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Full time & Part time See Course MA, PgDip, PgCert 18 months full time, 30 months part time

About the course

Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists by studying your Children’s Book Illustration MA degree at ARU. Work with a dedicated support team of internationally-recognised illustrators to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Make connections in the children’s publishing industry.

  • Develop your own personal visual vocabulary supported by a team of internationally-recognised illustrators
  • Benefit from a 150-year tradition of drawing and inspiring creativity at Cambridge School of Art
  • Follow in the footsteps of many award-winning students and successful alumni

Our Children's Book Illustration taught studio course, the first of its kind in the UK, was developed by our distinguished Professor Martin Salisbury, who still contributes to teaching on the course.

Read more about this course

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply.

If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University.

Please see course website for further details.

Course Content

Institution website

Where is Anglia Ruskin University ARU


Student Profile(s)

Nadia Shireen

Anglia Ruskin was the first institution to offer an MA in Children's Book Illustration. During my research it became clear that as well as being innovative, the course was also well respected. The part time option allowed me to keep working and stay financially afloat.

I didn't realise at the time quite how much the course would affect my life! The course forced me to take my drawing seriously for the first time, which has in turn made me reassess my work and what I want to do in the future. The tutors all shared a commitment to bringing the best out of every student. I found them supportive, encouraging and honest. It is vital to be open to criticism in order to get the most out of the course. There's a real passion for the subject from the teaching staff that is highly infectious.

The course works closely with the publishing industry, which is invaluable for aspiring illustrators. A team from Egmont Publishing regularly visited us, and gave us insight into the ever-changing landscape of the industry, as well as personal feedback on our work. The graduation show in London was attended by talent-spotters from all of the major publishing houses, which I think is a testament to the reputation of the course. At the graduation show I was approached by several publishers, and have signed to Random House Picture Books for a two-book deal. For now at least, I've managed to quit the day job and am working full time on writing and illustrating books for children - a dream come true! My experience at Anglia Ruskin will help me in my new career every day. It's hard to quantify the impact learning and growing in a supportive environment has had on me.

Beth Waters

MA Children’s Book Illustration graduate Beth Waters was recently shortlisted for the 2020 Kate Greenaway medal in Children’s Book Illustration for her book Child of St Kilda. She tells us about her time on the course, and her reaction to being shortlisted.

“The book came out of my Masters project that I did while studying on the MA Children's Book Illustration at ARU. The course was incredibly challenging but also really supportive, and right from the first day I knew I was in the right place there, surrounded by like-minded people who loved illustration and stories.

“I discovered printmaking for the first time in the fantastic print room, and it was a real lightbulb moment - it taught me so much about image making, and John Williams' advice (as many other students will attest) was second to none.
Cover of Child of St Kilda

“Then when I finished the MA I was involved in the Cambridge School of Art stand at the Bologna Children's Book fair, organised every year by Pam Smy, and through that I was lucky enough to get a contract with Child's Play to publish the book. This allowed me to finally travel to St Kilda for research, which was another dream come true in itself. Child of St Kilda was finally published in Spring 2019, two years after I finished the MA.

“I was really over the moon to have my book on such a prestigious shortlist. I couldn't believe it when I heard the news because it's my first book, so it's a huge honour.

“I'm also just really happy because it shows that people really want to read about this tiny remote Scottish Island and are interested in its amazing story. It's a beautiful and fascinating place that absolutely deserves to be known about. It's also not lost on me in our current strange situation that this is a book about extreme isolation and the importance of community in times of difficulty.”

All images copyright Beth Waters.


ARU Alumni Scholarship scheme

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