Course information


Educational Studies
English and Creative Writing


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

Expand your understanding of children’s and young adult literature by specialising as a researcher, creative writer, or children’s book illustrator with the MA Children’s Literature programme.

Why study MA Children's Literature at Goldsmiths

Taught by Goldsmiths' Department of Educational Studies, with some learning taking place in the Department of English and Creative Writing, the MA Children’s Literature programme has three pathways. Through the programme, you will:

  • Have the unique experience of learning alongside researchers, authors, and illustrators and benefit from exposure to industry experts to develop a well-rounded understanding of children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature

  • Join a programme that affirms the importance of culturally relevant books for showing underrepresented readers that they have a place in the world and in the books they read. Our core module – Children’s Literature, Culture and Diversity – examines how texts for young people can challenge and disrupt existing power systems and we regularly visit the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education to celebrate their Reflecting Realities work and explore the 23,000 books and resources in their Literacy Library

  • Be taught by leading figures in children’s and Young Adult literature including Professor Michael Rosen, Professor Vicky Macleroy, Dr Emily Corbett, Dr Tori Bovalino, and Bruce Ingman

  • Join a vibrant and supportive academic community, where you can collaborate with fellow students and engage in lively discussions about the literature that shapes young minds

  • Be invited to join the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Research Forum (CYALRF) and contribute to Spinning Gold, the online publication led by MA Children’s Literature students

MA Children’s Literature: Theoretical Approaches to Children’s and Young Adult Literature

If you choose the Theoretical Approaches to Children’s and Young Adults Literature pathway, you will specialise as a researcher and a critical thinker. Whether you come from an academic, publishing, education, or children's media background, and whether you are an established professional or just starting out, this pathway will support your development in the world of children’s and YA literature.

It can also prepare you to go on to doctoral-level study. Contact the Head of Pathway, Dr Emily Corbett, e.corbett (, for more information on the pathway.

MA Children’s Literature: Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults

If you choose the Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults pathway, you will explore the world of children’s and YA literature and find innovative and exciting ways to develop your creative writing for diverse readers, while reflecting critically on the process and contexts in which you write.

Contact the Head of Pathway, Dr Tori Bovalino, v.bovalino (, for more information on the pathway.

MA Children’s Literature: Children’s Book Illustration

If you choose the Children’s Book Illustration pathway, you'll immerse yourself in exploring professional and practical approaches to children’s book illustration. This pathway is jointly delivered by the Department of Educational Studies and the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies.

Please visit the dedicated pathway page to find out more about our Children's Book Illustration pathway or contact the Head of Pathway, Bruce Ingman, b.ingman (

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Vicky Macleroy or Emily Corbett.

What you'll study

The optional elements of this programme mean you can choose between pursuing a pathway focusing on the study of literature for children in community contexts (Theory and Criticism pathway) or mainly focus on developing your writing for children (Creative Writing pathway).

The final project gives you the opportunity to undertake a critical enquiry related to theory and criticism in the study of children’s literature or to undertake a portfolio that will enable you to engage with critical and practical debates relating to creative writing and work creatively and imaginatively within the constraints of the designated project.

Theory approaches pathway

Compulsory modules

In this pathway, you'll study the following modules*:

Module title Credits
Children's Literature: Theory and Criticism 30 credits
Inclusion and Diversity 30 credits
Research with Texts 30 credits
The Publishing Industry 30 credits
Final Project 60 credits
Children's Literature in Action 30 credits

*Note all modules are compulsory except from Children's Literature in Action, the recommended option for this pathway.

Creative writing pathway

Compulsory modules

For this pathway you'll take the following compulsory modules:

Module title Credits
Inclusion and Diversity 30 credits
Workshop in Creative and Life Writing 30 credits
The Publishing Industry 30 credits
Creative and Life Writing Portfolio 60 credits

Optional modules

You'll also choose one 30 credit module from the following list:

Module title Credits
Writing for Children and Young Adults 30 credits
Children's Literature in Action 30 credits
Picture Book Writing 30 credits

Download the programme specification.

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

What our students say

Sophia Malak

Challenging perspectives

As someone who was trying to break into the elusive world of children's publishing, attending the MA in Children's Literature at Goldsmiths was one of the best decisions I ever made. The Theoretical Approaches pathway challenged the way I interacted with and thought about children's literature.

Culturally relevant and industry-focused modules

I especially appreciated the care with which the course explored culturally relevant issues. There was a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with one entire course dedicated to how culture and diversity affect children's literature. The Theoretical Approaches pathway allowed me to explore different areas of interest, such as postcolonialism, feminism, and archetypal theory as they relate to Young Adult novels.

I was even able to take a children’s publishing course that focused on the different roles within publishing, which helped me narrow down where I felt that I would fit. Within that class, we were introduced to industry professionals, who gave essential insight into what the industry is like.

Life after Goldsmiths

This MA gave me the confidence to apply for a mentorship at a literary agency, which I was later awarded along with the WNDB (We Need Diverse Books) internship grant. I am now a literary assistant at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, working toward becoming a literary agent.

I owe a lot of my success to this MA’s excellent courses, in-depth conversations, and knowledgeable staff who supported me and my goals throughout the year.

Well-connected campus

As someone who lived in student accommodations further from campus, I was impressed by how well-connected it was – two stations are very close to campus. New Cross was a lovely area with multiple coffee shops, a bookstore, and many cafes.

Moving to London

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the transition from home to London was. The Goldsmiths staff were very good at sending emails and information regarding visas or anything else we needed.

