Graduate Publishing Programs: A Comparative Glance Across the Country

Portland State University’s publishing program has one thing all comparable programs lack: Ooligan Press, a real press staffed by students publishing real books. But apart from that, how does the competition across the country really stack up?

First, let’s name names: New York University, Pace University, Emerson College, Drexel University, Rosemont College, University of Houston–Victoria, and George Washington University are the only other US schools to offer graduate degrees in book publishing. Of those, two schools—New York University and Pace University—are smack in the middle of the place many consider to be the publishing capital of the world: New York City. Nearby, Emerson College rests in Boston, and both Drexel University and Rosemont College are in Pennsylvania. The University of Houston–Victoria sits about equidistant from Houston and Austin in Victoria, Texas, and George Washington University is—where else?—in Washington, DC.

The advantages of studying publishing in NYC are obvious, if only for the proximity to such a large publishing industry hub. New York University’s MS program focuses on digital media for both book and magazine publishing. Students are encouraged to take part in international conferences and book fairs, for which grants are available, and apart from the core courses, seminars on a wide range of topics are offered for credit. At Pace University, students have nabbed internships with top book and magazine publishers, and the advisory board includes professionals from companies such as HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill Education, and Time Inc. They also offer certificates, which can be completed through evening classes and/or online classes.

Moving farther out, we have Boston’s Emerson College. This MA program focuses not only on publishing, but on writing and literature as well, honing a creative and well-read class of future publishing professionals. Students also have a wealth of internship opportunities, including Random House, MIT Press, and Little, Brown. In Pennsylvania, Drexel University’s MS in publications management has a unique curriculum with more of a technical bent than most of the others, and Rosemont College’s MA offers four publishing concentration areas, internship opportunities, and core courses to give students a well-rounded start.

Next up, we have the University of Houston-Victoria. This MS program can be completed online or on campus, and beyond the core courses, students choose a concentration of either communications, history, or English. Their internship opportunities can be accessed from a variety of locations, allowing those enrolled online to get in-person experience at any of five major cities if they so choose. Lastly, at George Washington University, an MPS in publishing is offered with five tracks to supplement the core courses. It, too, has a fully online option, and it’s designed to be of use both to students hoping to enter the publishing field and to those already working.

So why choose Ooligan?

To begin with, when you choose Ooligan, you also choose the Pacific Northwest. Our temperate climate, beautiful landscapes, and thriving arts scene are all a part of the package deal. We’re within a few hours, tops, of ocean, desert, and mountains, with temperate rainforest all around us. Portland in particular is renowned for its eccentricity, amazing food, and wide range of breweries. But the Ooligan program itself shines with or without these things. It offers its students real-life experience doing the work it trains them for. It employs a staff of highly experienced publishing professionals, helps its students get internships around the city and beyond, and offers classes on everything from editing to design to marketing to copyright law, as well as a wide variety of niche-specific courses for those looking to specialize even further. For all the merits of alternative programs, the total experience of PSU’s Ooligan Press is something none of its current competitors can truly emulate.

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