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.
This MA can also be studied on site.