I was also surprised by how international of a school it was. I was able to make friends from all over the world, as well as many people from my own home country.

Advice for future students

University is a time for you to push yourself and grow. Whether that is living in a student dorm, meeting new people, or joining a club or sports team, this is a time for you to find out who you truly are and what you truly want.

I moved halfway across the world for this experience, to learn and to grow, and it became one of the best years of my life. If you don't take risks, you'll never grow.

Harry Oulton

Harry completed his MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmith’s in 2019 and has written three middle-grade novels and a book of prompts for reluctant writers of all ages.

Harry completed his MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmith’s in 2019 and has written three middle-grade novels and a book of prompts for reluctant writers of all ages. More details can be accessed on his website

Harry started a PhD at Goldsmiths in Children’s Literature in 2020 with the working title of “Arrowfall - the methodology of Adaptation in YA Historical Fiction”. The Paston Letters are a series of over 1000 letters written between members of the same family in the 15th century. They are readily accessible, and Harry is using them as his principal source material in the creation of Arrowfall, a contemporaneous Young Adult Historical novel. This is the same creative process followed in 1883 by Robert Louis Stevenson when he wrote the YA novel The Black Arrow, and Helen Castor in 2004 when she wrote Blood and Roses, a biography of the Paston family. Arrowfall will interact with all three texts, creating a pyramid of adaptation and informing the choices he makes during the writing process. He will also be drawing on outlaw narratives, from Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe up to the 2017 Netflix series Casa de Papel. Historical Fiction is itself the product of an adaptive contradiction; by necessity, it involves the insertion of fiction into a truth, and this uneasy juxtaposition is best examined and accessed using an adaptation studies methodology. As HF is often used pedagogically, he is working within both the creative writing and the education faculties of Goldsmiths. The pedagogic aspect must consider fidelity, which will ensure he, in turn, addresses the fundamental question at the heart of adaptation; should an adaptation bring the source text to the reader, or should it take the reader to the text?

Helen Jones

Helen is researching her PhD thesis into children’s comics-making at Goldsmiths University, having previously studied for a foundation diploma at Camberwell College of Art.

Helen is researching her PhD thesis into children’s comics-making at Goldsmiths University, having previously studied a foundation diploma at Camberwell College of Art, a BA (Hons) in Communication at Cardiff University, a PGCE in Primary Education at Middlesex University and an MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths University. Helen is a lecturer in primary education at UCL, Institute of Education. Prior to this, she was a teacher in primary schools in London for twelve years, during which time she had a range of roles in both leadership and the classroom. Helen currently runs an after-school comic club for children in a local primary school. She has three young children who are all enthusiastic readers and makers of comics and graphic novels.

Helen has been awarded a Goldsmiths, Department of Educational Studies scholarship for her PhD studies. She has published articles and presented at conferences on her specialist area:

Jones, H. (2021). Developing a comic library to support children reading for pleasure. English 4-11, Summer 2021

Jones, H. (2021). Caticorns and Derp Warz: Exploring children’s comic making and literacy worlds in an after school comic club. Presented at: Transitions 9.

Jones, H. (2020). Caticorns and Derp Warz: Exploring children’s literacy worlds through the production of comics. Studies in Comics, 11 (1), 59-93.

Jones, H. (2019). It is awesome and you get to swap fun, funny and fantasy!' How a comic lending library impacted on the reading habits of Y3 pupils. Presented at: UKLA 55th International Conference.

Jones, H. (2019). New Ways to Promote Reading for Pleasure with Michael Rosen. Panel discussion at: New Ways to Promote Reading for Pleasure with Michael Rosen.

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

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 apply to study on the Creative Writing Pathway you should follow the usual application process, submitting a substantial piece or pieces of original creative writing, up to a maximum of 3,000 words, with your application. 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.


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

To find out more about your fees, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

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.

Funding may be available from schools’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) budgets.

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 academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • 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

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. 

Selection process

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.



The MA Children's Literature can support a new or continuing career in:

  • Education
  • Publishing
  • Children’s media
  • Writing texts for children
  • Librarianship
  • Academic study
  • Youth and community work


Some of the skills you'll develop during the MA Children's Literature are:

  • A range of communication skills - including written, spoken, and digital
  • An ability to handle ideas in rational, critical, creative and evaluative ways
  • Independence and self-management
  • Proficiency in assessing evidence and in expressing ideas clearly
  • An ability to bring together insights from a range of disciplines

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths


Professor Michael Rosen

Award-winning author Michael Rosen, who has written more than 200 books and was the fifth British Children's Laureate (2007-2009), is one of the leading lights on the programme. Michael Rosen has authored world-famous classics such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Chocolate Cake.

“It's been very exciting developing an MA in Children's Literature at Goldsmiths, especially as there's a huge appetite for it in recent years. 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 ”.

Professor Vicky Macleroy

Professor Vicky Macleroy is the Head of the Centre for Language, Culture and Learning and co-Director of the ‘Critical Connections Multilingual Storytelling’ Project.

Dr Emily Corbett

Dr Emily Corbett is the General Editor of The International Journal of Young Adult Literature and Founding Vice President of the YA Studies Association.

Dr Tori Bovalino

Dr Tori Bovalino is a renowned author of several YA novels, including The Devil Makes Three, Not Good for Maidens, and My Throat an Open Grave.

Bruce Ingman

Bruce Ingman is a prominent children’s illustrator who regularly collaborates with much-loved author, Allan Ahlberg, and was founding Ambassador for the House of Illustration.

Find out more about staff in the Departments of Educational Studies and English and Creative Writing.


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