Information Studies


MA in Publishing

This MA prepares you for a career in the challenging world of publishing. Taught by experts and practitioners and with master classes from industry leaders, the programme of study includes all the knowledge, skills and understanding you need to become a successful publisher, including a period of professional placement.

From mass-market fiction to scholarly journals, from editorial to marketing, from e-content management to contracts, UCL’s MA in Publishing offers comprehensive preparation for entry to the industry

What will the course give you?

Today's publishing industry needs graduates with both a practical insight into how this complex industry functions and a range of transferable skills. This is what this course will give you. In particular, on successful completion you will be able to apply:

  • Editorial, sales and marketing skills
  • Publishing business plans and their successful delivery
  • Contract negotiation and copyright management
  • Digital publishing awareness
  • Global publishing, export and licensing
  • Project management skills
  • Critical approaches to problem solving in teams

Further information is available on how to apply.

The Centre for Publishing MA aims to cover a wide spread of publishing disciplines, from fiction and trade to professional, academic, scholarly and educational. Teaching staff possess a range of book trade experience and networks of contacts across all fields in the UK and internationally.

The aim of the course is to equip you with a clear understanding of how the publishing industry works and to give you the knowledge, confidence and abilities to move quickly in building a successful publishing career.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

In addition, leading publishers, literary agents, authors, legal experts, booksellers and electronic authorities visit the course to give lectures and presentations. Students benefit from masterclasses from industry leaders on current and controversial issues and field visits to retailers, publishers and libraries. Students benefit from UCL's central London location. The programme boasts an impressive range of visiting speakers and frequent opportunities for structured field visits.


Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2-5 years

Masters students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of eight taught modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months or flexible study 2-5 years) is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, full-time 15 weeks or flexible study over a period of up to two years) is offered.

Core Modules

Term One (September - December) Core modules

Term Two (January - March) Optional modules, with the exception of INSTG068.  NOTE that optional modules will only run if  there is a quorate amount of sign-ups, and that UCL reserves the right to withdraw any option from year to year.  Check on application if there is a particular module you are interested in taking. 

Term Three (May - June)

  • Students are encouraged to acquire practical work experience in the publishing industry and part time opportunities will be circulated as they arise to all students. Students may also organise their own placements with the approval of staff. Staff will also assist students with applications and writing CVs and covering letters.
  • Dissertation

Full-time study for the MA requires a calendar year (September-September), with the summer months being occupied by work on the MA dissertation.

In term time, classes are held in the morning (10:00-1:00) or afternoon (2:00-5:00). In addition, time should be allowed for private study and for completion of coursework. Classes are normally held on UCL's main site in Gower Street, London WC1; field visits and practical sessions may involve travel to other central London locations.

What follows is supplementary to UCL's information about Application and Entry, and should not be considered without reference to that first.

Entry requirements

Academic: A minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Outstanding candidates will exceptionally be considered if they can offer significant relevant industry experience. For an informal discussion and for advice, please contact Nick Canty.

English language proficiency: A very high level of fluency is vital, and international students should be aware that this is a demanding course, focussing on publishing in the English-speaking world, as it operates within global contexts.  To cope with the challenges the course provides, your English must be of an excellent standard, and you must understand the need for accuracy and good writing style that the publishing industry expects. Please view details about UCL’s English language proficiency requirement.

Work experience: Experience in publishing is not regarded as a pre-requisite - any work experience that demonstrates good people skills, written communication skills, design work, or business sense is useful. 

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

Deadlines: The last day of May each year, for entry in the same year.

Required documentation: Applicants should provide two references, of which at least one should be an academic reference. A transcript of results from your previous academic institution should also be included. It is usually possible to obtain confirmation of your results, even if you graduated some years ago. Online applications will not usually be processed until they are complete i.e. the necessary documents are all uploaded.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Publishing at graduate level
  • why you want to study Publishing at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally and/or academically with your degree

Your personal statement should tell us something about your ambitions, and what you like to read.  Don't just tell us you love reading -- everyone says that! -- but be specific.  What genres?  What bestsellers?  We are also looking for people who are genuinely interested in the industry  - there are plenty of free newsfeeds out there, so show us what you follow, and the trends and news items in publishing that you are aware of.  You don't need to know exactly what company you want to work for, or what job role - but we need to see you are keen to learn about the whole process of publishing, and open to engaging with challenging individual and group work tasks.

Our professional contacts and contexts are crucial parts of the course - and your future working environments.  We are looking for people we feel can work professionally, often under pressure, and represent themselves - and UCL - in a positive light.  We are very proud of our graduates, who have helped build the course's reputation for excellence, and who now work for publishers all over the world, in big companies, in small ones - and in ones they have started themselves.

