Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

M.Phil. in Children’s Literature (M.Phil./P.Grad. Dip.)

Course Director: Dr Pádraic Whyte

Course Code: TRT 689
  • Students intending to apply for this course should click here for general details on how to apply for this course.


One year, full-time

Closing Date:

The closing date has been extended to Thursday, June 30th 2016. Candidates are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible.
Next intake will be admitted in September 2016.

What is it?

The opportunity to study a broad range of children's literature, with special attention paid to the role of the Irish contribution to the development of children's literature in English. The course is uniquely supported by the Pollard Collection, the bequest of more than 10,000 children's books left to the College by Mary Paul Pollard in 2005, and by the College deposit library. It's the only full-time one year taught masters course in children's literature in Ireland.

What's on the course?

A core course, 'Perspectives and Case Studies in Children's Literature,' which addresses a range of texts, theoretical positions and genres across three hundred years of writing in English for children; a one-semester research methods course taken in common with all postgraduate students in the School; five option courses, from which you get to choose two- The Child and Victorian literature; Tolkien; Historical novels; Writing for juveniles from Janeway to Jane Austen; Young Adult fiction; and a dissertation module, where you choose your own research topic in agreement with your supervisor.

How is it taught and examined?

Six contact hours a week from September to April: four for the core course, and two for your option. An essay to be submitted for each course; then a supervised dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words to be submitted at the end of the summer. Students are also encouraged to attend additional lectures and workshops offered by guest speakers and visiting academics. In recent years, a number of international experts in children's literature have spoken at Trinity, including Jerry Griswold, Peter Hunt, Donna Jo Napoli, Perry Nodelman, Kimberley Reynolds, Katie Trumpener, and Timothy Young.

What qualifications do I need to apply?

You should have a good honors degree (at least an upper second, or a GPA of at least 3.3). Along with supporting documentation, students are asked to submit a writing sample which should be a piece of critical analysis between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length. This can be a new piece of writing, or something submitted for another course, or something you've submitted, had graded and revised. Please keep strictly within the word limit and submit a clean copy – that is, one that has no visible marks or comments from its having been graded.

How do I apply?

Application is made through the Graduate Studies Office and not the School of English. Students wishing to find out more about the application process should follow this link, to the college's Graduate Studies page and follow the instructions listed there.

Please consult this page and the Graduate Studies link provided above (in particular those pages pertaining to applicants for taught Masters) before emailing a course director as many of the FAQs regarding fees, deadline and applications procedures are answered there.

The course directors can be contacted by writing to Amanda Piesse or Pádraic Whyte at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin or by emailing or


Michaelmas Term

Perspectives in Children’s Literature – 2 hours per week

  1. A Brief History
  2. A Brief History
  3. Theories and Methodologies
  4. Theories and Methodologies
  5. Genres 1: Theories
  6. Genres 2: Genre in Children's Literature
  7. Study Week
  8. Didactic Juvenile Literature
  9. Delightful Juvenile Literature
  10. Young Adult fiction
  11. Poetry
  12. Paper writing consultation

Case Studies - 2 hours per week

  1. Re-evaluating the ‘Classics’ – Carroll and Potter
  2. Re-evaluating the ‘Classics’ – Pearce
  3. Application of Theories – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  4. Application of Theories – The Brothers Grimm
  5. Adventure Story – R. L. Stevenson
  6. Adventure Story – E. Nesbit and Eilís Dillon
  7. Study Week
  8. Maria Edgeworth, Sarah Trimmer
  9. Margaret King Moore
  10. Salinger, Rosoff
  11. From nursery rhymes to rap
  12. Paper writing consultation

Hilary Term

Perspectives in Children’s Literature - 2 hours per week

  1. Picture Books
  2. Picture Books
  3. School Story
  4. School Story
  5. The Many Forms of Myth
  6. The Many Forms of Myth
  7. Study Week
  8. Fantasy
  9. Fantasy
  10. Film Adaptations
  11. Film Adaptations
  12. Paper writing consultation

Case Studies - 2 hours per week

  1. Shaun Tan and Maurice Sendak
  2. Oliver Jeffers and PJ Lynch
  3. Thomas Hughes and LT Meade
  4. Enid Blyton and JK Rowling
  5. Kate Thompson and Patricia Lynch
  6. TH White and Rosemary Sutcliff
  7. Study Week
  8. Philip Pullman and Conor Kostick
  9. Roald Dahl and A.A. Milne
  10. CS Lewis and L. Frank Baum
  11. JM Barrie and Disney
  12. Paper writing consultation

*Prospective students should note that both the option and core course seminars offered may change from one academic year to the next.

Course Administrator:
Brenda Brooks
Executive Officer
MPhil in Children's Literature
School of English
Trinity College
Dublin 2
Telephone: 353-1-8961839
Back to top