Our annual look at graduate publishing programs reveals that all share a similar goal: to provide the most highly qualified candidates for today’s publishing environment. There are wide swaths of similarities among the programs, including some of the curriculum. All the schools have a majority, if not all, of their faculty comprised of industry professionals. With the exception of Vancouver-based Simon Fraser University, which has a somewhat greater emphasis on academics and research than its counterparts, the schools are geared for working adults, offering primarily evening and weekend classes. And all have active internships and connections with area companies to provide experiential learning and real-world experience. But each has a special sauce, so to speak, that sets it apart from the others. Here, PW provides a look at the fundamental facts about the programs, and chats with the directors to find the special ingredients that distinguish their programs.


John Rodzvilla

Graduate Program Director, MA in Publishing and Writing

Graduate Program Director, MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing

Senior Electronic Publisher-in-Residence

Location: Boston

Graduate degrees offered:

MA in Publishing and Writing

MFA in Popular Fiction Writing and Publishing

4+1 MA in Publishing (an accelerated master’s track for selected Emerson undergraduates to complete an MA in publishing and writing in one additional year after completing their undergraduate degrees)

Credits needed to complete the program: 40

Tuition: $51,000

Class size: Classes are capped at 12 students.

Online classes: Yes

Scholarships: A limited number of merit scholarships are available directly from the graduate program. The college’s admissions department also offers a variety of scholarships.

Part-time options: Yes

Evening or weekend classes: Yes

Faculty: Most faculty are publishing industry professionals.

Career services: Emerson has a Career Development Center and the publishing faculty help students develop network connections in the program.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: America’s Test Kitchen, DeGruyter, Dottir Press, Heinemann, MIT Press, New England Home, Pearson, Tor, We Need Diverse Books, Workman.

From the director: Rodzvilla reports that Emerson has continued to add new courses, including contract law, community publishing, and a class on backlist publishing. It is working to develop more courses that focus on experiential learning, like the ones that it currently has with the Boston Globe and other publications, in which students develop content and issues for the companies. Emerson has also developed a Pub Lab that works with nonprofit organizations to create publications for them. Last spring, students worked with Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston, to create its annual publication of writing from the women who attend classes there. Over the past few years, classes have been added that reflect the changing focus of publishing.

“Our publishing classes have started to add more of a focus on accessibility, and we continue to discuss the very real problem of diversity in publishing,” Rodzvilla said. He added that his program is designed “to help students discover their place within the publishing ecosystem,” noting that faculty members “provide advising and classroom instruction designed to help students identify what areas in publishing most align with their skill sets and interests.”


Andrea Chambers

Executive Director, Center for Publishing: Digital and Print Media

Executive Director, MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media

Location: Manhattan

Graduate degrees offered:

MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media

Credits needed to complete the program: 42

Tuition: $78,000

Class size: Classes are capped at 18 students; many are smaller, with 8–10 students.

Online classes: No

Scholarships: Publishing companies have given the Center for Publishing endowments, which have enabled it to provide tuition-based scholarship aid to qualified students.

Part-time options: Yes

Evening or weekend classes: Yes

Faculty: All faculty are publishing professionals, many from top New York houses.

Career services: The NYU School of Professional Services Wasserman Center provides a wide range of career services. All Center for Publishing students are invited to the annual NYUSPS Career Fair, which attracts more than 25 publishing and media companies.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: Brian DeFiore Literary Agency, Hachette, Harper Collins, W.W. Norton, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Wiley.

From the director: NYU’s publishing program has introduced new courses that are “highly targeted and skill-based,” according to Chambers. She cites an example, Professional Writing in Publishing: Writing to Sell Your Ideas, which focuses on “writing flap copy, sell sheets, and other sales materials, with an eye to metadata,” as well as “how to write keywords-focused online product descriptions that convert to sales.” But the overall approach that the program takes emphasizes “a full, in-depth exploration of all publishing functions, including content creation, marketing and distribution, and profitably.”

The program emphasizes “real-world, real-workplace” education, Chambers says, and to that end the faculty are increasing industry outreach to include taking students to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair for the first time this past year and, as in the past, taking students to the London and Frankfurt book fairs. She also notes that this year’s crop of guest speakers from the book industry was “particularly strong,” featuring Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House; poet and memoirist Saeed Jones; Namrata Tripathi, publisher at Kokila; Reagan Arthur of Little Brown; and Jofie Ferrari-Adler and Ben Loehnen of Avid Reader Press.


Manuela Soares

Director, MS in Publishing Program

Location: Manhattan

Graduate degrees offered:

MS in Publishing

Combined BA in English and MS in Publishing

Combined BA in Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish) and MS in Publishing

Credits needed to complete the program: 36

Tuition: $46,000

Class size: 8 to 20–25

Online classes: Yes

Scholarships: Both Pace University and the publishing program offer scholarships.

