of Stirling, St Andrews and the Nesta/Creative Scotland/AHRC Digital R&D Fund)
  • The Literary Festival: The Festivalisation of Contemporary Literary Culture (AHRC studentship)

Industry connections

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.


2016/17 Overseas £12,450
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £11,900
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

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