Ooligan Press is a teaching press staffed by students pursuing master’s degrees in the Department of English at Portland State University (PSU). Students participate in an apprenticeship program while completing core and specialty courses under the direction of experienced faculty. The core courses cover the main areas of publishing, such as copyright law, design, editing, and marketing. Students also gain experience in the areas of publishing by participating in Ooligan departments, which is where the work of the press is done. Current departments include Acquisitions, Design, Digital Content, Editing, External Promotions, Marketing, Sales and Operations, and Sustainability. Students who participate in departments perform the work of a real publishing house, from acquiring manuscripts and designing book covers to marketing and selling books.
At Ooligan, students from a variety of different academic backgrounds (not just literature and writing) are encouraged to apply. The field of publishing involves almost every area of interest; people from a variety of backgrounds with a generalist’s knowledge of publishing are needed throughout the industry. Most people think of publishing as being primarily concerned with editing, but there are many other potential areas of focus in publishing, including design, management, marketing, research, and sales. Those who do not feel inclined toward editing can still find a place in the publishing world, and those who do hope to become editors might find unexpected opportunities by having knowledge in these other disciplines.
To fulfill requirements for graduation and receive an MA or MS in book publishing, students must complete forty-eight hours of graduate level credits through a combination of core courses, Ooligan departments, and other elective credits. Students are allowed to apply credits from internships and graduate level courses outside the field of writing to count toward their degrees. At the end of the program, all students must present a portfolio of their work and complete a written and oral exam. For more details, click here.
Graduates of the publishing program have gone on to pursue many different publishing jobs in Portland and elsewhere. Former Ooligan students have done everything from freelance editing and design work to starting their own publishing houses.
For more information about the program, please visit the following PSU webpages:
To learn about other publishing programs like Ooligan’s, click here.