Part-time options: Yes

Evening or weekend classes: Yes

Faculty: Most faculty are publishing industry professionals.

Career services: The program works closely with Pace University’s Career Services to assist students in writing résumés and cover letters. Pace’s career services are available to students throughout their careers.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: Abrams, Crooked Lane Books, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Wiley.

From the director: “Publishing used to be called ‘the accidental profession,’ but that’s no longer true,” Soares says. “To get a job in the industry, employers expect a broader set of skills.” She constantly tweaks the curriculum to satisfy those expectations. Recently, courses in digital audience development, metadata, social media marketing, children’s book marketing, and writing and editing comics and graphic novels have been added. For years, the program has paid for students to attend BookExpo, but this year, it sent students to China for the Beijing Book Fair as well, and in 2020, the program will provide airfare for two to four students to attend the London and Frankfurt book fairs.

Soares points out that the program has a very diverse student population. She is also proud to report that Pace was ranked by PayScale in the top 12% of U.S. colleges that provide the best return on tuition investment.


Marshall Warfield

Director, Graduate Publishing Programs

Location: Rosemont, Pa.
(11 miles west of Philadelphia)

Graduate degrees offered:

MS in Publishing

Double degree program: MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing

Credits needed to complete the program: 36; 60 for the double degree

Tuition: $25,000

Class size: Average class size is 7

Online classes: There is one online course available in the graduate program, but the school plans to add more in the future.

Scholarships: Rosemont offers merit scholarships for students entering with exceptional GPAs. Recipients receive a 20% discount on their tuition. Support is also provided to graduate assistants, who earn one free course per semester that they are working. The school also offers an annual Bookbuilders of Boston scholarship.

Part-time options: Yes

Evening or weekend classes: Yes

Faculty: All faculty are publishing industry professionals.

Career services: Faculty and staff provide information and personal attention and ensure that students are constantly informed about jobs in publishing or related industries. Warfield makes himself available for résumé and cover letter review and often serves as a personal reference for students.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: Casemate, Construction Financial Management Association, Lanternfish Press, Quirk Books, Smith Publicity, Taylor & Francis, Wolters Kluwer.

From the director: Though no new courses were added this year, Warfield points out that he has increased job and internships opportunities. He notes that the program has close relationships with two “small but hungry presses”: Lanternfish Press and Hippocampus Magazine. Part of Philadelphia’s dynamic and growing literary scene, these two presses do more than just offer internships to students. The publisher of Lanternfish, Amanda Thomas, is often a guest speaker at the program, and Donna Talarico, who heads up Hippocampus, teaches the Small Press Practices course.

Recently, Rachel Doughery, an alumna and author of How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge (Roaring Brook), winner of the Outstanding Science Trade Book for Kids from the National Science Teaching Association and Children’s Book Council, worked for Talarico as an intern and has since been hired by her for production on future titles. Another alumna went on to work at Lanternfish: Feliza Casano so impressed Thomas as a part-time publicist, she is now full-time as marketing and publicity director and was made a part owner of the company.

Warfield also notes that MS students have the ability to be closely connected to “an exceptional MFA in creating writing program that allows students to cultivate a large network of professional contacts in publishing and writing circles.” Overall,
he cites the “longevity of the program and the kindness of the faculty” as two of its strengths.


Suzanne Norman

Lecturer and Industry Liaison, and Director, SFU Publishing Workshops

Location: Vancouver

Graduate degrees offered:

Master in Publishing Program (MPub)

Credits needed to complete the program: 49

Tuition: C$18,000

Class size: 15–18

Online classes: No

Scholarships: Several university and private scholarships are available.

Part-time options: No

Evening or weekend classes: No

Faculty: The faculty is composed of both scholars and industry professionals.

Career services: Seminars are offered on interview and job search strategies.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: Kobo, Page Two (an entrepreneurial endeavor created by alumni), Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Wattpad, various universities.

From the director: Instead of internships, Simon Fraser’s program offers what it calls professional placements. Suzanne Norman reports that “they differ in a number of ways from what is commonly perceived as an internship.” The main difference is that students are required to produce a comprehensive report that is reviewed by an industry supervisor, a senior academic supervisor, and a second reader. The reports then become part of the SFU’s library and the school’s extensive resources for publishers. Recent project reports have ranged from studies of copyright revision to diversity policies and innovation in publishing.

“Research is a core part of the overall publishing program,” Norman says. The MPub is not a terminal degree, she adds: this semester, an SFU student became the first person in North America to successfully defend a PhD in publishing. With obvious pride, she adds that the defense was so successful that it required no revisions.

Norman says that SFU’s comparatively low tuition, which has been erroneously perceived as an indicator that the program is of lesser value, is due to the fact that “Canadian universities are by and large public institutions and as such are supported by our governments.” And SFU does not assess fees for international students.

Correction: Feliza Casano's name and title were mistaken in the print version of this story. We regret the error.