Childrens Literature

Course Description
Children's literature is recognised as a remarkable and dynamic part of literary and social culture. This course, the first full-time one year taught Masters programme in an Irish university, offers graduates in English or related disciplines the opportunity to study a broad range of children's literature in English, with special attention paid to the role of the Irish contribution to the development of children's literature. It addresses chronologies, genres, modes of criticism, publishing trends and the full apparatus of literary investigation across four centuries, while addressing the unique power dynamics that arise from adult authors writing for child readers. It is particularly concerned with multidisciplinary study because of the unique integration of words and images through the medium of picture books and graphic novels. Complete in itself, the course may also serve as preparation for those intending to proceed to further research in the field.

This course offers unique opportunities to engage in archival research in children's literature and to work with the Pollard Collection of Children's Books, the bequest of more than 10,000 children's books left to the College by Mary 'Paul' Pollard, one-time keeper of Early Printed Books, in 2005, as well as to work with the National Collection of Children's Books (

The course consists of five modules: a core course "Perspectives and Case Studies in Children's Literature" as well as option modules. Students take an option module in each of the semesters, choosing from the variety of special subjects on offer each year. These special subjects may include: Victorian Childhoods, Agency & Empowerment in Young Adult Literature, Material Culture and Children's Literature, and Creative Writing for Children.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a good honours degree (at least an upper second or a GPA of at least 3.3). A sample of the candidate's own critical writing (3,000-5,000 words) is also required.

Assessment Info

Assessment is through four 5,000-6,000 word essays and a 15,000-18,000 word dissertation.

Subjects taught

There are three elements:

i) Perspectives and Case Studies in Children's Literature (core module),

ii) Optional modules:
• Agency and Empowerment in Literature for Young Adults
• Material Culture in Children's Literature
• Modern Fantasy: defining and redefining a genre
• The Victorian Child
• Creative Writing

Students choose one optional module in Michaelmas term and a second in Hilary term. Some of the options are shared with the MPhil in Popular Literature. The options listed above were offered in 2017/18 and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

iii) Dissertation

Please note: This is a postgraduate degree programme. However, candidates who satisfy the examiner in all but the dissertation may be considered for the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Children's Literature.


1 year Full-Time

Enrolment dates

Next Intake September 2020

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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