The University of British Columbia
offers a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) program, jointly offered by the Departments of English and Language and Literacy Education, the Creative Writing Program, and the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies. The Program Chair and administrative support of the MACL program are housed at the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies.
The MACL program provides specialized education for graduate students in the study of children’s and young adult literature and media using a multi-disciplinary approach. It provides each student with the opportunity to study the creative writing and publishing of this literature, to examine models of sharing its rich heritage with the young, and also to facilitate the literary, social, historic, and psychological analyses of children’s literature as literature. This multi-disciplinary approach exposes students to many schools of literary criticism, educational theory, and professional and creative practice. It acquaints students with the broad literary canon of children’s literature across a spectrum of languages and cultures, and with a variety of critical perspectives and professional application. Across various disciplines, departments, and faculties, a broad range of courses provide disciplined, academic study of children’s and young adult literature and media.
The MACL Program is the only one of its kind in the world offered from such a broad, multidisciplinary perspective and the only Master’s program in children’s literature in Canada. The program is unique in that the two faculties and the four academic units jointly provide faculty, courses, thesis supervision and committee support to give the graduate academic study of children’s literature a perspective on the full life cycle of the literature – the creation of the literature (through Creative Writing), its critical analysis (through English) and pedagogical approaches to the literature in interaction with children in schools, homes and libraries (Language and Literacy Education; School of Library, Archival & Information Studies).
Faculty in these departments are authors of both acclaimed children’s books and scholarly guides to the literature. They serve on national and international children’s book juries, lead national research studies, and have received awards for scholarship, service, and teaching.
The University Library's collections in historical and contemporary children’s books and the critical study of children’s literature are considered among the strongest such collections in an academic library in Canada, including some 4,000 early and rare children’s books and some 50,000 modern children’s books. As well, the Library maintains a large collection of research materials on children’s literature, including histories, criticisms, bibliographies, catalogues, and biographies.
Students in the MACL Program have come from China, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the United States, and from across Canada. The program provides specialized study of children’s books to those who are, or who intend to be, involved in teaching, school and public library services, writing, editing/publishing, theatre/film, storytelling, or affiliated fields.
The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program extends beyond its four departments and two faculties in a strong outreach to the community across and outside the University. Members of all departments involved in the program sit on the Steering Committee of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable which plans a series of annual events and conferences to bring award-winning authors, illustrators, editors and publishers such as Philip Pullman, Gregory Maguire, Shaun Tan, Katherine Paterson, and Lois Lowry to speak with students and Vancouver’s dynamic children’s literature community.
- Degree: Master of Arts
- Specialization: Children's Literature
- Subject: Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Arts
- School: School of Library, Archival and Information Studies
An undergraduate student considering working in the field of children’s literature should consult the School about useful preparatory classes. An interview may be arranged at any time. A broad cultural background is expected of MACL candidates. The prospective student should select courses to give some acquaintance with the humanities and social sciences during undergraduate studies. Particular attention should be paid in undergraduate or graduate studies to courses in children’s literature, English, writing for children, child psychology, and the history of childhood.