Course Overview

Founded in 1995, this long-established and perennially popular MA remains Ireland’s only postgraduate programme dedicated to literature and publishing. It is a distinctive offering that explores the interfaces between writing and the marketplace, between literature and transmission, and between the aesthetic and material aspects of texts. Over the course of this year-long programme, students deepen their existing knowledge of literary studies while also developing new competencies in areas such as marketing, the practical elements of editorial and production work, and the business aspects of contemporary publishing.

This MA places a strong emphasis on professionalisation. Students participate in workshops dedicated to topics such as writing CVs and cover letters, interview skills, digital branding, podcasting, and blogging, and they are also offered Adobe InDesign training. In addition, it is possible to gain valuable, hands-on publishing experience by becoming involved with ROPES, a literary journal developed, edited, marketed, and produced by this programme’s students on an annual basis. This extracurricular project provides students with practical, cv-enhancing experience in areas including editing and copyediting, decision-making, project management, design, production, marketing, sales, promotion, and teamwork.

Students in this programme benefit from contact with numerous guest speakers from publishing and related industries who share their experiences and perspectives. Visiting speakers in recent years have included individuals from Tramp Press, O’Brien Press, The Educational Company of Ireland, Coracle Press, Skein Press, Gill Books, and Cúirt International Festival of Literature, along with many other companies and organisations. The programme also facilitates visits to libraries, cultural institutions, publishing houses, printers, or other relevant businesses. Some students volunteer with book fairs and literary festivals, and some become interns with Irish publishers.

The MA in Literature and Publishing not only seeks to prepare students for the varied demands of the professional world, but it also cultivates core academic skills in oral and written communication, textual analysis, critical thinking, and research. Students are encouraged to take an active approach to shaping their course so that it complements their prior academic credentials and work experience and reflects their individual interests.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online hereApplications will not be considered until they are deemed complete. Applicants to this programme will be asked to supply the following supporting materials:

  • A personal statement of approximately 600 words.
  • A 1-2 page cv listing academic and professional qualifications and achievements.
  • Scanned copies of full university transcripts (informal print-outs of exam results will not suffice). Note: this is not required for applicants who earned their BA from NUIG.
  • A scanned copy of a passport or birth certificate. Note: this is not required for applicants who were previously enrolled as students at NUIG.
  • Two academic references. This may take the form of: a) scanned letters of support from two academic referees; b) documents listing the names and full contact details for two academic referees who would be willing to provide a letter of recommendation if contacted by the programme director. Note: applicants who are a long time out of the education system and would struggle to find academic referees are advised to contact the programme director to discuss their situation.

At a later stage of the process, some applicants may be required to supply hard copies of scanned documents or additional supporting materials, such as evidence of English-language competency.

Applications are assessed on a rolling basis until the programme has reached capacity. Early applications (in the December-February range) are strongly encouraged, although those currently finishing the final year of a BA programme are advised to wait until their provisional semester 1 marks have been released. In order to maximise eligibility and receive full consideration for all available internal and external scholarship opportunities, non-EU applicants should ideally plan to apply no later than 1 February.

Each year, a number of students in this MA programme are successful in securing scholarships from a variety of sources and schemes. All Irish and EU applicants with a 1.1 BA result (or international equivalent) are eligible for a partial tuition scholarship, and there are a number of internal and external scholarship competitions open to non-EU students. More information can be found here.

Minimum entry requirements for this programme include an NQAI Level 8 qualification with an overall degree result of H2.2 and with a H2.1 in one subject (or a BA with a 3.0 GPA or equivalent). In addition, a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) is required of applicants whose first language is not English. Please note that admission to this programme is competitive and meeting minimum achievement thresholds does guarantee entry.

Who Teaches this Course

Dr Fiona Bateman
Academic Coordinator MA in Public Advocacy and Activism
The Bubble
Huston School
Earls Island
NUI Galway
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Prof Daniel Carey
School of Humanities (English)
& Moore Institute
Tower 1, Arts/Science Building
NUI Galway
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Dr Muireann O'Cinneide
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Dr Adrian Paterson
B.A., M.Phil, M.St.,D.Phil.
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Dr. Elizabeth Tilley
M.A., Ph.D.

