Columbia Publishing Course

An intensive, six-week introduction to all aspects of book, magazine and digital publishing

Since its inception (as the Radcliffe Publishing Course) in 1949, the Columbia Publishing Course has been recognized as the premier training ground for those aspiring to work in publishing. Our six‐week summer program in New York covers book, magazine and digital publishing through lectures and workshops. We also have a program at Oxford University.

Who Should Apply

Dubbed the "West Point of publishing" for its rigorous nature and for the consistently high caliber of its students, the course is aimed primarily at recent college graduates but other applicants are not discouraged. Many students have worked in publishing briefly and would like to broaden their understanding of the field or have decided to make a career change from an unrelated field.

Most applicants have majored in English and the humanities but the choice of college major is incidental to acceptance. Many of our students have majored in other disciplines, such as art, economics, business, law, music and the sciences.

Students with a demonstrated interest in publishing have always gained the most from the course. Many types of interests, work or volunteer experiences can be considered related to publishing, including:

  • Publishing internships
  • Photography, graphic arts, sales or marketing experience
  • College or high school newspapers, literary journals, blogs, etc.
  • Bookstore, library, and/or office experience

Because of other available educational opportunities, the course does not emphasize instruction in journalism or creative writing. Applicants with writing experience who seek new ways to apply their skills within the world of publishing as editors, publicists, designers, marketing and business managers or publishers are encouraged to apply.

All applicants must have successfully completed all requirements for a B.A. or B.S. degree by the start of the course. Only in extremely rare circumstances do we admit students who have yet to finish their undergraduate degrees, since students who are not ready to enter the workforce immediately cannot take full advantage of the networking opportunities, job market preparation and career placement services we offer. Please contact our office if you’d like to discuss your circumstances.

How to Apply

The application opens every year in November. Admission for the Columbia Publishing Course is competitive. On average we receive 350 applications for approximately 110 places in the New York program. We have 70 places in the Oxford program.

Applicants who wish to be considered for both the U.K. and the N.Y. programs should indicate CPC N.Y. as their first choice program and indicate that they wish to be considered for CPC U.K. as well. Dual applications must be submitted by the CPC N.Y. deadline in March.

Most components of the application are to be submitted electronically. For detailed instructions, review the “Instructions” page of the online application.

  • Online application
  • Nonrefundable application fee - $55 for applicants to CPC N.Y. We do not grant application fee waivers.
  • Active email address - All admission and financial aid notifications will be sent by email.
  • Transcript(s) - PDFs of transcripts from each of the undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended as a degree‐seeking student.
  • Two to three letters of recommendation - Two are required; the third letter is optional. You may submit your online application even if the letters have not yet been submitted by your evaluators.
  • Personal essays - One personal statement (two double‐spaced pages) and one short answer (one paragraph) in response to the given prompts.
  • Current résumé or curriculum vitae - Preferably a one‐page, professional résumé that succinctly summarizes your skills, experience and education.
  • Clips (Optional) - Applicants have the option to submit up to two examples of publishing work (e.g., published articles, blog posts, etc.) through our online application. We will not accept any hard copy materials via post.

Course Fees and Financial Aid

For 2016, the costs of the New York program are as follows:

Course Fees: $5,300

Room: $2,040

Board: $1,025

Total: $8,365

We house our students in single rooms (no roommates) in Hogan Hall, a Columbia dorm half a block away from the Journalism School. The board plan covers three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on weekdays only, as well as special events like the final banquet. The board plan is mandatory while living on‐campus is optional. Students living off‐campus will be charged $1,025 for the board plan in addition to $5,300 for tuition.

Limited financial aid is available. To apply for financial aid, do not create a separate scholarship application through the Journalism School's website. Instead, download the CPC aid application and fill it out completely. After submitting your application for admission, log in to the application system, scroll to “Upload Materials” and select "CPC Financial Aid Form" to upload your completed, signed PDF.

Financial aid applications must be submitted by the March application deadline. Applications are evaluated by the scholarship committee. Notification of financial aid decisions will be sent after acceptance.

Due to the short length of the course, federally funded financial aid and student loans (through Sallie Mae, etc.) are not available. If you require financial assistance, we suggest you explore direct‐to‐consumer private loans in addition to applying for the course’s modest financial aid fund.

The Columbia Publishing Course is grateful to the Hachette Book Group and Penguin Random House for their generous scholarship support.

Information Sessions

Information sessions are held at colleges and universities across the country in the fall and spring.

No information sessions are currently scheduled. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive event updates.

In 2016 we visited more than 30 colleges and universities. Please let us know if you would like to see us at your school next year!

Course Description

The first three weeks of the course are devoted to book publishing and the following two weeks are devoted to magazine and digital publishing, with the sixth and last week being a combination of all the interests presented by the course. The sixth week also heavily focuses on career planning in preparation for the job fair, which takes place at the Journalism School the Monday after the end of the course. See a detailed breakdown of the course.

All students must participate in the entire course; it is not possible to take only the book portion or only the magazine/digital portion. Students who are solely interested in book publishing are encouraged to explore our four‐week course at Oxford University.

Applicants should note that the Columbia Publishing Course is a highly intensive six‐week session, with students expected to attend classes and workshops every weekday morning, afternoon and evening, as well as many weekends. As a result, students can expect little free time during the course.

Career Guidance

While students are not guaranteed job placement, the course offers extensive career placement and support services. Resume and cover letter workshops are held throughout the course, giving students the opportunity to work one‐on‐one with professionals to develop their resumes. Human resources professionals talk to students about interviewing and the process of finding a job. The course ends in a career fair where students can meet hiring representatives from the publishing industry and begin their job searches in earnest.

The course has an excellent job placement rate and people in the publishing industry know that course graduates make excellent employees. The course not only helps students find their first jobs but also creates a network that stays with them throughout their careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

Shaye Areheart is the director of the Columbia Publishing Course (formerly the Radcliffe Publishing Course).

For thirty‐one years, she worked as an editor at Doubleday and Company, now Doubleday Knopf, and at the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. She began her career as an assistant to the editor and rose through the ranks to editor, senior editor, executive editor, editorial director and publisher. She was given an eponymous fiction imprint in 1999 and published authors including Alice Hoffman, Gillian Flynn, Lisa Unger, Chris Bohjalian, Roland Merullo, Craig Nova, Barbara Vine and Tom Bailey.

She also ran Harmony Books, a largely nonfiction imprint, which published books by Deepak Chopra, Carol Burnett, Ben Macintyre, Ram Dass, Tony Curtis, Cesar Millan, David Sanger and many others.

During her long career, she worked closely with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, co‐editing a variety of books from Michael Jackson's #1 bestselling memoir, Moonwalk, to Gelsey Kirkland's bestselling memoir, Dancing on My Grave, to George Plimpton's Fireworks: A History and Celebration and Diana Vreeland's book on style, Allure.

Over the years, she also worked with Ray Bradbury, Martin Amis, Douglas Adams, James Dickey, Thor Heyerdahl, Stevie Nicks, Christopher Isherwood and Sir Edmund Hillary, among others.

She feels fortunate to be in a position to help new generations of young people carry on the important work of finding, editing, marketing, publicizing and publishing books and authors, as well as contributing to the print and digital publications that are the all‐important showcases for writing talent of every stripe and a map to any culture's progress and interests.

Stephanie Chan has been the assistant director of the Columbia Publishing Course since 2013. She received her B.A. in political science from Columbia College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course in 2008. She worked in the editorial department of Crown Publishers from 2008 to 2013.