Program Summary

While other programs focus exclusively on the business and editorial sides of writing, they often do not delve into literature and writing the way that Emerson’s program does. Our integration of publishing, literature, and writing cultivates your ability to respond to creativity with creativity.

Students will develop and demonstrate publishing skills in writing, editing, production, marketing, sales, and distribution as they relate to publishing documents in print and digital environments. 

Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills and knowledge about publishing history, business models, professional ethics, and new technologies. 

We offer a flexible curriculum where publishing and writing meet. You have the option to choose from book, magazine, and electronic publishing courses, in a program that blends together an overview of the publishing industry from writing and editing through design, production, and distribution. You will be exposed to:

  • developmental, line, and copy editing
  • acquisitions skills
  • publicity and marketing
  • book and magazine design and production
  • publishing for tablets, readers, and mobile devices
  • web design and publishing

The MA in Publishing and Writing requires 40 credit hours, including:

Please refer to the Graduate Studies Handbook for more information regarding degree requirements and courses.



Required Courses

Number Course Credits
PB 680 Magazine Publishing Overview 4
PB 683 Book Publishing Overview 4
PB 692 Electronic Publishing Overview 4

PB 698
PB Course

MA Project

4-Credit Publishing (PB) Course



MA Project or Course Option

Students in the MA in Publishing and Writing program may choose to produce, as a culmination of their graduate work, a project showing a professional level of accomplishment in publishing. The MA project can be a traditional thesis-type project that explores an editorial or publishing issue in depth by doing appropriate research and analysis. Alternately, it can be a project such as a magazine prototype, a book design project, a website, a book translation, or any other publishing project in which the student exhibits expertise in at least two areas within the publishing industry.

To register for a project, students must write a two-page prospectus in the semester before registering. The prospectus must be approved by the project committee chair. Students may complete a 4-credit Publishing (PB) course in place of the project.

4+1 MA Option

Current Emerson students working toward a BA in WLP may apply for the 4+1 program at the beginning of the first semester of their junior year. Applications will be evaluated by the MA graduate program director and faculty of the department. Students will be notified of acceptance at the start of the second semester of their junior year. The 4+1 MA in Publishing and Writing will require students to take eight graduate-level publishing courses (32 credits), including the MA Project (PB 698), in their senior and fifth years. A maximum of four graduate courses (16 credits) may be taken in the senior year. These classes will count as electives toward the undergraduate degree and toward the master’s degree. Students in the program cannot count any graduate overview courses, PB 680 Magazine Publishing, PB 683 Book Publishing, PB 692 Electronic Publishing, or PB 688 Copyediting, and PB 691 Applications for Print Publishing toward the MA.

Students must complete all requirements for the BA degree by the end of their senior year and are required to complete the following courses as part of their degree: PB 203 Introduction to Electronic Publishing, PB 302 Copyediting, PB 380 Magazine Publishing, PB 383 Book Publishing, PB 395 Applications for Print Publishing.

Students must complete the courses required for the MA in Publishing and Writing as well as the MA Project (PB 698).