You spent months collecting letters of recommendation, cultivating your writing samples, hand-selecting each punctuation mark and every turn of phrase on your graduate school application essay. And now you’re in! You did it! You’ll be starting your master’s program in Book Publishing at Portland State next term. Congratulations!

When the time comes for you to register for your first-term class schedule, you may notice that there are a ton of options—required courses and electives, introductory courses and advanced ones, and a wide variety of subjects. If you’re not sure where to start, your fellow Book Publishing students have a few tips on what makes a great first-term class schedule for a newly admitted grad student.

In order to be considered a full-time graduate student, you must enroll in 9 credits or more each term. This might just be the perfect number of credits to shoot for during your first term anyway—a March 2015 survey of current Book Publishing students revealed 74 percent took 9 credits their first term. And whether they took fewer or more than 9 credits themselves, this was the top recommendation our current students have for our new ones. You will find that most classes in the Book Publishing program are 4 credits each, and many survey responders noted that registering for two 4 credit classes and the 1-credit Publishing Lab brings an adequately challenging workload, and the opportunity to get involved at Ooligan Press right off the bat. All the magic at the student-operated Ooligan Press happens during Publishing Lab (1 credit) and Publishing Studio (4 credits), where you’ll be assigned to a project team and work to publish one of our upcoming titles. You’ll need to complete 8 credits at Ooligan before you graduate, so plan accordingly.

In the survey, current Book Publishing student were asked, “If you could do it all over again, which classes would you include in your first-term schedule? In retrospect, which classes helped you the most early on and/or put you at a better advantage in your subsequent classes and work at Ooligan?”

If you want to build a first-term schedule that will provide you with a solid foundation for your publishing education and set you up for success at Ooligan Press and beyond, your future classmates recommend you include a couple of these popular courses:

  • Intro to Book Publishing (recommended by 31 students!): “I think taking Intro and either studio or lab is a must because these two courses work together to give students an overall understanding of the publishing industry as a whole, and they inform all other coursework.”
  • Book Editing (recommended by 16 students): “Editing and Software are really important prerequisites for taking other classes (like Book Design) or participating more fully at Ooligan (working in the editing department).”
  • Lab/Studio (recommended by 15 students): “…it would have saved me some gray hairs if I would have taken Lab my first term. It would have helped me put the pieces together better with a smaller, more manageable workload.”
  • Book Design Software (recommended by 13 students): “Book Design Software is an indispensable (albeit very time-consuming!) class if you come into the program without much experience using design programs.”

For those who plan to work and go to school, you may be interested and relieved to know that 78 percent of our students were able to balance jobs and/or internships during their first term. 46 percent worked 20 hours or fewer and a brave 24 percent worked full time. If you’re new to Portland and you haven’t secured an internship yet or you’re taking a term off from work to focus on your new studies, then you’re in good company—22 percent of current students did not have jobs or internships during their first term.

If you’d like to learn more about registration or find out which classes will (tentatively!) be offered during your first term, visit the Publishing Program’s website for more details and contact information. See you next term!

Leave a Reply