Course information


Educational Studies
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

Immerse yourself in the exploration of practical and professional approaches to children’s book illustration and writing for young children.

Why study MA Children’s Literature: Children’s Book Illustration

  • This Masters is taught by Goldsmiths Department of Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, with some learning taking place in the Department of Education Studies.
  • To refine your practical illustration skills and ideas by working on projects that focus on materials and their combination; colour, tone, creating atmosphere, addressing the reader, and the relationship of illustration to text. At the end of the programme there will be an opportunity to exhibit your work.
  • To study bespoke modules in: Children’s Publishing which will help you with promoting your work and establishing dialogues with designers, editors, and agents; Picture Book Writing where you will learn how to write a picture book text that you will be given the chance to illustrate for your final project.
  • To benefit from exposure to professional networks; recent visits have included Macmillan Children’s Books, Farshore, an imprint of Harper Collins, and Walker Books, the Association of Illustrators with guest lectures from established illustrators and visits to illustration studios.
  • To be taught by specialist teaching staff, including prominent children’s authors and illustrators.
  • To develop more than your practical skills: we draw on both professional and critical perspectives from art and education, cultural studies, design, and sociology to deliver a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the subject of illustration. We expect you to interrogate the power relations that determine what is published, distributed and selected to be read by children.
  • The Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies has been ranked 2nd in the UK for 'world-leading or internationally excellent' research (Research Excellence Framework, 2021) and 16th in the world (3rd in the UK) in the 2024 QS World Rankings for communication and media studies.

You can explore our students' work by visiting our Illustration@Goldsmiths Instagram page or selecting the Student Work option from the menu below.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Bruce Ingman.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

The compulsory modules of this degree cover both the theoretical and the practical aspects of illustrating for children’s literature, with a module dedicated to learning the skills needed to successfully navigate the world of children’s publishing as a freelance illustrator.

Module title Credits
Inclusion and Diversity 30 credits
Children's Book Illustration Practice 30 credits
Children's Publishing 30 credits
Children's Book Illustration: Final Project 60 credits

Option modules

In addition to the compulsory modules, you will also have the opportunity to tailor your studies to your personal interests by choosing a 30 credit option module from the Department of Educational Studies, such as:

Module title Credits
Picture Book Writing 30 credits
Children's Literature in Action 30 credits
Race, Culture and Education 30 credits
Early Childhood in a Diverse Society 30 credits
Revisiting Practice 30 credits

Individual Modules

Some of these modules are also available to be taken as part of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.

Download the programme specification.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

For direct entry onto the degree, you should have or expect to achieve an undergraduate degree of at least upper second-class standard in a relevant area such as graphic design, illustration or art, or have equivalent professional experience. We welcome applications from candidates you haven’t completed an UG degree in an art and design subject area. You will also be required to provide a portfolio as part of your application.

International students also have the option to study English language as part of the pre-sessional programme.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £10350
  • Home - part-time: £5175
  • International - full-time: £22640

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement.
  • A portfolio must be submitted as a single pdf digital file. The portfolio should include fifteen to twenty examples which represent your visual practice and can include pieces such as finished and preparatory illustrations, storyboards, character development, animated sequences, 3D work. We are particularly interested in seeing your observational drawings, eg of your local environment, people, animals, life drawings.  We are also interested in the ideas behind your work and your thought process. Please present your research methods and routes clearly, showing how these translate into your final outcomes. Avoid cramming too many small images onto one page as we may not be able to read the imagery properly. Translations for any examples provided in another language would be helpful.
  • For any moving image work please put a hyperlink in your pdf digital portfolio to a video sharing site such as YouTube or input a URL link.
  • We welcome applications from candidates who haven’t completed an undergraduate degree in art and design.
  • 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. Please note - this programme is very competitive and receives a high volume of applications. As such, please make sure that both your portfolio and personal statement are relevant to Children’s Book Illustration, otherwise, we are unlikely to be able to consider your application.

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. 

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.



The Professor Stuart Hall and Media Research Buildings offer a wide range of seminar and teaching rooms designed for flexibility and practical work, and an IT suite with state-of-the-art computer equipment.

Access is available weekdays 8am-8pm when not in use for teaching.

We also have a range of computer service facilities mainly located in the Rutherford Building (Library and IT Services). Laptops can be borrowed from this building for use on campus.

We have printmaking facilities in the studio and visit off-campus specialist studios for silkscreen and riso printing workshops.

Student work

For examples of student work, please visit the Illustration@Goldsmiths Instagram page.


As a graduate of the MA in Children’s Literature: Children’s Book Illustration you will have gained the skills and knowledge to succeed as a freelance children’s book illustrator and author. In addition to honing your understanding of the children’s publishing industry, this degree will provide you with the professional skills to enter the industry with confidence.

Throughout the course you will benefit from the expertise and networks of renowned practitioners. The Children’s Publishing module will develop your knowledge of the sector and your professional skills, whilst the degree show and visits to Bologna International Children’s Book Fair and London Book Fair to meet publishers and agents will provide you with a platform to build professional relationships within the industry. The various publishers who have visited the course to give presentations include, Farshore an imprint of Harper Collins, Macmillan Children’s Books, Penguin Random House, Nosy Crow, Templar, Bloomsbury, and Walker Books. You will also benefit from Goldsmiths’ networks with institutions such as the Association of Illustrators.


Children’s Illustration at Goldsmiths draws on the expertise of renowned children’s authors and illustrators, as well as leading academic staff within the Departments of Educational Studies and Media, Communications and Cultural Studies.

Children’s authors and illustrators who currently contribute to teaching in the departments include:

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