Prospective students with an interest in children's literature can find graduate programs offering in-depth study in authors, themes, and formats common to the genre. Graduates are equipped with knowledge on children's literature applicable to teaching children or to writing or illustrating children's books. These programs usually result in a master's degree, but graduate certificate programs are also available.
Children's Literature Graduate Program Information
Depending on the nature of the program, students can expect to complete between 15 and 40 credit hours, and some programs offer online options for coursework. In addition to classes like those outlined below, programs often require a thesis or comprehensive examinations.
Writing for Children
Students with the goal of producing children's literature can find courses in these programs covering the craft of writing for this particular audience. These writing classes cover narrative construction and the use of literary devices. They may focus on a particular genre within children's literature, such as picture books or short stories. During these classes, students may produce and evaluate pieces of writing aimed at children.
Myth and Folklore
Because of their prominence in children's literature, these programs usually include courses on myths and folktales like the classic Brothers Grimm tales. Students examine common stories in this realm and the values they express. These classes may cover myths and folktales from a variety of cultures and examine how these stories have changed over time.
Multicultural Children's Literature
Graduate programs in children's literature often include a class focused on multiculturalism. These classes may cover literature about groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in society. Additionally, they may address how multicultural audiences receive and interpret children's literature. Through readings and discussions, students gain experience in how to evaluate multicultural literature.
Young Adult Literature
These graduate programs also explore different demographic segments of the children's literature market. Courses on young adult literature focus on the design and content of writing for adolescents. These classes may examine how such literature is used in the classroom or on a specific genre within the field like science fiction. Additionally, they may focus on literature from a specific time period or the multicultural implications of particular young adult works.
Illustration in Children's Literature
Because visual imagery is a significant component of books for young children, graduate programs in this area usually include classes focused on analyzing the role of art in children's books or creating it. These classes may study the work of well-known illustrators and how illustrated literature has changed over time. In addition to picture books, they may examine graphic novels and comic books.
Children's Literature Graduate Program Admissions
Applicants to both graduate certificate and master's-granting programs in children's literature must hold a bachelor's degree. Master's degree programs may stipulate that applicants have a minimum GPA in at least a portion of their undergraduate career. Additionally, applicants may need to submit a writing sample and a statement of academic goals. Programs may also require letters of recommendation and GRE scores.
Graduate programs in children's literature are usually offered at the master's or certificate level. These programs provide instruction in creating and interpreting children's literature and include coursework in specific aspects of the field, like mythology and multiculturalism.