MA (Literature and Publishing)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

Ireland’s only postgraduate programme dedicated to literature and publishing, this MA provides the opportunity to study the history and business of publishing within the context of literary study. The programme offers a perspective on the industrial and commercial dimensions to the production of literature and provides insight into book and magazine production, copyediting, publishing law, marketing, electronic publishing, book history and digital studies.

The publication of the journal ROPES is integral to the programme and students take full responsibility for its production.

A weekly speaker series, Publishers on Publishing, brings people working in publishing in Ireland and abroad to discuss their careers.

There are opportunities for visits to publishing houses, printers, and other relevant businesses. Some students volunteer with book fairs and literary festivals and some become interns with Irish publishers.

Key facts

Entry requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree with an overall degree result of H2.2 and with a H2.1 in one subject is required (GPA 3.0 or equivalent overall).

Please note the IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent if applicable. 

Two satisfactory hardcopy academic references are required for this programme at application stage (or relevant professional recommendations in the case of applicants who are a long time out of the education system).

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2016

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 15 to 20

Closing date: Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

The course is a full-time degree which commences in September and continues until the following August. Students take six or seven courses, depending upon ECTS weighting, and a minor dissertation is submitted in August. The journal ROPES is published each year by students on the programme. The course also includes a weekly speaker series, Publishers on Publishing, in which people working in publishing both in Ireland and abroad discuss their experience in the industry and in which experts in publishing studies discuss trends in the field. Students have the option to take a non-assessed course in electronic publishing.

The programme is based on six or seven modules. Courses include:

Contemporary Publishing; Copyediting and Proofreading; Publishing Law; Promotion Management; Introduction to Business; E-Business Marketing; Book History; Practicum; Critical Approaches; Introduction to Digital Humanities;Textual Studies; Medieval Aesthetics and Poetic Art; Early Modern Print and Manuscript Cultures; The Nineteenth Century Literary Marketplace; Travel Literature; Discovering the Archives; Thinking about Theatre; Irish Drama from Wilde to O’Casey; Irish Drama from Beckett to the Present; Literature and Colonialism; Studies in Oral History; Regional Identities; Film in the Digital Age.

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

  • Dr Rebecca Barr PhD
  • Dr Dermot Burns PhD
  • Dr Daniel Carey PhD
  • Dr Caitriona Clear PhD
  • Dr John Cunningham PhD
  • Dr Rachel Hilliard PhD
  • Dr Muireann Ó Cinnéide PhD
  • Ms Maureen O' Sullivan
  • Dr Richard Pearson PhD
  • Mr Toner Quinn
  • Dr Lionel Pilkington PhD
  • Dr Lindsay Reid PhD
  • Mr Rob Smyth
  • Dr Elizabeth Tilley PhD
  • Dr Justin Tonra PhD
  • Dr Ann Torres PhD

Requirements and assessment

Assessment is at the end of each semester either by examination, essay or continuous assessment. A minor dissertation is completed in the summer and submitted in mid-August.

Find out more

Dr Rebecca Barr
T: +353 91 495 609 | E:

PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your full-time tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay full-time TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224. 

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Student Profile

Mandy Shelton

Mandy Shelton (2012/2013)

After working in publishing in the States for about eight years, doing everything from stocking shelves to editing textbooks, I enrolled in the MALP to refocus my career in a more literary direction. Galway is the perfect place for creative pursuits, and all the opportunities available on campus serve as constant reminders of why we need art in our lives. At the same time, the MALP emphasizes publishing as a business, and a rapidly changing one at that. The field trips to publishing houses and tech companies, the volunteer opportunities at literary festivals, the seminar series with Ireland's top publishers, and, of course, the entire publication process of ROPES underline and italicize the practical value of the course. For every hour spent quietly with the books in the library, there is an equal amount of time dedicated to discussion and collaboration about publishing. I have learned more about the digital shift, author relations, and how academic theory might apply in the publishing marketplace than I could have imagined a year ago.


Student Profile

Caroline Lambe (2007/2008)—Publicity Manager, Angry Robot

"Everything from the individual classes to the Speaker Series but especially working on ROPES gave me a fantastic insight into the world of publishing and helped me hit the ground running. If it were not for the MALP, I doubt I would have found a job in publishing so fast from college, or have taken to it so quickly. I frequently use the skills I learned from the course, and it gave me a far stronger base to build upon than if I had just entered from street level."