Tower 1
3rd Floor
Discipline of English
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B.Comm, H.Dip in Ed, MBS
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Requirements and Assessment

Assessment varies based on module selection but may include a mixture of essays, oral presentations, project work, and examinations.

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. 

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

Students complete 30 ECTS of taught modules in semester 1 and 30 ECTS of taught modules in semester 2. In semester 1, all students register for ‘Literature and Publishing: Perspectives and Pofessionalisation’ (5 ECTS), and most students also elect to take ‘Contemporary Publishing’ (10 ECTS). The remaining 15 ECTS are selected from a suite of choices that may include such offerings as ‘Book History’, ‘Introduction to Business’, ‘Representations of the Book in Literature and Film’, ‘Introduction to Digital Humanities’, or ‘Promotion Management’. In semester 2, most students elect to register for ‘Copy-editing and Proofreading’ (10 ECTS) and complement this with another 20 ECTS worth of modules selected from a range of choices such as ‘Literature and Colonialism’, ‘Books Journalism’, ‘Travel Literature’, ‘Textual Studies’, ‘Medieval Aesthetics and Poetic Art’, or ‘Literature of North America’.

In the final summer months of the programme, all students complete a dissertation. Worth 30 ECTS, this is an extended, 15,000-word piece of research-based academic writing. Undertaking a dissertation of this nature means that students are challenged to collect, sort, analyse, and assess a range of ideas and information, and they learn to approach materials with a heightened level of sophistication and complexity. Due to the flexibility and interdisciplinary scope of this MA, students are free to pursue literary, theoretical, textual, archival, or practical topics in their dissertation projects, depending upon their personal strengths and interests.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Required Core Subject
A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Employers across a variety of sectors value not only the specific, publishing-related knowledge and competencies that MA in Literature and Publishing students acquire, but also the transferrable communication, research, project management, teamwork, and critical thinking skills that are cultivated over the course of this programme.

Many of our programme’s graduates have gone on to work in the publishing industry or related fields, such as arts administration, advertising, or public relations. Our alumni have secured internships or entry-level positions with companies including Gill and Macmillan, New Island Books, Four Courts Press, Random House, Columba Press, Mercier Press, ROADS Publishing, Lilliput Press, CJ Fallon, Educational Publishing Company of Ireland, UCD Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Springer Nature, Folens, Angry Robot, Penguin, Elsevier, and

The MA in Literature and Publishing also provides a solid academic foundation for those interested in continuing their studies at PhD-level in English or related fields.

Who’s Suited to This Course

This course would suit a high-achieving student with a strong undergraduate background in a humanities discipline who is looking to deepen their existing knowledge of English literature while simultaneously acquiring new competencies in areas such as marketing, the practical elements of editorial and production work, and the business aspects of contemporary publishing.

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,600 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€6,376 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€15,550 p.a. 2020/21

Please note:  The fee payable by EU students is listed under "Fees: EU".  This field is the sum of the student levy + tuition.  Fees are payable each year and are subject to change year-on year.

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.

Find out More

Dr Lindsay Reid
T: +353 91 492 565

Quick Links

What Our Students Say


Damien Lynam |   Commissioning Editor with

This MA gave me a good understanding of the publishing process and industry through a mixture of practical and more theory-based modules. I could then put that knowledge into action through the publication of ROPES. After completing the course I found that employers responded positively to the qualification and that it is well respected within the industry. This is evident by the number of MALP graduates I have come across at various stages of my career.

Tríona Marshall |   Marketing and Publicity Officer, O'Brien Press

I had been interested in a career in publishing for years, so the MA Literature and Publishing seemed like a logical choice for me after my undergraduate degree. I was delighted with the variety of classes on offer, all of which were very different from anything I had studied previously, and many of which were practical in nature. Visits from industry professionals, as well as class trips to publishing houses and printers, gave us a fantastic insight into the publishing world. The publication of our own literary journal, ROPES, was challenging yet fascinating, and the hands-on experience of the publication process has proven invaluable in my current role. The value of the degree became clear to me when I was offered an internship in publishing shortly afterwards, which has since led to a full-time position.

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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020 PDF (21 MB)