School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Publishing

Discover the breadth of publishing, from authors to apps, from children’s picture books to e-books to magazines, whilst developing research and study skills. Structured to introduce the business and practice of publishing including editing, proofreading, design, production, sales and digital marketing. An industry focused degree with a view to employment in the creative world of publishing. This is the only undergraduate BA (Hons) Publishing course in the region.

The course works with the Publishers Association and major publishing employers to ensure the relevance of study, ensuring a smooth path between education and graduate employment. Students work on live projects with the in-house University of Plymouth Press.

This programme is not available for September 2019 entry

Join BA (Hons) Publishing in September 2020

Careers with this subject

Entry level employment includes book, magazine and journal publishing; in print and digital. Roles include editorial assistant, sub-editor, sales and production assistant, international rights. Editing and proofreading are popular freelance choices, along with design and page make-up.

Key features

  • Explore the international context of publishing through the work of writers, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and artists.
  • Benefit from lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations, with a wealth of guest speakers from all aspects of the industry.
  • Gain the experience that employers are looking for by attending practical workshops, completing case studies and attending a work placement in a publishing company in the final year.
  • Build practical skills with a course that includes hands-on learning, delivered by staff who are active in the subjects they teach, culminating in a major publishing project in the final year.
  • Supplement your academic studies with field trips that will give you access to unique insights into the industry.
  • Undertake projects with the University of Plymouth Press.
  • Progress to an established MA Publishing degree.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Core modules
    • BAPU413 The Publishing Story

      This four-week module provides an important foundation where students are introduced to publishing history and its relationship to contemporary contexts. It explores basic principles including concepts, authorship, design and image required to achieve a publication. It introduces the importance of writing, literary influence, sustainability and creative interpretation as well as research and study skills including project work and collaboration.

    • BAPU423 The Book

      The module examines book publishing. It explores the origin and nature of books and the emergence of the role of publisher. It examines the changing face of book publishing, from traditional methods to new digital formats. It also explores how publishers identify, commission and present content. It includes bookmaking, in respect of design, format, editing and images alongside practical skills and software. Key market sectors of book publishing are introduced.

    • BAPU433 The Magazine

      The module examines magazine publishing and magazine media brands. It explores the origin and nature of magazines and the role of magazine publisher. It examines the changing face of magazine publishing, from traditional methods to new digital formats. It also explores how magazine publishers identify, commission and present content. It includes magazine design, format, editing and images alongside practical skills and software. Key market sectors of magazine publishing are introduced.

    • BAPU434 Introduction to Publishing Policy

      The module introduces publishing policy and decision-making processes required prior to the publishing of text and image in printed or digital form. Students explore how ethical and moral questions have been tackled by a variety of publishers and which stance appears to have been taken, by examining the published work. Students explore different visual and textual responses through critical evaluation of each other¿s practice. Students are encouraged to select from topics chosen by book or magazine publishers and consider how these have been communicated, including environment, sustainability, conscience, caring, imagining, listening and collaborating.

    • PUBL401 What is Publishing?

      An introduction to all aspects of publishing and the publishing industry: the breadth of products and platforms including books, magazines, journals ¿ analogue and digital. An introduction to careers in the industry across all genres, including editing, copy-editing, design, marketing within an international environment.

    • PUBL402 Publishing: design and production

      This module considers how the appropriate use of typeface and image can be used to interpret, present and promote a publication. It will also explore principles such as structure, layout, hierarchy, pace and typographic detailing that are required to achieve a coherent and readable publication. Students will also be given an introduction to relevant image and page formatting software.

  • Year 2
  • Core modules
    • BAPU513 Exploring Genres: Fiction and Non-Fiction

      This module is a colourful exploration of fiction and non-fiction genres. These are viewed in relation to their impact on contemporary culture. Students explore the differences and similarities between genres by examining the role of writing, image and design in varying outputs.

    • BAPU523 Exquisite Narratives in Publishing

      This module explores the many facets of art and design publishing, from high-end books, monographs, limited edition and handmade to visual narratives in the form of graphic novels and comics. Collectible products, from the exquisite to the spontaneous, are examined and analysed in terms of commissioning, editing, design and style.

    • BAPU533 Looking Ahead

      In preparation for Stage 3, further study and employment, this module synthesizes creative, cognitive and presentation skills learned previously. Students prepare a written proposal, including a schedule of study, which draws upon previous learning and reflects personal aims and ambitions in relation to directions for further study and possible career paths. The exploration of personal aspirations and critical reflection culminates in a presentation.

