Master’s in Children’s Literature Degree

Simmons University’s MA in Children’s Literature program encourages students to not only practice writing literature but study its history, impact, and content. From picture books to young adult literature, classic works to contemporary prize winners, students explore the artistry of literature for children and young adults. Simmons courses apply varied theoretical frameworks to historical and contemporary texts to discover their imaginative ambitions and critical successes.

This a 36-credit program with only four mandatory courses. Students can tailor their program experience with a large list of elective courses as they immerse themselves in a wide range of genres — poetry, nonfiction, fantasy, young adult realistic fiction — and investigate the ways that children's literature constructs childhood.

Why study Children's Literature?

Simmons University’s master’s program explores the diverse professional perspectives shaping literature for today’s children and young adults Course topics range from writing for children to publishing to reviewing the books themselves.

You will learn to track the intersections of children’s literature and pop culture and evaluate hot trends to seek new perspectives. MA in Children’s Literature students can also take classes at Amherst’s Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Our faculty come from a wide range of professional fields, and each student works closely with a faculty advisor to tailor their program to their specific interests and career goals.

What can you do with an MA in Children’s Literature?

There are many career and internship opportunities in the Boston area for those with a degree in children’s literature. The city is home to numerous publishing houses, media companies, and high-profile corporations. Students can chat with editors, authors, and illustrators at the summer institute as well. There are many programs sponsored by the Simmons Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons, such as Horn Book at Simmons Symposium and the Boston Book Festival.

You'll cultivate the incisive analytical tools to thrive in teaching, library services, publishing, academia, writing, and related fields. Our students have found success as agents, managing editors, children's librarians, teachers, and professors at organizations such as The Sheldon Fogelman Agency, The Horn Book, Chronicle Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Roaring Brook Press, the Boston Public Library, the Worcester Public Library, Boston Collegiate Charter School, and the University of Memphis.

Learn more about our Master’s in Children’s Literature program!

Simmons University’s MA in Children’s Literature prepares students to work in creating, analyzing, and publishing books for our youngest generation. Interesting in learning more? Request more information!

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. While many of our current students majored in English as undergraduates, we encourage applications from across the humanities, arts, and media studies; additionally, applications for the social sciences and education are welcome. Applicants must submit official transcripts of all degree work, two letters of recommendation, a statement or purpose, a resume, and, for international students, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). An interview is strongly recommended, though not required. Admission deadlines are rolling for all three semesters.

Degree Requirements

Thirty-six credits are required for the degree, including 16 credits of general electives. The following five courses compose the required core of the program:

  • CHL 401 Criticism of Children's Literature
  • CHL 403 The Picturebook
  • CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults (g for MFA only; required MA)
  • CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction (g for MFA only; required MA)
  • Four credits of history coursework drawn from general electives
  • CHL 404A Poetry for Young Readers: You be the Judge (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 411 Victorian Children's Literature (h)
  • CHL 415 The Whole Book Approach (2 credits)
  • CHL 419A Canadian Children's Literature: Fantasy (2 credits)
  • CHL 419B Humor (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 420 Thesis (f, sp, su)
  • CHL 421 History of Children's Book Publishing
  • CHL 422 Editing the Children's Book Manuscript (2 credits)
  • CHL 423 19th Century American Children's Literature (4 credits) (h)
  • CHL 424B Nonsense and Subversive Rhymes (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 424C Series Fiction (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 427 Special Topics: Folk & Fairy Tales (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 427B The Americanization of Fairy Tales (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 428A A Single Text: The Graphic Novel and *The Wizard of Oz* (2 credits) (h) (g)
  • CHL 429A Re-Reading Race in Classic Children's Literature (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 429B The Girl Reader 1868-1908 (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 429C Culture Matters (h)
  • CHL 429D The Girl Reader 1908-1934 (2 credits) (h)
  • CHL 430 Writing for Children I
  • CHL 434 The Child and the Book
  • CHL 435A Creators and Aesthetics: Eric Carle (2 credits)
  • CHL 435B Creators and Aesthetics: Gary Schmidt (2 credits)
  • CHL 436A Nonfiction-Narrative (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 436B Nonfiction-Expository (2 credits) (g)
  • CHL 437 Special Topics in Children's Literature: Positionality (4 credits)
  • CHL 450 Independent study
  • CHL 451 The Reviewer (2 credits)
  • CHL 50X Summer symposium and institute (4 credits)

(h) indicates that the course counts toward the required four elective credits of history coursework for the MFA and MA degrees.

(g) indicates that the course counts toward the required four elective credits of genre coursework for the MFA degree.

An elective course can only count toward one category. For example, CHL 427 can count two credits toward the history elective or the genre elective requirement, but not both.

Customize Your Program
You'll work with a faculty advisor to tailor your program to your interests and career goals.
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Programs at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
All Children's Literature degree and dual degree programs are offered on the Boston campus. In addition, the M.A. in Children's Literature, M.F.A. in Writing for Children and our M.A. in Children's Literature/M.F.A. dual degree, and M.A. in Children's Literature/M.S. in Library Science dual degrees are offered at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. A number of two-credit courses are offered using an intensive weekend or week-long model.

The Carle
In collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Simmons offers all four graduate programs in Children's Literature onsite at The Carle. This includes our M.A. in Children's Literature, M.F.A. in Writing for Children, M.A. in Children's Literature/M.F.A. dual degree, and M.A. in Children's Literature/M.S. in Library Science dual degree offered in collaboration with Simmons's School of Library and Information Science program at Mount Holyoke. Founded in part by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art. The Carle is located in Amherst, in the heart of the Five Colleges area of Western Massachusetts. For more information, visit

How to Apply
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