MRes in Publishing Studies

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 programme 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.

Applicants who are interested in careers in publishing are encouraged to look at the MLitt in Publishing Studies.

Here more about the MRes in Publishing Studies from our Director, Claire Squires:


The MRes in Publishing Studies offers you the opportunity to pursue a tailor-made programme of Master’s study in a structured and research-driven is a research preparation master’s programme 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.

Teaching Programme, Structure and Content

The teaching year at Stirling is divided into two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from mid-February to the end of May. You take the following mix of compulsory and optional modules, which are designed to increase your understanding of theoretical approaches to publishing and research methodologies, in order to equip you for effective and sustained research in the fields of publishing studies:

  • 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.
  • Arts Research Training  1 and 2: These two modules will introduce you to research and transferable skills in the Arts.
  • 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 Programme Director. Work extends over both semesters and into the summer.

You have a choice of two options drawn from:

  • 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.

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.

Other Activities

As well as programme teaching, there are a range of activities that MRes in Publishing Studies students can take advantage of, including events within the Department of English Studies (including the Scottish Centre of Poetry), and events outside the University (including the Society of Young Publishers Scotland).

Teaching Staff

All staff members teaching in the Centre have substantial experience working in publishing and publishing-related industries. Our experience ranges across several publishing market sectors, including trade, academic and educational publishing. The Centre staff is supplemented by a number of additional Visiting Speakers from the publishing industry, who come to share their knowledge and expertise with students.

To support the development and currency of our teaching programmes, we have an Industry Advisory Board, which is made up of senior figures from the UK publishing industry (including some of our alumni), who give us advice and support in terms of keeping our curriculum up-to-date.

Career Opportunities

The MRes equips you to pursue effective research projects in publishing, skills which can be either taken forwards into PhD study, or onwards in the publishing workplace.

Entrance Requirements

An upper second class or better single or combined Honours degree in a relevant subject or subjects from a UK university or an equivalent qualification. It is anticipated that students have some prior knowledge of publishing, either through previous study or working within the publishing industry.

Applicants with other qualifications or other appropriate experience may be admitted on the recommendation of the Programme Director. If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.o or equivalent.

Fees and Funding

For details on scholarships and bursaries, see the University of Stirling Postgraduate Finance pages

Further Information

The Programme Director would be delighted to discuss the programme further with prospective students, and to welcome them to Stirling to see the campus and meet with staff at the Centre for International Publishing and Communication. Contact us for further details.

Please note that it is possible to apply online for this course – please scroll down to ‘Division Name Arts & Humanities – Literature & Languages’ and choose ‘Master of Research in Publishing Studies’.