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Study Opportunities

There are various opportunities to study children’s literature at Cambridge.

Within the BA

Children and Literature is a paper offered in Part II of the BA in Education . A large proportion of Education students in their final year choose this challenging but highly rewarding course.

Masters

Mphil students Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature is a specialist Master’s course leading to an MPhil in Education (full-time) or MEd in Education (part-time). This unique course combines theoretical approaches to children’s literature with empirical research. It attracts students from a wide range of different backgrounds, all with a keen interest children’s literature. Some have returned, enriched and newly equipped, to their previous professions; others have gone on into children’s book or educational publishing, library studies, teacher training, and doctoral research.

Students on this course are eligible for the Jacqueline Wilson Award, awarded annually for an outstanding Masters thesis in children’s literature.

Visit the Faculty pages for more details on the course, or contact Professor Maria Nikolajeva [mn351@cam.ac.uk].Culture and texts.

PhD

The centre is home to a growing number of PhD students. Many have progressed through the MPhil PhD student reading picturebookin Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature (an excellent grounding for doctoral research), but the centre welcomes applications from any prospective doctoral students with appropriate qualifications and research interests. Current PhD students have been successful in securing ESRC and AHRC scholarships; for more information about potential sources of funding, see the Cambridge Board of Graduate Studies.

The centre provides a superb environment for PhD research: In addition to the wealth of resources provided by the Cambridge Libraries and top-class supervision, there is a highly active scholarly community and a stimulating programme of seminars. Regular group meetings with doctoral students and visiting scholars provide opportunities for sharing work, debating key and current issues in children’s literature – and celebrating successes.

Visit the Faculty pages for more details on the PhD Programme or contact Professor Maria Nikolajeva [mn351@cam.ac.uk].

Previous students say...

"This is probably the most exciting time to be doing a PhD in Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge. You will be supervised by people whose names appear on the covers of most academic books you’ll borrow from the library, and you will end up meeting many other experts now and then at conferences or when they come to visit. Thanks to the newly created Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children's Literature, you will be a part of an international pole of English-speaking research in children’s literature.

But it is also a small and friendly community where everyone knows everyone, shares academic interests, books, informal chats, and cheese and wine at the end of research seminars. Because the discipline is still relatively young and the supervisors completely open to new ideas, you will be truly able to use your imagination, tackle big issues in current theories, and even formulate new ones – in other words, your thesis won’t have to be on uses of the semi-colon in an obscure sixteenth-century self-published novella (unless you really want it to be).

Regular meetings with other PhD students are organised, in which you will be encouraged to share your research and think creatively about the many outstanding questions in children’s literature criticism. Meanwhile, the graduate community at the Faculty of Education is one of the biggest, most dynamic in Cambridge, frequently organising conferences, lunch seminars and trips to other universities, not mentioning parties. From both an academic and a social point of view, it is an amazingly rewarding graduate course." Clementine Beauvais (BA, Masters, PhD)

"I joined the Cambridge-Homerton Centre for Children's Literature as an MPhil student in 2012 after completing my undergraduate and postgraduate education in English Literature from India, my home country. Coming from a place where a comprehensive academic study of Children's Literature had yet to take off, I was eagerly looking forward to my new experience at one of the world's finest institutions. And what an experience it has been! From being introduced to a range of genres and sub-genres, themes, issues and methodologies specific to the field, to carrying out a large scale project on fantasy literature (my chosen genre of expertise), the MPhil programme provided me with the best of everything. The seminars were thought-provoking, the assignments inventive, the resources extraordinarily unending, and the supervisions skillful and productive. My fondest memory however remains that of working within an environment of care, joy, creativity and interdisciplinarity. I will never forget that the world's foremost authorities in the discipline are also some of the humblest people I have ever met. It is my good fortune that I could return to the Centre to pursue my PhD, and I hope that just as this place gave me so much, I too one day can reciprocate its many rewards and gifts." Siddharth Pandey (Masters)

"I loved my time on my masters, and it's undeniably been useful in my job. I work in children's publishing, in publicity. I'm currently the Children's Publicist at Faber Books, having spent the last year and a half as Junior Press Officer at Walker Books. In that time I've attended literary festivals, managed campaigns, organised launches and run book tours. I've been the publicist for Shirley Hughes, Anthony Browne and Allan Ahlberg among others, and my job is different every day - as you can see from my photo! On top of that my masters qualification offers other opportunities; my background means I review children's books for three magazines and I also chair children's book events at literary festivals. I'm now moving on the next exciting step, but my previous manager has told me before that it was my masters that clinched me the first job." Hannah Love (Masters)

“Doing the course "Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature" was a truly rewarding and challenging experience for me. Discussions in a surprisingly informal atmosphere at weekly sessions were always though-provoking and inspiring. What I found most exciting about writing essays was that it involved a lot of independence and free space for you own choice on what and how to write, of course not without top-notch supervisor’s guidance. The course provided me with wonderful background for my further career." Aliona Yarovaya (Masters)

“At "Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature" you not only learn to work with children’s fiction and picturebooks professionally, but also gain such crucial skills as working independently, managing your time effectively and, above all, being a responsible team player in the tight children’s literature community.” Helen Jameson (Masters)

Quotation from AA Milne