This exciting new programme is ideal if you have an interest in the academic study of children’s literature, or work in education (e.g. as a teacher or librarian), publishing or children's media. It's also aimed at authors who want to create texts for children.
Award-winning author Michael Rosen is just one of the leading teaching staff on this programme, which is taught mainly in the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, although those pursuing the Creative Writing pathway will also study modules in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
From classic works to contemporary texts
You will deepen your familiarity with the range and diversity of genres for children from ‘classic’ works to contemporary texts and develop detailed knowledge and critical understanding of issues and debates in the field. Studying children’s literature at Goldsmiths will also involve examining how texts for children reflect contested constructions of childhood.
Creative writing opportunities
If you are already a committed writer, although you may not have experience of writing for children/young adults, the MA in Children's Literature offers a Creative Writing pathway which is taught in partnership with the Department of English and Comparative Literature. You can select modules that will support creative writing practices and enable you to work with practising and published creative writing lecturers and education lecturers to study and explore the nature of writing for children/young adults, creating original texts in the genres of short story, novel and poetry (but not script/screen writing or picture books/graphic novels).
The sociopolitical contexts of children's literature
Goldsmiths' MA in Children’s Literature is unique in its focus on inclusive practices and social justice. We will question the sociopolitical contexts in which texts are produced and interpreted and you will be encouraged to explore how texts for children can challenge or reinforce dominant ideological constructions. We interrogate the power relations that determine what is published, distributed and selected to be read by children in schools.
You will explore the relationship between reader, writer, text and context, and consider the processes that underpin those interactions. We will also examine the inherent paradox that studying children’s literature will involve adults' writing, selecting and responding to texts that are normally intended for children.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Maggie Pitfield
Modules & structure
|Children’s Literature: Theory and Reading Practice||Michael Rosen, Maggie Pitfield||30 credits||Educational Studies|
|Children’s Literature and Cultural Diversity||Maggie Pitfield, Vicky Macleroy, Julia Hope, Alison Griffiths||30 credits||Educational Studies|
|Dissertation||60 credits||Educational Studies or English & Comparative Literature|
|Researching Culture, Language and Identity in Education||Anna Traianou||30 credits||Educational Studies|
|Children’s Literature in Action (project-based module)||Michael Rosen, Maggie Pitfield||30 credits||Educational Studies|
|An optional module in the Department of Educational Studies||30 credits||Educational Studies|
Creative Writing Pathway
|Workshop in Creative and Life Writing||Francis Gilbert||30 credits||English and Comparative Literature|
|Writing for Children/Young Adults||tbc||30 credits||English and Comparative Literature|
Coursework, essays, project, dissertation, creative writing (optional).
Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Education at Goldsmiths is ranked 8th in the UK for the quality of our research**
As a department we’re interested in seeing what education can tell us about the social, political and economic forces of our times. And what these forces mean for the everyday lives of individuals and groups.
We see education as a window through which to view the world, and as something with the power to define who we are and how we live.
That’s why our research delves into areas including culture and identity, gender, multilingualism, and youth cultures, and why we maintain a commitment to social justice and inclusion.
Find out more about the Department of Educational Studies.
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
English at Goldsmiths is ranked:
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 150 universities for English language and literature***
English and Comparative Literature
Cervantes. Bukowski. Dostoevsky. Self. From classical literature and linguistics, to creative writing and contemporary fiction, we take a critical and creative approach to the discipline.
As a department we’re interested in a field of enquiry that extends from Old English to 21st-century literatures in English, French, Spanish and Italian. So you can study texts and films across a variety of periods and genres.
We have a dedicated Writers’ Centre that encourages new writing and stimulates debate about all forms of literature. And we award the annual Goldsmiths Prize (for “fiction at its most novel”), which brings critically acclaimed writers like Ali Smith and Eimear McBride to campus.
We may be one of the largest departments at Goldsmiths but that doesn’t mean you won’t get personal support. Learn from our approachable team of academic staff and become part of the student-run English Society.
As one of the first departments in the UK to offer creative writing, you’ll be part of a hub of literary excellence – our graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from the Orange Prize for Fiction to the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.
Find out more about the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by subject 2015
Skills & careers
Graduates will be well placed to specialise in children’s literature in a range of careers:
- Children’s media
- Writing texts for children
- Academic study
- Youth and community work
You will acquire a wide-ranging understanding of the field of children’s literature and the social, political cultural processes that surround it. You will also develop your critical thinking, communication and research skills.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Award-winning author Michael Rosen, who has written more than 140 books and was the fifth British Children's Laureate, is just one of the leading teaching staff on the programme. Michael’s appointment at Goldsmiths has a personal element to it. He is following in his mother’s footsteps as she taught in the same department (Educational Studies) from 1963-1966.
"I'm very excited about the idea of developing an MA in Children's Literature at Goldsmiths, especially as there's a huge appetite for it in inner London. We have potentially a huge number of people who want to study this fascinating subject.
There are so many interesting elements to Children's Literature that perhaps aren't obvious; psychological and anthropological elements for example. Children's Literature is essentially a human practice, it's part of how we initiate our children into life, but also how we begin to shape how they think about and question what they are doing.
Goldsmiths has been on my radar for a long time. My mother taught there in the 1960s at a time when Goldsmiths was becoming an incredibly prominent Higher Education institution."
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a related field.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
Additional Entry Requirement for the Creative Writing Pathway
To study on the Creative Writing Pathway as part of the MA in Children's Literature you should follow the usual application process. If offered a place on the programme, you will submit a substantial piece or pieces of original creative writing, up to a maximum of 3,000 words, prior to the beginning of the programme. This work does not have to be in the form of writing for children/young adults. It will be considered by the Module Leader of the Workshop in Creative and Life Writing.
Your submission should include one item from the following list: 1 short story; 7-10 poems; 1 or 2 extracts from a novel; 1 or 2 extracts from non-fiction writing, for example, memoir.
Submissions can be emailed directly to Maggie Pitfield, Head of Programme.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
Find out more about applying.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Find out more about tuition fees.
We produce reading packs electronically and in hard copy format. There’s a small charge for the hard copy reading packs. You may also be asked to contribute towards trips and some materials for your modules.
Funding may be available from schools’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) budgets.