Browser does not support script.

Postgraduate course

Publishing and Contemporary Literature MA

Build essential skills and knowledge needed in the publishing industry, alongside studying the latest literary texts, issues and cultures.

Engage with the varied worlds of publishing. Extend your knowledge and understanding of contemporary literature. Deepen your professional skills by meeting with industry professionals and get involved with literary festivals to further develop your skills and to engage with an external literary partner.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time | 2 years part time
  • Start date – October 2022
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in a related subject

    6.0 IELTS score if your first language is not English

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £6,500 full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 full time

Course overview

Our focus is on theoretical, political, social and cultural currents in contemporary literature, broadly defined as the literature of the twenty first century. Our diverse and inclusive syllabus champions the voices of writers who have been culturally marginalised. You will be supported and encouraged to develop as a literary critic. 

The focus of the publishing side of the MA is on contemporary publishing with a particular focus on independent publishing, small presses and emergent themes in writing. You will engage with a diverse and inclusive range of creative and critical texts in a variety of forms, enhancing your knowledge of the current publishing landscape. You will develop creative skills surrounding the reading, generation, selection, development and publication of new texts. 


York is a fantastic place to be if you love books and reading. There is a rich literary history in the city, and each year, the city celebrates its literary heritage with the York Literature Festival, for which our department organises several events. We are also instrumental in the annual York Big City Read with our partner institution, York Explore.

You are encouraged to take a professional approach to your study and attend the variety of events provided by the York Centre for Writing, which include visits from agents, publishers, editors and writers and fosters an important sense of belonging and community. You will also have opportunities to take part in field trips.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time, or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments. 

For postgraduate study, our academic year is split into 3 terms.

All modules are compulsory.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module examines the practical process of publishing from conception to distribution. As part of this module you will learn about the production of a book and key roles in the process.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module introduces you to a range of advanced theoretical concepts as well as helping you to transition to the new demands of a postgraduate degree.|

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module ensures that you have a sufficiently informed understanding of genre theory while introducing you to some established and emerging genres of the current moment. 

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

In this module you will examine fundamental issues such as intellectual property and copyright.

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

This module examines speculative fiction and embodiment in relation to questions of contemporaneity. These texts will be assessed through a range of critical perspectives, including ecocriticism, postcolonial and decolonial theory, gender and queer theory. 

Credits: 15

Compulsory module

You will have opportunities to debate contemporary issues. You will be expected not just to reflect but to actively synthesise the knowledge and skills developed over the course of the taught component of the MA.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

In the third term you will undertake a project module which can take the form of, for example, collaboration with a writer, a critical publishing project or a work placement. This project is introduced early in the course to give you maximum time to prepare and negotiate with a supervising tutor.


Compulsory module

The dissertation comprises an extended piece of independent research. This enables you to demonstrate the accumulated independent research and writing skills you have gained on the MA.

Teaching and assessment

Your study will be divided equally between the Publishing and Contemporary Literature elements of the course. Your learning will be collaborative and taught through peer workshops. Class sizes are kept to small, intimate groups to enable collaborative practice so that you can share and workshop ideas. You will work alongside students studying on the Publishing and Creative Writing MA and Publishing MA courses.

We provide the opportunity for you to reflect in both verbally and in writing on the progress and development of your practical project. Our inclusive learning policy ensures that all teaching materials are made available to students 48 hours in advance of class. Reading lists are usually available several months in advance and the programme team ensure that all assessment types and tasks are accessible to all students.

Our reading lists are diverse and innovative, often promoting the work of authors who have been marginalised and the publishers who champion them. This is an important element of our ongoing work to decolonise the curriculum. The contemporary focus of the MA encourages this approach, given that both texts and approaches to writing and discussion ask students to situate their practice and study within wider political, environmental and cultural contexts.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in a related subject

    6.0 IELTS score if your first language is not English

You must meet the minimum entry requirements which are listed on the course specifications.

  • MA candidates have usually already excelled at undergraduate study. We therefore normally require an undergraduate degree at 2:1 grade or higher (or equivalent). We are open to considering previous degrees in the Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences or other related subjects.

  • If you have a 2:2 undergraduate degree and knowledge of a subject related to Publishing, you may be accepted on to the course following an interview. You may also be required to submit written work to support your application.

International Students

International students will need to demonstrate that they have equivalent experience /qualifications as home students (i.e the same entry criteria as above).

If their first language is not English they must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

APEL policy

If you can't meet these minimum requirements it may be possible to take into account evidence of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as an alternative method of meeting the programme’s entry requirements. In such a case, appropriate references and records of employment might be presented to support the applicant’s case for admission.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU fees for 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2021 entry to this postgraduate course is £3,250 per year.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities.

International fees for 2022- 2022

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Student Visa must be studying full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £6,500 full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are an alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for Alumni

Additional costs and financial support


The residential trips which are essential to this course are subsidised by the university, but you will have to make a contribution towards them.


View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

This MA will prepare you for a career in the varied and exciting world of publishing. You will also leave with transferable skills in project management, copywriting, editing, communication, team work and more.

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.
Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

This course is no longer accepting applications for 2021 entry.

Why choose Publishing and Contemporary Literature?

More to explore

Get in touch

Cookie Settings