Being a part of the UCL MA in Publishing is to be part of a supportive, dynamic, creative, and full programme - if this sounds appealing to you, then we look forward to receiving your application!

What happens after you apply?

Processing applications: Your application will initially be dealt with by the UCL Graduate Admissions Office, and then assigned to the Department where it will be checked. You will be told that your papers have been received, and are being considered. At this stage you may be asked to provide further information, or to clarify any ambiguities; this doesn't mean that there is a problem with the application. Contact with applicants is usually via email, so be sure that your account details are current and correct, and that you check the account regularly. Please feel free to email us with any queries or problems you may have.

Interviews: We select students for places on the MA after carefully reviewing the application form, and then inviting for interview those that we feel would best fit the course demands.  Skype or email interviews are arranged for overseas students. The interview, which lasts about 30 minutes, is relatively informal. You won't be expected to give a presentation, or anything of that kind.

Letting you know the outcome: We consider applications as they are received, and make decisions about offers of places accordingly until places are filled.

Successful candidates will be sent further information during the course of the summer, and you should also watch the Departmental website.

Successful applicants

UCL offers different types of accommodation to suit different students' requirements: there are halls of residence, student houses and intercollegiate halls. Information about applying for accommodation is available on the website of the UCL student residence office. Students are also free to make their own accommodation arrangements, but are recommended to live within easy travelling distance of UCL. If you are offered a place at DIS, it will be important to arrange accommodation before you arrive in London.

Under UK government regulations, international students are allowed to undertake a limited amount of paid employment to help meet the costs of their studies, and students often take casual jobs at evenings or weekends to provide a small supplement to their income. Full-time students often undertake casual paid employment at evenings or weekends, but full-time study cannot be combined with a part-time job.

International applicants that are offered a place at UCL:DIS, should familiarize themselves with the information UCL provides to help international students with arriving, living and studying in London

What follows is supplementary to UCL's information on Fees, Costs and Funding, and should not be considered without reference to that first. To search for details of programme specific tuition fees, follow the relevant links to the tuition fees table and search by 'Programme Title'.

New UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme – 2016/17

The UK government has confirmed its commitment to student loans for 2016/17. Full details will be made available on www.gov.uk from January 2016. Loan applications, eligibility, queries and decisions will be dealt with directly by the government, not by UCL.

However, currently the expectation is that the following key details to be included in the loan scheme:

  • All UK Masters degrees awarded by universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are included in the scheme. Courses that are lower than a full master's level, for example postgraduate diplomas or certificates, are NOT covered by the loan.
  • Loans will be available up to a maximum value of £10,000.
  • Postgraduate loans will be available for all full-time and part-time Masters programmes. It is not yet clear whether modular study will be included.
  • UK Nationals or anyone having settled status in the UK, and having been resident in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year of the course start date are eligible.
  • Students aged under 60 will be eligible for Masters loans.
  • Other EU nationals, and those with refugee status, may also be eligible.
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%. and repayments will not begin until 2019.
  • Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans. Rates will be set at 6% of annual income over 21,000.
  • Students who already have a master's level qualification, or equivalent level qualification, or a higher level qualification, such as a PhD, will not be eligible.

We have a number of scholarships available for offer holders for this coming year (Start date Sept 2015). Please note these are all only available to full time Home and EU students, and students can only apply to ONE scheme. Details of awards suitable for international students, and further opportunities for home and EU students, can be found on the UCL Scholarships and Funding pages.

UCL John Wiley Scholarship

A UCL Wiley Scholarship has been established by the publishers John Wiley and Sons Ltd to be awarded to an outstanding MA in Publishing student at the UCL Centre for Publishing. The successful candidate will be selected through an interview process by Wiley and UCL representatives. The UCL Wiley Scholarship will cover full tuition fees for the one year course and an internship at Wiley in the UK.

To Apply:

  • Submit an application for the MA in Publishing in the usual way, signalling on the form your interest in the Wiley Scholarship
  • Interviews for places on the MA will take place in Feb-May 2015: if you are invited for one of these, and are offered a place, you will then be able to apply for the Wiley Scholarship.
  • A separate interview for shortlisted candidates for the Wiley Scholarship will take place in early summer 2015, with a panel made up of Wiley representatives and staff from the MA Publishing course. You may be required to prepare a short presentation or piece of written work.
  • NOTE: to be eligible to apply for the Wiley Scholarship, you MUST hold an offer of a place on the MA in Publishing, and be intending to take up your place as a full-time student in Sept 2015. This Scholarship is open to UK and EU applicants only.

