This year has provided little respite from the unprecedented challenges of 2020. As a second year of coping with a global pandemic concludes, the publishing industry has taken pains to become a bit more adaptive. This is as true for individuals as it has been for institutions—and perhaps especially in the realm of education. In PW’s annual check-in with graduate publishing programs, we see that the long-term effects of Covid-19—as well as the continuing calls for accessibility and equity in the publishing industry—have left a permanent mark on the ways programs support students and position them for success. To find out how graduate publishing programs have adapted, PW spoke with directors and faculty at four of the largest programs: Emerson College, NYU’s School of Professional Studies, and Pace University in the U.S., as well as Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.

Emerson College

Program head: Bill Beuttler, associate professor of publishing and writing

Location: Boston

Graduate degree offered: MA

Credits: 40

Tuition: $1,322 per credit (typically eight credits per semester)

Class size: Maximum of 12, usually 10–12

Part-time options: Two to three courses per semester is considered full-time, but a student can take one course if they choose.

Scholarships: There are a variety of merit- and need-based scholarships.

Evening and weekend classes: Most Emerson classes meet on weekday nights, starting at 6 p.m. A handful meet at 4 p.m., and only on rare occasions are graduate classes scheduled for earlier in the day. There are no weekend classes.

Online classes: Emerson continued offering some online classes this year, having begun offering them when the pandemic began. The school will continue to do so going forward to accommodate students who may want to begin their MA studies online. But Emerson is a residency program, and it is not yet possible for students to complete all their courses online.

Faculty: Emerson currently has eight full-time faculty from publications and companies including Boston magazine, the Boston Globe, the New York Times Magazine, MIT Technology Review, Men’s Journal, Nation Books, Viking Penguin, Da Capo Press, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Career services: Career services are offered for the entire college.

Recent alumni job placements: Recent alumni have landed jobs as editor of Austin Monthly magazine, executive editor of Yoga Journal, production editor at the University of Michigan Press, and copy chief at Vox, as well as editing and publicity jobs at Random House, Beacon Press, Candlewick Press, Fidelity Investments, MIT Press, and elsewhere.

Q&A with Bill Beuttler

How has Covid affected this year’s program?

Our graduate courses have traditionally met one night a week. Because we couldn’t predict what pandemic conditions would be like, they met twice a week this fall in case we needed to revert to the more rigorous social distancing requirements that we had last year. This spring we are returning primarily to once-a-week classes. We hope to continue that way going forward.

What distinguishes this program?

Our program focuses on content creation as much as the business side of publishing, whereas our competitors tend to focus primarily on the business side. Our program interacts a great deal with the college’s MFA program in writing—sharing a literary journal and taking classes across programs, among other activities. This is particularly true for our magazine offerings. Ours is an outlier in offering as many courses on magazine writing, editing, and design as we do. Those courses are more typically offered in journalism programs at other institutions.

Our program also offers lab courses focused on experiential learning. These include a course on writing for the Boston Globe’s Globe Magazine, and the student-run digital magazine The Independent, which covers independent filmmaking. This spring, we are rolling out a new collaboration with Random House in which students will learn to do paid freelance copyediting, which will be overseen by Random House mentors.

Additionally, our program is less rigid than others as far as required courses. Students must complete three introductory courses teaching the essentials of book, magazine, and digital publishing. The remaining 28 credits come from elective courses that can include an optional MA project.

Finally, we recently launched a four plus one program in which students can earn both BA and MA degrees in publishing and writing in five years total. Students have begun applying to Emerson with doing so in mind. We’re a residential program in a city that has a variety of publishers, and our faculty continue to be professionally engaged with some of those publishers.

NYU School of Professional Studies and Summer Publishing Institute

Program head: Andrea Chambers, executive director of the NYU Center for Publishing

Location: New York City

Graduate degree offered: MS

Credits: 42, but starting in fall 2022, the program will be reduced to 36. In addition to the MS in publishing, NYU hosts a Summer Publishing Institute (SPI). In previous years, SPI has been a six-week introduction to both book publishing and digital/magazine media. Starting in summer 2022, SPI will be a four-week plus two-day program offering a certificate of completion and three graduate credits.

Tuition: As of spring 2022, the tuition for 12 credits of the MS in publishing is $22,380 plus $1,204 in fees, for a total of $23,584. SPI tuition for 2022 is $4,000.

Class size: Average class size is 10–12 students, with a maximum of 20.

Part-time options: Students have the choice to attend full-time or part-time, with the option to move from one to the other between semesters.

Online classes: While university buildings were closed during the pandemic, NYU offered online courses through Zoom. Since fall 2021, the school has offered in-person learning and all classes are held on campus. Students appreciate the opportunity to meet in person and to interact with our faculty of leading publishing professionals.

SPI was held as a virtual program in 2020 and 2021. This summer, it will return to a fully in-person program at our conference center. Students greatly value studying publishing in New York, the publishing capital of the U.S.

Scholarships: The Center for Publishing offers scholarships funded by media companies and individual donors. We also offer scholarships for students attending SPI, including scholarships to support diversity in publishing.

Evening and weekend classes: All classes in the MS in publishing program are held in the evening to enable students to work or intern in the industry during the day. Classes are held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Faculty: The faculty of the MS in publishing, as well as the guest speakers and presenters for SPI, are all leading industry professionals, including publishers, editors-in-chief, creative directors, and marketing, publicity, sales, and finance directors.

Career services: NYU and the School of Professional Studies is supported by the Wasserman Center for Career Development. The Wasserman Center offers a wide range of opportunities for students, including mock interviews and résumé and cover letter assistance, as well as access to Handshake, a job and internship site. In addition, the Center for Publishing hosts an annual career fair and sends out weekly job postings and internship opportunities. The student-run Publishing Student Association also holds professional development events and workshops.