    • BAPU543 Production Platforms and Distribution

      This module develops knowledge in relation to production processes in publishing. It highlights procurement, manufacturing and distribution of books, magazines and e-products and other published material. It also explores the use of materials, sustainability, printing, binding and online processes in global contexts.

    • ENGL518 The Impact of Publishing: Understanding the Technologies of Knowledge

      The module will provide an introduction to some of the key concepts in publishing history. It will look at the ways that knowledge has been captured, stored, retrieved, disseminated, policed and suppressed. It will consider how the development of different writing and printing technologies changed the understanding of the self and the self in relation to the world. It will discuss the creation, production, publication, distribution and reception of texts within their cultural, economic and technological contexts.

    • MKT211 Digital Marketing

      This module examines the impact of new forms of digital technology on all aspects of the modern marketing mix, organisational strategies and consumer facing activities. It seeks to examine modern marketing activity through a digital lens and to provide students with a greater understanding and awareness of the relationships between marketing and digital technology.

  • Final year
  • Core modules
    • BAPU613 The Power of Publishing: Culture, Society and Controversy

      This module will examine how publishing has sparked key debates, sometimes courting controversy. The module enables critical engagement with diverse themes, for example: censorship; rebellion; gender and sexuality; race; aesthetics; military conflict; religion; politics; responsibility; spirituality; the environment. Attending to social and historical contexts, the work of publishers, authors and image-makers will be evaluated with reference to their contribution to societal change across different cultures.

    • BAPU633 Publishing Futures

      In preparation for completion of the programme and with a view to the ever-changing industry landscape, this module charts current and future developments in publishing. It also introduces students to opportunities for further research and study. It includes entrepreneurship, new business models, self-publishing, crowdfunding and the opportunity to explore `what is publishing ¿ now?¿

    • BAPU643 The Publishing Major Project

      After self-initiated reflection, research and consultation with tutors, a written proposal and schedule of work is presented outlining a complex/substantial publishing-related task. Upon approval, the student undertakes self-directed and negotiated study, leading to the production of a major body of work reflecting chosen aims and interests.

    Optional modules
    • BAPU623 The Negotiated Work Place

      Students identify a sector of publishing and negotiate a work placement for a period of appropriate professional experience in a business or organisation and/or the University¿s in-house Press. The module also includes preparing for final-stage study and guidelines for graduate employment.

    • GCOM663 The Dissertation

      This module requires that students research, analyse and write a consistently argued dissertation. Students will demonstrate academic skills relating to selection of appropriate methodology and suitable methods of research. Academic writing styles and correct referencing systems will be used.

    • GCOM673 The Extended Dissertation

      This module requires that students research, analyse and write a consistently argued dissertation of sufficient depth. Students will demonstrate advanced academic skills relating to selection of appropriate methodology and suitable methods of research. Academic writing styles and correct referencing systems will be used.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Publishing programme specification 2019 20 5840

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


A level 
A minimum of 2 A levels, excluding General Studies.

International Baccalaureate
28 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

Mathematics and English language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,000 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Progression routes

Completing this course enables you to progress onto these related courses and programmes with the University of Plymouth at level 5 or level 6, as specifically defined by this programme’s progression agreement.

BA (Hons) Publishing brings a broad range of creative activities that reflect the contemporary publishing industry.

Publishing is one of the UK's largest creative industries and one that requires graduates who can think creatively across a range of media platforms. It is concerned with the creation and content of published product in many forms and genres: book history, cultural studies, new media, and writing and editing practices.

This course comprises the practical, technical and industry skills that are prerequisites for employment in the field of publishing, that are also transferable to a number of careers such as magazine journalism, the media, and marketing.

BA (Hons) Publishing students can combine design and literary interest, creativity and knowledge with practical and technical skills in print and digital media.

 As the publishing industry encompasses a range of sectors including analogue and digital books, magazines and journals, it requires employees who can think imaginatively across a range of media platforms, who have a precise command of language, a knowledge of the relationship between image and text and an interest in cultural context – all essential characteristics found in publishing graduates.

The Publishers Association: 

“In recent years there has been a large increase in the range of courses available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, offering the opportunity to study the industry in depth and acquire relevant practical skills. Attaining a BA or MA in Publishing substantially increases the chances [of employment]”.

Research with the School of Art and Media

The Centre for Media, Art and Design research (MADr) forms a gateway to harness and attract opportunities; we invite proposals to work with partners locally and globally.
Visit the MADr website

Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film

University of Plymouth has one of the few remaining movable-type printing workshops in the UK.