Publishing and Digital Culture BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Publishing and Digital Culture BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2018
Entry is only for year 3
3 years full-time
5 years part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£12,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Josie Barnard

This course is now available in Clearing

Please note this course only accepts applications for Year 3 entry.

Recent years have witnessed a major shift in publishing, with new technologies challenging traditional models while simultaneously creating fantastic new opportunities. Our BA Publishing and Digital Culture degree enables you to develop the skills you need to make the most of these opportunities.

Why study BA Publishing and Digital Culture at Middlesex University?

The complex and multifaceted world of publishing is a fascinating place to be, and our BA Publishing and Digital Culture degree is designed to help you get there by equipping you with a 360-degree view of the industry.

Whether you want be a small-scale self-publisher, work in the magazine business or become a commissioning editor at one of the world's biggest media conglomerates, we will prepare you for work in publishing throughout a range of theoretically grounded, practice-based modules.

On campus and through contact with industry professionals, each year you will undertake major projects which enable you to put into practice what you are learning. By the time you graduate, you will have developed a creative and entrepreneurial approach to publishing in the digital age and built a professional portfolio of work to help launch your career.

Course highlights

  • Our staff are teachers and practitioners committed to connecting students to the industry and preparing them to work in a range of settings
  • In your third year you have the option to undertake a substantial industry work placement to further develop your skills and help build your professional network
  • As part of the thriving Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, you will have access to specialist facilities, including digital publishing labs, to support text, image and layout production
  • We have longstanding relationships with the industry across the UK, from small independents to the BBC, including successful ongoing work experience schemes
  • You will learn directly from a wide range of successful publishers, writers and journalists through events like the North London Literary Festival and talks from guest speakers
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

What you will study on the BA Publishing and Digital Culture?

The first year offers an introduction to the shape of the contemporary publishing industry, with an emphasis on understanding the industry in its global social context; on the range of technologies used to publish the most popular forms of material in the 21st century; and on the essentials of managing publication from first idea to physical production, culminating in a hands-on project.

In Year 2 students develop their knowledge and skills in sourcing and managing content, including issues around the law and ethics as well as the tasks of editing and layout, and also addresses the key "new" technologies for digital and self-publishing.

Year 3 includes a substantial placement in an industry setting and further study of the structure, operation, and social context of publishing as a global business, as students focus their interests and ambitions into a project that forms the key piece of their professional portfolio.


  • Year 1

    • Media Analysis (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to introduce the processes of meaning production in the media and to develop a critical understanding of issues and concepts of cultural representation. It will also introduce your Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) which demands that all students develop a clear understanding of what employers want from graduates in the field, and begin the process of career planning and skills development.

    • The Business of Publishing (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces the key business structures and strategies of the publishing industry, providing students with the foundational knowledge they require to navigate its shifting landscape and prepare for a successful future career. In particular, it will consider the disruptive effect of new digital technologies on traditional business models and industry practices, and address the crucial legal and ethical debates which surround content production, acquisition and distribution.

    • Information Design (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module focuses on the design, presentation and communication of information for print and online publications. You will gain detailed understanding of the history and practices of information design for both print and online publications. Utilising a range of desktop publishing tools for the creation of visual information designs, the module offers technical skills in the processing of digital images for print and online and introduces the methods for the visualisation of data sets.

    • Digital Texts and Contexts (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module is designed explore novel forms of publishing which have arisen in the era of ubiquitous digital technologies and explore the challenges presented by new technological practices and forms to culture, society and/or politics (for example, collaborative publishing on sites like Wikipedia, the rise of celebrity bloggers/vloggers, gamification and the transformative effects of locative media and/or augmented reality). You will also develop vital skills for industry (such as creative development, copywriting, editorial decision making, content management, project planning and management) through the development of their own digital publishing project.

  • Year 2

    • Books and Magazines (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will introduce the key historical, theoretical and professional considerations of publishing both books and magazines. The module provides a regular series of industry speakers and the opportunity to work on a promotional campaign in order to extend your knowledge of industry practices and publishing workflows, and enable you to understand the core processes involved in taking both books and magazines from concept to consumption.

    • Digital Culture (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Building on ideas encountered in the Digital Texts and Contexts module, this module examines the critical debates surrounding contemporary digital media, especially social media and provides the essential tools to critically interrogate the practices emerging out of the daily use and participation in a range of digital media cultures. You will be introduced to a range of methodologies with which to analyse media objects, trends and phenomena of digital media and have the opportunity to reflect upon your own daily use and participation in digital cultures.

