Courses at DCU
School of English

MA in Children's and Young Adult Literature

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+353 (0) 1
700 6097

The study of children’s literature at the School of English, Dublin City University, has its origins in the long tradition of scholarship in the discipline associated with two of the university’s incorporating colleges: the former Church of Ireland College of Education offered the first postgraduate qualification (a diploma) in children’s literature, in Ireland, in 1992; the former Department of English, at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, offered the first taught master’s programme in the discipline, in Ireland, in 1997. 

Since September 2017, students at the School of English, DCU, are able to study for the degree of Masters of Arts in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, which marks an exciting departure for both the discipline and the new school.

The MA programme benefits enormously from the participation of national and international experts in the discipline, as well as from the enthusiastic commitment of its students.

Why Do This Programme?

Students 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 students, for example, undertake the programme purely to find an outlet for their love of children’s and young adult literature, while others do so because they see it as a pathway to career development. Our graduates have used the programme as a means of furthering their ambitions as writers, while others 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 from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, and introducing them to critical areas of research.

Students read widely during the course of their first year, when the programme considers a range of topics, including the art and politics of children’s literature; form and genre; and the ever-evolving perceptions of what is deemed ‘suitable’ reading for children and young adults. In their second year, students concentrate on a specific area of research and, with guided supervision, write their dissertations.

Programme Aims and Objectives

The MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature degree programme aims to

  • illuminate children’s and young adult literature, and demonstrate its literary and cultural significance; 
  • deepen students’ appreciation of children’s and young adult literature, and enable them to engage with such literature on both a critical and an imaginative level;
  • develop students’ practical skills, so as to enable them to approach reading, writing and research with greater confidence;
  • encourage students to recognise the transferrable nature of the skills that they develop during the course of this programme.

Programme Structure and Content

Currently, the MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature degree programme is offered part-time over two years. Typically, the programme is taught on two evenings perweekin Year One (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16.00 to 19.00). In Year Two, there are only occasional set seminars; instead, students meet with their dissertation supervisors, at mutually convenient times, to discuss their work throughout the year.

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

Modules are subject to review and amendment. The modules below are provided for the purposes of illustration only:

Year 1:

  • Histories and Contexts
  • Theories, Critics, Research Methods
  • Picturebooks and Film
  • Colonial, Adventure and School Stories
  • Fantasy and Poetry
  • International Children’s Literature

Year 2:

  • Dissertation (which includes supervisory sessions with a research supervisor; research and writing seminars; and, student presentations)


View the current course structure

Why Choose the MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature at DCU?

  • The School of English is proud of its ground-breaking history in initiating the academic study of children’s literature as a postgraduate discipline in Ireland.
  • Members of the lecturing staff are experts in their fields, publishing and researching widely in the discipline, and co-founding national organisations (such as the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature).
  • The programme offers students the opportunity to study children’s and young adult literature in a supportive environment; small class sizes ensure that everyone has a voice, and typically promote a close and mutually supportive relationship between students; lectures and seminars are lively and varied, and promote an interactive and participative environment.
  • The wide range of modules on the programme ensures that students get the best opportunity to study their particular interests.

Programme Chair

The MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature degree programme is chaired by Dr Keith O’Sullivan, associate professor in the School of English. He can be contacted by e-mail at or by telephone at +353 (0)1 700 6097.

Programme Fees

Information on fees can be found at


“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

Potential Careers

Some of our graduates have used the programme as a springboard into doctoral study and academia, while others have used the knowledge and skills acquired on the programme to inform their work as journalists, lecturers, editors, publishers, researchers and writers.

This programme has been of particular use to teachers of English at both primary and secondary levels, as a means of career development. It has also served the same purpose for school librarians and for librarians working in public libraries.

Graduates of the programme have also served as president of IBBY Ireland (the Irish section of the international non-profit organisation, which aims to bring children and books together); acted as adjudicators for, and chairs of, Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards; and, published children’s literature.



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 substantial 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

Make an Application

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations, if applicable
  • Provide a 500-750 word (max) personal statement including:
    (i) Why you wish to study the programme;
    (ii) What in your record and experience makes you suitable for the MA programme;
    (iii) The impact which you expect the MA programme would have on your future career.

Please also include your CV.

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

Non Native English Speakers

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


Application Process 

EU Applicants

Please apply through PAC  Applications will be reviewed and offers will be made on an onging basis.  Should places still be available on this programme.

Non-EU / International Applicants

Please apply through PAC  Applicants will be reviewed and offers will be made on an ongoing basis.  Should places still be available on this programme.

Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are advised to apply as early as possible.  If you need a study visa and are a Non EU/International student, you are not eligible to apply for part time programmes as study visas are only granted for full time programmes.

To apply for this programme use the PAC code DC696.


Queries from EU applicants should be directed to

Queries from non EU applicants should be directed to