Childrens Literature (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.)

NFQ Level 9
1 year full-time / 2 years part-time
20 Places


Course Overview

This postgraduate degree programme offers an exciting opportunity to study a wide range of children's literature – a broad category that encompasses everything from picture books through to Young Adult fiction. Examining texts from across several centuries, the course addresses chronologies, genres, modes of criticism, readerships, publishing trends and the full apparatus of literary investigation, while exploring the unique power dynamics that arise from adult authors creating texts for younger readers. While the focus is on literary analysis, the programme also currently offers a creative writing element.

Situated in Dublin, a UNESCO City of Literature, this M.Phil programme also pays special attention to the role of the Irish contribution to the development of children's literature in English. It offers unique opportunities to engage in archival research, to explore the Pollard Collection of Children’s Books — the largest collection of children’s books in Ireland — as well as to work with the National Collection of Children’s Books.

Is This Course For Me?

This course is for you if you are interested in children's literature and understanding how it can best be used to support children's reading and learning as well as the cultural role it plays in society. There are many reasons to study children's literature, including a desire to learn more about the history and development of the genre, to gain a better understanding of the educational and psychological aspects of children's literature, and to explore how it can be used to support children's literacy and education.

Career Opportunities

Students of different nationalities and backgrounds and disciplines have successfully completed the programme since it was established in 2011. Many graduates have careers in areas such as editing, publishing, arts management, journalism, curation, teaching, librarianship, and academia. Over the years, students have worked with leading academics in the filed, attended guest lectures by local and international scholars and authors, applied for funding opportunities to research archives at Yale University and Trinity, collaborated with Children’s Books Ireland on their ‘Bold Girls’ initiative, curated an exhibition in Trinity Library’s Long Room, (see Story Spinners: Irish Women and Children's Books), created podcasts with International Literature Festival Dublin, and immersed themselves in the vibrant children’s literature community at the School of English.

Course Structure

Teaching for the course is primarily delivered through small group seminar teaching. Students taking the course part-time complete all core modules in their first study year. In their second year, they complete two option modules and their dissertation.

Course Content

The centrepiece of the course is the core Perspectives and Case Studies in Children’s Literature module, which runs across two semesters. Covering a wide range of texts and genres, contexts and concepts, it addresses some of the major trends in the writing and reception of children’s literature from across the centuries. Further foundational grounding in issues of importance to studying and researching English literature at postgraduate level is provided through the Research Skills for Postgraduate English and Mapping the Literary Field modules.
Students also take two specialist option modules, reflecting our commitment to cutting-edge research-led teaching. In recent years, the children’s literature options have included: The Victorian Child: The City and the Children's Literature: Material Culture and Children's Literature: Creative Writing for Children.

In the final phase of the course, students complete a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words. This allows students to pursue in-depth research on a subject of their choice under expert supervision and drawing on Trinity’s fantastic library and archival holdings.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Children's Literature (M.Phil.) at Trinity

Trinity's School of English runs a world-leading Master's programme in children's literature. Hear from Course Director Dr. Pádraic Whyte to learn more.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

20 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr. Jane Carroll

Closing Date

31st March 2024

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Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a good honours degree (at least an upper second or a GPA of at least 3.3). A sample of the candidate’s own critical writing (3,000-5,000 words) is also required.

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.

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Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

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Exploring the extensive Pollard Collection of Children’s Books, which is housed in Trinity College Dublin, felt like accessing a portal to the past. The amazing insight into what children of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries felt and experienced is something I will always treasure.

Brian McManus