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Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

MA in Children's and Young Adult Literature

MA in Children's & Young Adult Literature

The next intake is September 2019 with applications expected to open in late October 2018. There is an intake to this programme every two years (i.e. 2017, 2019, etc.)

  • PAC CodeDC696
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Part-time
  • Duration 2 Years

The study of children’s literature has a long history at DCU, as the English Department based on the St. Patrick’s Campus was the first to offer a taught Masters programme on the subject in Ireland (from 1997). In the years since, the programme has benefitted enormously from the participation of key experts in the field, as well as from the enthusiastic committment of its students. A series of significant conferences and publications as well as various initiatives have occurred as a result of the programme, including the establishment of a Centre for Children’s Literature and Culture in 2006. 

Since September 2017, students are able to study for a Masters in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, which marks an exciting departure for both the programme and the School of English, DCU.

Graduate View


“It is testament to the thought-provoking and engaging lectures which consistently challenged and inspired us that I was always excited by the prospect of our evening lectures, no matter how tiring the day. From the symmetry of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are to the sanctuary of Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s The Secret Garden, I was encouraged for the first time to think critically about the issues that affect both children and literature.

“Since completing the course, my newfound fascination with the interplay of words and images in picturebooks has changed me as a reader and challenged me as a school librarian. Beyond the walls of the school library, my research has led to beginning a PhD programme and to multiple invitations to lecture on the topic of visual literacy at educational conferences and in universities. Like Alice in Wonderland or Lucy in Narnia, this is a programme that will take you on a magical journey and all sorts of unexpected adventures (both personally and professionally) are sure to follow.”

 Mairead Duggan, Graduate


Why Do This Programme?

Participants on this programme often express a long-standing fascination with children’s and/or young adult literature, and enrol for a variety of reasons. Some, for example, undertake the programme purely to find an outlet for their love of such literature, while others do so because they see it as a pathway to career development.

Some of our graduates have used the programme as a means of furthering their ambitions as writers, while others again have gone on to doctoral study. The programme facilitates these several motivations/aims, offering students a wide-ranging course of study in the history and development of children’s and young adult literature, and introducing them to crucial areas of research.

The modules consider the art and politics of children’s literature from the late seventeenth century right up until the present moment, and explores issues related to genre as well as how notions of what is ‘suitable’ reading for children and young adults continue to evolve. Students read widely during the course of their first year, examining, both didactic and fantasy writing, for example, as well as multi-modal texts (films, picturebooks, and graphic novels), and contemporary Young Adult literature. In the second year, students concentrate on a specific area of research and, with guided supervision, write their dissertation.

Programme Structure and Content

The programme is offered:

  • Part-time (two years)

Typically, the programme is taught on two evenings per week.

To meet the requirements of the Masters in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, students must take six taught modules, which are assessed by means of essays, and also produce a minor thesis of circa 15,000-20,000 words. 

Modules are subject to review and amendment, and the modules below – which are offered on the MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature (2017-19) – are provided for the purposes of illustration only:

Year 1:
Histories and Contexts
Theories, Critics, Research Methods
Multimodal Texts
International: When East Meets West
Adventure and School Stories
Young Adult Literature
Year 2:
Dissertation Module , which includes supervisory sessions with research supervisor; research and writing  seminars; student presentations; and visits by occasional guest speakers.

Programme Aims and Objectives

  • To illuminate children’s and young adult literature, in all of its guises, and demonstrate its literary and cultural significance 
  • To deepen students’  appreciation of children’s and young adult literature, and enable them to engage with it on a critical as well as imaginative and/or emotional level
  • To develop the practical skills of students, and enable them to approach both research and critical writing with a greater confidence
  • To encourage students to recognize the transferrable nature of the skills that they develop during the course of this programme


View the current course structure →


Why Choose DCU?

  • The programme is proud of its ground-breaking history, and offers students the opportunity to study children’s and young adult literature in a uniquely supportive environment
  • Small class sizes ensure that everybody has a voice, and typically promotes a close and mutually supportive relationship between students
  • Academic staff are experts in their fields, and hugely committed to the teaching of children’s and young adult literature 
  • Teaching styles are lively and varied, and promote an interactive and participative environment
  • There is a wide range of modules, which are designed to ensure that students get the opportunity to study their particular interests


 Programme Chairperson: Dr. Sharon Murphy

Tel: +353 (0)1 700 6098




  • This programme has been of particular use to teachers of English at both first and second level as a means of career development.
  • It has also served the same purpose for school librarians, and for librarians working in public libraries.
  • Some of our graduates have used the programme as a springboard into doctoral study and academia.
  • We also have graduates working in publishing, heritage institutions, and administration.
  • One of our graduates from 2003 is currently serving as the President of IBBY Ireland, which is the Irish section of the international non-profit organisation which aims to bring children and books together.
  • A more recent graduate published her first work for children in 2015.

Potential Careers

  • Literary Editor
  • Publisher
  • Journalist
  • Writer
  • Librarian


General Entry Requirements

This programme is open to applicants with an honours primary degree, minimum H2.1 (Level 8 NFQ) in a related subject.  Applicants with an honours degree who do not meet the minimum entry of a H2.1 but can show substancial and demonstrable experience related to Children's and/or Young Adult literature may be considered for a place on the programme.

As part of your application through the Posgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) please submit a personal statement (maximum 1.000 words), outlining why you wish to study for a Master's Degree in Children's and Young Adult Literature.

As part of the selection process you may also be required to attend for interview. 

International Applications
International applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language, they must satisfy the university of their compentency in the English language.  For further information in relation to international applicants, please click here

How to Apply

The next intake is September 2019 with applications expected to open in late October 2018. There is an intake to this programme every two years (i.e. 2017, 2019, etc.).

How to Apply and Closing Dates

Make an Application

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable
  • Personal statement of 1,000 words maximum

Non Native English Speakers

  • Evidence of English competency which meets DCU entry requirements - see link


Application Process (applications will open in October 2018)

EU Applicants:

Apply online through the Postgraduate Application Centre by 31st July 2019

Non EU Applicants:

Apply online through the Postgraduate Application Center by 10th July 2019. Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are advised to apply as early as possible.