The Master of Arts in Publishing and Writing program offers courses in the publishing of books and magazine media via print, digital, video, social media, and other platforms. These courses cover a full range of skills from writing to editing, design, production, marketing, project management, and product development. Opportunities for hands-on learning can be had in class projects and by working on the Emerson College-owned digital publication The Independent and with community partners (current and former partners include The Boston Globe Magazine, Bookbuilders of Boston, and Artists for Humanity).

The program is available full-time or part-time. This residential program requires students to attend courses in-person on the Boston campus. Students have an opportunity to take a limited selection of online courses. 

The 40-credit-hour program includes:

  • 3 Core Publishing Courses (12 credits)
  • 3 Publishing Elective Courses*  (12 credits)
  • 4 Courses of department electives from our Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department (16 credits)

*One of the 3 electives may include an optional Master’s Project


Core Requirements (3 courses)

Number Course Modality Credits
PB 680 Magazine Media Essentials In-person or online* 4
PB 683 Book Publishing Essentials In-person or online* 4
PB 692 Digital Publishing Essentials In-person or online* 4

*Online options are based on first come first serve. The Publishing and Writing MA is a residential, in-person program, with some online course options.

Sample Elective Course Offerings 

Number Course Modality Credits
PB 621 Fundamentals of Content Strategy In-person 4
PB 679 The Editor/Writer Relationship In-person 4
PB 686 Book Design and Production In-person 4
PB 693 Publishing Marketing and Sales In-person 4
PB 696 Web Development for Digital Publishing In-person 4

Sample Curriculum Map

The sample curriculum map is intended to show the mix of course modalities available each semester. Students may choose to take between 4 to 12 credits each semester to complete the program part-time or full-time.

Program Start (Fall)  Modality
First Fall Semester (8 credits) 2 In-person courses
First Spring Semester (8 credits) 1 In-person and 1 online course
First Summer Semester (4 credits) 1 In-person course
Second Fall Semester (12 credits) 2 In-person courses, 1 online course
Second Spring Semester (8 credits) 2 In-person courses


Internship opportunities are available, for credit, in publishing firms, with magazines, and at literary agencies. Students may also take courses in creative writing, literature, teaching college composition, and rotating topics in publishing and writing, such as multimedia storytelling, literary editing, backlist management, the role of the literary agent, educational publishing, and project management. 

Master’s Project (Optional)

Students in the MA in Publishing and Writing program may choose to submit a project showing a professional level of accomplishment in publishing in place of one of their seven elective courses. The MA project can be a traditional thesis-type project that explores a publishing issue in depth by doing appropriate research and analysis, or a publishing project in which the student exhibits expertise in at least two areas within the publishing industry.