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MA Literature for Children and Young Adults

Inspire children by sharing your love of literature.

Part-time option lets you study alongside work

Entry requirements

A degree or equivalent from a recognised Higher Education Institute in the UK or abroad.

UCAS code Apply direct to Marjon

Duration One year full-time or two years part-time

How to apply for this course

Course Summary

Do you have a passion for children’s literature? Do you want to share literature with children and develop their ability to read for pleasure? Do you want to deepen your own knowledge of the literature, studying and discussing alongside like mind peers? Then this is the course for you!

The study at Masters Level will enable you to immerse yourself in the world of literature for children and young adults gaining experiences and accreditation within a friendly, flexible setting.

Through a blend of learning approaches, you will explore how children’s literature has developed over the last century to offer a diverse range of genres and experiences for children. You will develop your own skills of enquiry and critical appraisal. You will examine relationships between readers, writers, illustrators, texts and contexts. There are opportunities to develop your own pathways of study and to work on the creative writing of children’s literature.

Modules are taught by a team of enthusiastic and experienced experts within the field of children’s literature. We have established links with local and national bodies and can present and offer a variety of experiences and opportunities.

This is a research-driven and practice informed course, designed to help enhance students' professional practice in a variety of scenarios to support children in reading for pleasure. You will develop skills of critical reflection and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the wonderful texts available for today’s young readers. You will be introduced to many new texts and will also rediscover some old favourites. Studies of genres will offer choices to specialise in chosen areas as well as exploring new and possibly unfamiliar fields. 

Why this course at Marjon?

Unique course offering opportunities to critically explore literature written for both children and young adults.

Deepen your own knowledge of literature.

The team offers a wide variety of expertise based on their work with the National Literacy Trust, United Kingdom Literacy Association, Federation of Children’s Book Groups, alongside acknowledged individual research.

Students say...

Tom Mallender

“The beauty of this course is that it is student-led, which allows you to develop your own literary and research interests. I have creative freedom to craft my own writing, I am currently researching the extent to which David Walliams is being positioned as the ‘new’ Roald Dahl and I am looking forward to producing my own original creative writing. I intend to train as an English teacher, and this course will be invaluable in terms of informing and developing my own teaching philosophy.”

Keiran Moon

“The freedom to explore the aspects of literature that resonate with me has kept me constantly engaged, whilst the tutorials are invaluable in helping me contextualise and explore other sub-genres and authors. The amount of support you get at Marjon means that it is impossible not to develop academically. I have additional needs and see a study tutor and mentor every week which has helped me settle quickly. My tutor has been fantastic and given more support than I would ever have imagined.”

This course is perfect if you're curious about

The themes that dominate Children’s and Young Adults’ literature today.

The reading or writing of Children's and Young Adults' literature and how narrative contributes to ideological constructions of society.

What makes a children's book successful.

The programme is very attractive, especially the inclusion of Young Adult within the title which had made the programme more distinct from that offered elsewhere and should not only attract undergraduates from a variety of programmes but also applicants working in the fields of publishing and journalism.
Dr Clementine Beauvais - Lecturer in English in Education, University of York

What might you become?

This course allows the student to gain advanced knowledge and understanding within the field of children's literature, this therefore leads towards a career working closely with parents, teachers and children.

After completion of this MA students will be able to embark on a career helping others to develop a passion for children's literacy whilst also helping to raise children's standards in reading. This may be achieved through teaching in schools, librarians, nursery staff or social work. 

Modules for this course


1st Year

Turning the Page: An Examination of the Development of Literature for Children and Young Adults
Critical analysis of the development, through history, of children’s literature from 1950 texts to current publications. Analysis and discussion of the developing role of picture books in children’s literature and examining how illustrated books are defining their place in this field. A critical examination of how fictional techniques are used to present stories to children, examining the manipulation of fairy tales and looking at very popular current choices.
Opening Stories: Genres and Themes in Literature for Children and Young Adults
Critical understanding of the term ‘genre’ and theorisation of literature and how this applies to literature written for children. Analysis and discussion of literature within a specified genre with critical examination of author intent. Critical evaluation of ideology within specified genres, exploring themes such as gender, global citizenship, purpose and enjoyment. Generate enquiry into the range of texts available to children and examine constructions of childhood as portrayed through literature.
Research Design
Identifying and justifying an appropriate research methodology: e.g. case study, action research, ethnographic research, experimental work; Research ethics; Identifying and justifying appropriate research methods.
Creative writing for Children and Young Adults
Practical experience of writing to enable students to begin to locate themselves as writers in the field of contemporary children’s literature. Opportunities to experiment with a variety of forms/genres of creative writing for children enabling students to develop their own voice and style. Support and critical advice from established authors.
Research Dissertation OR Creative Writing Dissertation
A research dissertation is a subject-based content will be wholly defined by students’ own specialist research interests. Identifying and justifying an appropriate research methodology. A creative writing dissertation is informed by student interests, the production of original creative writing for children or young adults, with an accompanying essay, reflecting on cultural and critical contexts.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £6,500

Fees for International students: £12,000

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

Learning and teaching methods will be varied and flexible meeting the needs of the course participants, and include workshops, lectures, conferences, visiting writers, digital learning and supported independent study.

How will you be assessed?

Students submit work for marking, moderation and external examination. A range of assessment  types exist in the modules, including a dissertation, portfolios, presentations, creative writing, essays, reflective studies or practice based study.

Course leader

Dr Karen Stockham

Karen brings over 30 years’ experience in working inside and outside University, FHE, informal education and business settings. She is expert in developing flexible study routes to meet the needs of students from a wide range of professional settings and won the University’s student-led ‘Inspiration’ teaching award in 2016.

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Dr Hayden Gabriel

Visiting Lecturer: MA Literature for Children and Young Adults

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Hayden is an academic and novelist published by Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. Her PhD asked the question, ‘Which stories might we be telling now in the hope of forming part of a coherent and useful response to environmental crisis?’. Hayden’s research and teaching are actively engaged with ecocritical ideas about well-being and reconnection with nature.

Rowan Jones

Visiting Lecturer - Literature

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Rowan, a qualified primary school teacher, specialises in the relationship between children’s literature and the young people who read it. She teaches about the ways educators can best use books to promote critical thinking, empathy, and a love of reading in children. 

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