    • Self-Publishing (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module equips you with knowledge you need to understand the growing and increasingly important self-publishing industry and the skills to become self-publishers yourself. It will ground the key practical, theoretical, professional and commercial considerations of self-publishing in a range of media formats. You will be asked first to identify a viable commercial or creative opportunity and pitch the idea to the class, the winning pitches will form the basis of a group project in which you will develop skills in editing and generating content for a variety of different media formats.

  • Year 2 optional modules - choose one module from the following:

    • Visual Cultures (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will enable you to identify, discuss and analyse a range of different uses of visual materials in different cultural settings and media. It will engage you with a range of different theoretical approaches to the study of visual texts and provide students with a range of discourses for thinking about visual cultures that will deepen their understanding of other modules and professional practices.

    • Global Journalism (30 Credits) - Optional

      You will consider the circulation of information on a global scale and will ask how it contributes to the development of a global culture. Where does news come from? Is it the same all over the world? To what extent is global media shaped by western organisations? You will explore the role of the internet in reshaping the way journalism in produced and consumed, look at alternative news sites, citizen journalism, grassroots or community based journalism, diasporic media and blogging. Although the primary focus is broadcast news, the module will also explore a range of global journalistic content and forms of media production.

  • Year 3

    • Independent Project (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The independent project module requires you to engage in the development and execution of a sustained project, relevant to their field of study and professional interests, with an emphasis on self-directed and independent learning. As such, the module tests your ability to identify relevant critical frameworks in the field, to engage critically with these theories and debates, to apply this knowledge in the development of a theoretical and/or practical project, and to demonstrate the relevant intellectual, professional and time management skills to bring the project to a successful conclusion.

    • Publishing Markets (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to provide you with a critical understanding of current publishing markets (both national and international), to consider the key role played by the commissioning editor in responding to and shaping these markets to ensure the success of a publishing company, and to equip you with the analytical tools necessary to critically assess a potential market and to position a potential product within it. You will be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Enterprise Development Hub both in the development of a workable business plan and to support the launch of budding business propositions after graduation.

    • Transmedia Publishing (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module focuses on building the skills necessary to become an effective transmedia storyteller, able to pursue the seamless unfolding of a coherent narrative across multiple media (film, TV, comics, games, music and books) and/or digital platforms (blogs, forums, wikis, social networks and video sharing sites). You will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of a writer's creative processes and the challenges and opportunities provided by different media, and through the development of a live transmedia project, you will also develop key transferable skills in planning, project management, and content/digital asset management.

  • Year 3 optional modules - choose one module from the following:

    • Work Placement (30 credits) - Optional

      The work placement module provides you with the opportunity to gain valuable experience of working in the Publishing and Digital Culture sector, in order to familiarise yourself with the needs of employers and the demands of a professional work environment. The module will be underpinned by employability skills training, and support in finding your own placement, a useful skill for seeking out future employment opportunities. The module will be assessed through reflective learning in order to encourage continuing professional development and will be supported through one to one tutorials with an academic supervisor.

    • Writing the City (30 credits) - Optional

      Writing the City will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the relationship between individuals, media and the urban environment by considering a variety of media forms - from the hopeful hype of tourist guides to the errant strategies of novelists; from outdoor advertising to digital communication networks. It will produce an understanding of the urban spaces we live in as complex assemblages of ideas, technologies and representational forms.

    • International and Digital Public Relations (30 credits) - Optional

      This module explores the theory and practice of international and digital communication management. You taking this module can expect to develop knowledge and understanding of the development and status of public relations in various parts of the world - among emerging as well as developed markets - and to develop advanced skills in the delivery and critical evaluation of public relations practices in international contexts.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Publishing and Digital Culture support your career?

Publishing is an increasingly international industry; as well as the established book and magazine industries which typically combine print and virtual publishing and often operate globally, there is increasing commercial opportunity for independent, freelance and guerrilla publishers.

This degree particularly addresses skills for self-employment, freelance and portfolio careers. There is a supported placement in the final year of the programme and students learn at all levels of the programme through working on live briefs connected to the real world practice of publishing.

Other courses

Digital Media BA Honours

Start: October 2018, EU/International induction: September 2018

Duration: 3 years full-time, Usually 5 years part-time

Code: P307

Media and Cultural Studies BA Honours

Start: October 2018, EU/International induction: September 2018, Entry is only for Year 2 or Year 3

Duration: 3 years full-time, Usually 5 years part-time

Code: LP63

Journalism and Communication BA Honours

Start: October 2018, EU/International induction: September 2018

Duration: 3 years full-time, Normally 5 years part-time

Code: P508

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