This unique course allows you to study children’s literature in a flexible, part-time format. You’ll engage with staff working in the UK’s leading centre in the field and explore a range of landmark texts for young people, from fairy tales and picturebooks to classics and graphic novels.
This programme invites you to 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 be taught by a team of staff with international reputations and expertise in areas such as philosophy, popular fiction, adolescence, critical theory, landscape, and memory.
As a distance learner you will have 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.
As a Children’s Literature student, 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.
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 feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and reader-response criticism, to new ideas about the child, power and ethics. Using these tools, you’ll study fairy tales such as 'Snow White' and 'Puss in Boots,' classic children’s literature including Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows and Judith Kerr’s landmark picturebook The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and the contemporary innovations of authors like Melvin Burgess, Shaun Tan and Jackie Kay.
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 visual and verse forms. 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.
The Distance Learning MA is taught through a mixture of independent study, tutor feedback, and peer support. Most modules on offer include a course pack, with digital materials and links to an online learning environment. You will work through the materials, undertake learning activities, and discuss ideas with other students through online discussion boards and 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.
Here is some of the varied range of modules we currently offer:
Possible careers include teaching and librarianship, children’s publishing and arts management.
Now running for over twenty five years, the MA in Children’s Literature is recognised internationally as a benchmark programme in the field and is delivered by the award-winning National Centre of Research in Children’s Literature.
On this acclaimed MA/PG Dip in Children’s Literature you will explore landmark books such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Railway Children, alongside the contemporary innovations of Patrick Ness or Emily Gravett.
You will work alongside staff with international reputations in areas such as adolescence, critical theory, landscape, and philosophy. Plus, many of you will have the chance of working with Roehampton's Chancellor and renowned author Professor Dame Jacqueline Wilson.
As a Children’s Literature student 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. 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 centre also hosts and co-organises an annual one-day British IBBY/NCRCL MA Conference and runs a biennial NCRCL Conference, showcasing themes from members' research interests. Keynote speakers have included Michael Rosen, Matthew Grenby, Emer O’Sullivan, Neil Gaiman, and Julia Eccleshare.
The University is the exclusive Creative Partner of Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, London’s largest event dedicated to children’s writing. The partnership provides paid and voluntary work experience opportunities for students at the festival, as well as opportunities to attend events for free.
Roehampton also hosts a number of Children’s' Literature collections in our library containing 3,000 critical, theoretical, bibliographical and reference works and approximately 40 specialist children's literature journals. We are also home to the Richmal Crompton Collection. This includes her personal library, editions and translations of her famous Just William stories and scripts including short stories and radio plays.
This stimulating programme allows for the exploration of a range of literary texts from medieval learning materials, through landmark books such as Treasure Island, The Tale of Peter Rabbit or The Eagle of the Ninth, to the contemporary innovations of Mark Haddon, Shaun Tan or Jackie Kay.
Although this is a literature programme, study is not limited to children’s books. You will also examine the relationship (both historical and ongoing) between children’s books and social constructions of childhood.
The creative writing modules, which currently include ‘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.
MA students will complete the course by undertaking either a dissertation or creative dissertation. The dissertation is a supervised research project involving an in-depth study of an aspect of children’s literature that interests you. For the creative dissertation, you will produce a creative portfolio that could include short stories, picturebook scripts, poems, or a novella, alongside a critical reflections of your work.
Here is some of the varied range of modules we currently offer:
Teaching, children’s publishing and arts management.
A good children’s book stays with you for life. Study the key critical and business contexts of children’s literature and prepare for a lifelong career as a writer, teacher, publisher or scholar.
• Join the only MA Children’s Literature course in the East of England and London
• Study without disrupting your work and family life with our blended learning delivery
• Explore the global children’s literature market in depth
Our MA Children’s Literature will introduce you to the key issues in the field of children’s books, from current critical debates to changing fashions in the publishing industry.
You can explore the two major traditions in children’s literature, mimetic (realist) and the literature of the fantastic, while also gaining wider perspectives on critical theory and research methodologies.
Your studies will embrace the all-important subject of the growing children’s literature market, including its changing nature, the role of translation and the impact of adaptation.
All of your modules will be delivered through blended learning. Each will begin with a period of guided reading, with your personal studies supported by online fora, discussions, tutorials and other VLE-based resources. You will also attend one week of on-site, intensive teaching for each module. This will include lectures, seminars, workshops, student presentations and student-led discussions. For the rest of your studies, including your major project, you will continue to receive weekly tutorial support in essay writing via email or Skype.
All your studies will be supported by a teaching team comprising experts in the field of children’s literature, including Professor Eugene Giddens (co-author of Lewis Carroll’sAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass: A Publishing History) and Dr Mick Gowar, who has written or edited more than 120 books for children and young people.
You will also have the chance to attend both internal and external events, such as talks by guest speakers and national conferences.
Our MA Children’s Literature is developed with working professionals in mind. If you are a teacher, librarian, publisher or scholar and want to specialise in working with children’s literature, this course will help to enhance your professional and intellectual development. There are also many other fields that require the combination of market awareness, critical / analytical understanding and research skills that you will develop.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Our students continue on to, or return to, careers in teaching, publishing, the media, the civil service, the charity sector and advertising, as well as going on to do PhD research.
Students report that their careers are supported by the skills they have acquired not only in terms of subject expertise, but also critical thinking, advanced understanding and writing.