Compose the Literary Future

Cultivate a unique place in the landscape of children’s and young adult literature. Synthesize contemporary literary theory and your creative practice.

Highlight critical analysis – including gender studies, ideology, narrative theory – to position your own voice as a writer for today’s young readers. Draw on an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates art, history, education, sociology, psychology and media studies as illuminating perspectives. Test your creative mettle across genre – from picturebooks and beginning readers for the youngest audience to contemporary realistic fiction and fantasy for young adults.

Immerse yourself in The Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons to discuss craft and criticism with critics, editors, authors, and illustrators at the summer institute. Attend events with The Horn Book and Children’s Books Boston. Indulge in the Boston Book Festival, PEN-New England, Grub Street, and the active writing community of Boston.

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).

Applicants must also submit a writing portfolio not to exceed 20 pages as well as a statement of purpose that reflects on their writing process. This statement should address the applicant's goals as a writer, their publishing history, and/or any works-in-progress.

An interview is strongly recommended, though not required. Admission deadlines are rolling for all three semesters.

Degree Requirements

This dual degree program that combines the Master of Arts in Children's Literature with the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children is composed of 36 credits of core courses and 20 credits of electives

  • 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)
  • CHL 421 History of Children's Book Publishing
  • CHL 430 Writing for Children I
  • CHL 431 Writing for Children II
  • CHL 441 Mentorship I, supervised study
  • CHL 442 Mentorship II, supervised study
  • Four credits of history coursework drawn from general electives
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 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) (g)
  • 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 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.
Internships and Research
Our students take advantage of internships in Boston and beyond, building their skills and resumes and learning from mentors in their fields. Students have interned at publishing houses such as Delacorte, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Scholastic, Penguin, David Godine, and St. Martin's; at a variety of literary agenc​ies in Boston and New York; and at advocacy groups, such as Reach Out and Read and the Boston Book Festival. Some students also seek professional internships with local schools and libraries.
Faculty
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 www.carlemuseum.org.

How to Apply
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