Recent alumni job placements: Students are working all over the industry, including at the Big Five publishing companies, literary agencies, independent publishers, and Barnes & Noble, as well as in social media and technology companies. A few recent job placements include positions as an editorial assistant, a marketing manager, a publicity assistant, a literary agency assistant, and a video producer.

Q&A with Andrea Chambers

How has Covid affected this year’s program?

While Covid did influence in-person learning during previous semesters, we were able to be move both the MS in publishing and the Summer Publishing Institute online. Starting in fall 2021, NYU returned fully to in-person classes, and in summer 2022, SPI will be returning to in-person, as well.

What distinguishes this program?

The graduate program, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is known for its wide-ranging curriculum providing study of all publishing functions, including content creation, marketing and publicity, sales, and finance. Students graduate from the program with a deep knowledge of publishing fundamentals as well as emerging media. We are constantly adding new topics of study that correspond to growth and change in the industry, including areas like analytics, social media strategy, podcasts and audiobooks, video production, and digital product management.

The program is also known for its industry connections and global reach. In addition to our extraordinary faculty members, we are supported by the deep commitment and expertise of our board of advisers, a group of industry leaders that includes presidents, publishers, directors, and CEOs at each of the Big Five. For students, learning extends outside the classroom with industry visits to companies like Audible, Barnes & Noble, and Penguin Random House. Before the pandemic, we took students each year to volunteer at the Frankfurt, London, and Bologna Book Fairs.

We are also the only publishing program that is aligned with a summer publishing program. Students have the unique ability to commence their publishing studies in the summer with the Summer Publishing Institute, earn three graduate credits, and matriculate into the graduate program in the fall with advanced standing. This is a valuable way to jump-start a career in publishing and gain a competitive edge.

In the last two years, we have put a strong priority on supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the program and in the industry. We believe the best way to achieve this result is at the point of entry: publishing programs where talent is nurtured and students are prepared for careers in the industry.

Pace University

Program head: Manuela Soares, director of the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace

Location: New York City

Graduate degree offered: MS

Credits needed to complete the program: 36

Tuition: $45,512 for 36 credits

Class size: 15

Part-time options: Instead of three or four courses per semester, part-time is one or two courses.

Scholarships: There are many scholarship opportunities. The university offers a merit scholarship to students based on their GPAs—the minimum award is $4,000 and the maximum is $7,000 per year. The publishing department also offers scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $20,000.

Online Classes: The program has been offered online for the past 20 years. Roughly half of our classes are online and the other half are in-person. There are also synchronous remote classes.

Evening and weekend classes: Classes run from 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

Faculty: All our faculty work in the publishing industry and most are based in New York, but we have several faculty who work for Big Five publishers from the West Coast.

Career services: Career services are available to students forever, offering assistance in résumé writing, cover letters, interviewing, and more. We also have a dedicated internship professor who assists students with internships and job placement.

Examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs: Some of the companies that alumni have gone on to work at include HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Oxford University Press, Scholastic, the New York Post, Sage Publishing, and Astra Publishing.

Q&A with Manuela Soares

How has Covid affected this year’s program?

We have returned to in-person classes, but since we have always offered half of the courses online, we continue to do so. We also moved to HyFlex for some classes, so students can be in the classroom if they want to be, and join in remotely if they don’t.

What distinguishes this program?

Internships, scholarships, and mentoring. We assist students in finding an internship, we offer many scholarships, and we have speed mentoring events every semester with industry professionals, as well as other events that connect students with alums and others. Our unique one-to-one mentoring program matches interested students with an industry mentor every semester.

We have a supportive program that helps students learn about every aspect of publishing and connects them to industry professionals who guest-speak to our students and assist them in establishing professional connections. Students have said of the program: “Met my personal and professional goals, affordable, convenient to attend while maintaining a full-time job”; “Great instructors and classmates. Also really appreciated the internship search support”; “Overall learning about the many aspects of publishing and the program truly helps with getting your foot in the door”; “I left the program with a solid understanding of all areas of publishing and some good friends.”

Simon Fraser University

Program head: Suzanne Norman, director of the publishing work-

shops at Simon Fraser and lecturer in the publishing program

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Graduate degree offered: Master of publishing

Credits needed to complete the program: 47

Tuition: C$19,888 for 47 credits

Part-time options: Not for the 2022–2023 academic year..

Scholarships: There are many scholarships available from both the master of publishing program and SFU.

Online classes: We have had no solely online classes for the 2021–2022 academic year. We expect all courses in 2022–2023 to be in person unless circumstances change.

Evening and weekend classes: None at present.

Faculty: Our current faculty comprises a mix of professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, adjunct faculty, and sessionals. We also have a broad range of guest faculty from all areas of the publishing industry.

How has Covid affected this year’s program: Covid has had no impact on this year’s program.

Career services: As part of the degree requirements, each student has to complete a professional placement semester, during which students complete an internship-style term but develop a thesis-comparable report on a relevant publishing issue. Students can also complete research and produce academic papers.

Q&A with Suzanne Norman

What are some examples of companies where recent alumni have landed jobs?

Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Wattpad, Kobo, Sourcebooks, among others.

What distinguishes this program?

Small cohorts, a high instructor-to-student ratio, access to publishing leaders, practical placements, a highly relevant and current curriculum programming, multiple levels of academic and industry support, competitive financial awards, and hands-on group projects. Furthermore, our faculty actively engage in research and professional development, which keeps curriculum fresh and innovative. Our students graduate with the knowledge and skills to enhance any publishing enterprise.