This unique course allows you to study children’s literature in a flexible, part-time format from wherever you are in the world.
You will explore the exciting and varied world of children’s literature, and to examine how texts aimed at young people convey and challenge ideas about childhood. You will work with staff who have international reputations in areas such as philosophy in children’s literature, popular fiction, adolescence and young adult fiction, early children’s books, and writing for young people.
As a distance learner you will have support from the Department, regular contact with your tutors, access to specialist services, and a wide range of e-books and digitised items from the Children’s Literature Collection at the University Library which contains 3,000 critical, theoretical, bibliographical and reference works and approximately 40 specialist children’s literature journals.
Through this programme you will become a member of the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL), regarded as the premier institution for children’s literature research in Britain. The NCRCL has close links with organisations that work to further the study and teaching of children’s literature, including The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), Seven Stories (The National Centre for Children’s Books), and Booktrust. The University is also the exclusive Creative Partner of Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, London’s largest event dedicated to children’s writing. You can stay up-to-date with the NCRCL by following their blog.
The Distance Learning MA is taught through a mixture of independent study, tutor feedback, and peer support. You will have access to an online learning environment, allowing you to work with digital materials, watch video lectures, and engage in learning activities. You will have the chance to discuss ideas with other students through discussion boards and interact with your tutor in online seminars. At the end of each module, you will complete a piece of coursework, usually an essay, to demonstrate your understanding of the subject.
This programme asks you to think about children’s literature in new ways. In your first year you will be introduced to essential critical approaches, from postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis, and reader-response criticism, to new ideas about the child, power and ethics. Using these tools, you’ll study a selection of fairy tales, picture books and short stories, including classics and contemporary and innovative texts.
In optional modules you can study the history of British children’s literature from its origins to the present day, as well as texts in translation, and elements of form and genre. Throughout the course you will gain knowledge of literary works produced for children, and the social, cultural and historical contexts of their production. The eclectic and rigorous nature of the programme allows you to contribute original work from a variety of perspectives, particularly in the extended critical Dissertation. The creative writing modules, ‚Writing for a Child Audience’ and ‚Creative Dissertation’ represent exciting additions to the programme, recognising the fact that many of our students have ambitions to write for children.
This MA can also be studied on-site.
Possible careers include teaching and librarianship, children’s publishing and arts management.