For further information please contact:

Dr Samantha Rayner, Programme Director

Email: s.rayner@ucl.ac.uk
Telephone +44 (0)20-7679-2473
UCL Centre for Publishing, Department of Information Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

David Tebbutt Scholarship

Faber and Faber and UCL awards a scholarship in memory of the late David Tebbutt, Finance Director of Faber and Faber from 2002 until his untimely death in September 2011.

The UCL David Tebbutt Scholarship is awarded annually to fully fund a place on the MA in Publishing programme, and is open to UK and EU applicants.

The scholarship is funded by the David Tebbutt Trust, which is jointly administered by Faber and Faber and the Tebbutt family. The principal aim of the Trust is to further the education of those wishing to pursue a career in the publishing, writing and information industries, and related fields of activity. As well as funding a full year's fees, the scholarship will also carry a guaranteed work placement with Faber and Faber.

To Apply:

  • Submit an application for the MA in Publishing in the usual way, signalling on the form your interest in the Tebbutt Scholarship
  • Interviews for places on the MA will take place in Feb-May 2015: if you are invited for one of these, and are offered a place, you will then be able to apply for the Tebbutt Scholarship.
  • A separate interview for shortlisted candidates for the Tebbutt Scholarship will take place in early June 2015. You may be required to prepare a short presentation or piece of written work, at the discretion of the Tebbutt Trust.
  • NOTE: to be eligible to apply for the Tebbutt Scholarship, you MUST hold an offer of a place on the MA in Publishing, and be intending to take up your place as a full-time student in Sept 2015. This Scholarship is open to UK and EU applicants only.

Please contact Dr Samantha Rayner for more details: s.rayner@ucl.ac.uk

Note:  Remember, only ONE of the scholarships can be applied for.  This is mainly because the companies involved are interested in supporting students genuinely committed to them and the sector of publishing they represent -not just people who are trying to get funding!  Scholarships are very competitive, and all offer holders should have alternative arrangements in place to cover funding should they be unsuccessful in the scholarship process. 

UCL Postgraduate Support Scheme

Application deadline has been extended to Thursday 30 April.

Below and in the link pasted below are details on the UCL Studentship web page of UCL’s Postgraduate Support Scheme.


Please note the highlighted bullet point below, as the eligibility criteria may exclude you if you started your undergraduate degree before September 2012 (see below).

The Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS), at UCL, offers approximately 340 awards of £10,000 each to prospective postgraduate taught students.

The aim of the scheme is to encourage students from under-represented groups to embark on a postgraduate qualification and is funded jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and UCL.

This is a one-off opportunity for those applying to study a postgraduate taught programme starting in September 2015 only. To be eligible to apply for an award candidates must meet all the eligibility criteria. The PSS is a discretionary fund that is expected to generate high demand, so there is no guarantee of funding upon application.

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for an award, candidates must:

  • have applied by the date of the scholarship application deadline to study a postgraduate taught (Master's) degree at UCL beginning in 2015/16. All subjects are eligible. Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas, and research programmes are not eligible;
  • be progressing from an undergraduate degree programme for which they were charged the higher tuition fee rate introduced in 2012/13 (i.e. those who started their undergraduate programmes from September 2012);
  • be studying full-time, or if part-time, up to a maximum of two years;
  • be domiciled in the UK or European Union (EU);
  • be from a group that is under-represented among the UCL’s taught postgraduate (Master’s) population.**

At UCL priority will be given to students from the following groups:

  • those with household incomes of less than £25,000 (assessment will be based on previous Student Loans Company entitlement (e.g. evidence of previous grant/bursary awards), and where necessary evidence of parental household income);
  • those with a disability;
  • care leavers;
  • students with childcare or (registered) carer responsibilities.

Value and duration

These awards will be offered in the form of tuition fee bursaries, with any balance paid as maintenance funding.

The aim of the course is to equip you with a clear understanding of how modern publishing works and to give you the knowledge, confidence and abilities to move quickly in building a successful publishing career. At the end of the programme you will be a professional publisher ready to launch your career with a qualification from a university that the industry recognises and values.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Bloomsbury Publishing, Marketing Assistant
  • Sage Publishing, Assistant Editor
  • Palgrave Macmillan, Digital Research Assistant
  • Laurence King Publishing, Editorial Assistant
  • Penguin, Insight Analyst
  • Simon and Schuster, International Key Accounts Manager


UCL's MA in Publishing aims to help train leaders in the industry. We employ a rigorous applications process to ensure we recruit very best potential publishers, and professional behaviours is at the core fo everything we do. This is an intensive course, which provide access to the publishing industry throughout its duration; we work with each student to equip them with the best support for their professional development. As a result, our graduates are sought after recruits. Recent job successes have been in Bloomsbury Digital, Sage, Penguin and David Higham Associates.

" Publishing people are quirky, creative, unpredictable, exasperating, endearing, infuriating and gloriously diverse...