- Program Requirements
Admission to the MFA program 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. The application should include official transcripts of all degree work, two letters of recommendation, and, for international students, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants must 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, his/her publishing history and/or any works in progress. An interview, though not required, is strongly recommended.
Thirty-two credits are required for the MFA degree. The program consists of four academic courses and four writing courses. The final requirement is a two-course sequence in which the student works closely with a mentor to develop a manuscript from conception to submission.
The following courses are mandatory:
CHL 401 Criticism of Literature for Children
CHL 403 The Picturebook
CHL 430 Writing for Children I
CHL 431 Writing for Children II
CHL 441 Mentorship I, supervised study
CHL 442 Mentorship II, supervised study
CHL 411 Victorian Children's Literature
CHL 418 Australian Children's Literature
CHL 419 Canadian Children's Literature: Fantasy
CHL 421 History of Children's Book Publishing
CHL 424 Nonsense and Subversive Rhymes
CHL 427 Special Topics in Folk & Fairy Tales
CHL 428 The Graphic Novel and The Wizard of Oz
CHL 404A Poetry for Young Readers
CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults
CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction
CHL 419B Humor
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 436A Nonfiction-Narrative
CHL 436B Nonfiction-Expository
CHL 513 Survey of Children's and Young Adult Literature
- 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 work with two mentors to advance their creative work toward publication. Authors, literary agents, and editors serve as mentors. Recent mentors have come from:
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency
Alumni of the M.F.A. program have served as Boston Public Library Children’s Writers-in-Residence and St Botolph Club Emerging Artists. Recent M.F.A. alumni have been contracted by Simon and Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and HarperCollins. Two May 2014 graduates received the P.E.N. New England Children’s Book Caucus Discovery Award.
- 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: P310A
- Amy Pattee
- Director for the Master of Science Program, Associate Professor
- Phone: 617-521-2853
- Office: P310B
- Kelly Hager
- Associate Professor, English
- Phone: 617-521-2173
- Office: C301F
- 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.
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
Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.