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.

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

Admission requires a baccalaureate degree preferably with a major in English and American and/or comparative literature from an accredited institution. However, the program is also open to students with majors in elementary or secondary education, fine arts, or social sciences who have done substantial work in English. Applicants must also submit official transcripts of all degree work, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume, and, for international students, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). An interview, though not required, is strongly recommended. Admission deadlines are rolling for all three semesters. Part-time students must agree to complete the degree requirements within five years of registration as degree candidates. A maximum of four semester hours of transfer credit will be allowed toward the degree.

Degree Requirements

Thirty-six credits are required for the degree. The following four courses are mandatory:

CHL 401 Criticism of Literature for Children
CHL 403 The Picturebook
CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults
CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction


History Elective
CHL 411 Victorian Children's Literature
CHL 418 Australian Children's Literature
CHL 419A Canadian Children's Literature: Fantasy
CHL 424 Nonsense and Subversive Rhymes
CHL 427 Special Topics in Folk & Fairy Tales
CHL 428A The Graphic Novel and The Wizard of Oz

Genre Electives
CHL 404A Poetry for Young Readers
CHL 415 The Whole Book Approach
CHL 419B Humor
CHL 420 Thesis, supervised study
CHL 421 History of Children's Book Publishing
CHL 422 Editing the Children's Book Manuscript
CHL 429A Rereading Race in Classic Children's Literature
CHL 429B The Girl Reader, 1868-1908
CHL 429C Culture Matters in Children's Literature
CHL 430 Writing for Children I
CHL 434 The Child and the Book
CHL 436A Nonfiction-Narrative
CHL 436B Nonfiction-Expository
CHL 450 Independent Study, supervised study
CHL 451 The Reviewer
Summer Symposium and Institute

Customize Your Program
You'll work with a faculty advisor to tailor your program to your interests and career goals.
    Cathryn Mercier
    • Cathryn Mercier
    • Professor, Director of the Children’s Literature Program, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature
    • Phone: 617-521-2541
    • Office: C313
    Amy Pattee
    • Amy Pattee
    • Associate Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2853
    • Office: P310B
    Megan Lambert
    • Megan Lambert
    • Senior Lecturer
    • Phone: 617-521-2576
    • Office: C310E
    Kelly Hager
    • Kelly Hager
    • Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2173
    • Office: C310D
Eric Carle Museum

Programs at the Eric Carle Museum
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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