Why the M(Res.)* in Children’s Literature?
*Please note that the M(Res) in Children’s Literature is exactly the same programme as the former MA in Children’s Literature! The change of title only reflects the very high level of training the MA provides to be able to do PhD research after you complete the MA degree, if you wish to go on to PhD research. The M(Res) too is a fully taught course!
This M(Res) is the oldest accredited degree in this field in Britain (founded in 1984), and its staff are all world-known, special experts in children’s literature and childhood who publish extensively internationally (for details of our unique publications, please see our staff pages). In 2014 we celebrated the Thirtieth Anniversary of this unique degree!
The M(Res.) is part of the ‘Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media’ (CIRCL), which runs our world-famous and cutting-edge research on children’s literature, culture, and media in the Department of English Literature.
The extremely popular and well-known taught M(Res.) course (1 year full-time, 2 years part-time) involves the study of a wide range of Children’s Literature, and a wide range of issues around Children’s Literature, childhood, history, culture, and media.
On the M(Res.) course, you will find yourself engaged in lively seminar discussions about anything from different cultural and historical ideas about children and reading and writing, the roles of popular fiction, film, television, and new multi-media, to the influence of ancient myth and folktale. If you would like to read an overview article on Children’s Literature and its issues by Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, the Director of the M(Res.), then you can do so on the online Literary Encyclopedia.
Your seminar leaders will guide you in your reading and thinking by giving you access to their own cutting-edge research on, for instance, childhood and changing ideas of the family (Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein), children and animals in fiction (Dr Sue Walsh), childhood and ideas of pedagogy (Dr Neil Cocks), and childhood and popular fiction and multi-media (all staff).
The M(Res.) teaching team will also offer you close personal support, and the M(Res.) staff are known for their accessibility, friendliness and supportiveness.
Students from all over the world attend the M(Res.), and successfully bring their new knowledge back to their home countries for use in their further careers or research there, as well as making friends world-wide who share their interests in this fascinating field: for example, see our web-page on the activities of our members at CIRCL-Japan.
M(Res.) Fees and Careers
MA degrees in the UK are unfortunately no longer funded by the UK government by AHRC scholarships for home students. However, it should be kept in mind that even when such funding was available, only a very few home MA students were funded in this way; the majority of home MA students have always funded themselves one way or another. We have therefore always had to work with all our students to consider how they can fund their MA study and do the degree: this is not a new situation!
Overseas MA students have never been funded from the UK and will either also need to fund themselves or obtain funding from their home country.
For information on fees, please go to the University web-site post-graduate fees page. Please note alumni of the University of Reading receive a 10% fees discount for their MA or the first year of their PhD study. There are also some University of Reading MA Studentships available, but, again, it should be kept in mind these are highly competitive and even very highly achieving students usually need to fund their MA study themselves.
MA students have gone on, or returned, to careers in teaching, (children’s) publishing, librarianship, advertising, business, and marketing. Many students have let us know that the MA has importantly enriched their capacity to understand situations in their work, and to communicate better about them, and has therefore been of benefit in that way, even when they were not working in areas to do specifically with children’s literature. For students’ reflections on the role of the MA in their further careers, see the careers page.
An Important Note on Housing
Please note that if you are coming to us to study and are looking for housing in Reading, it is very important that you carefully read the terms of your housing contract, whether you are renting from the University or privately. You need to be aware that contracts often tie you in to your housing for a fixed period and that if you wish to leave and go elsewhere you will be required to pay penalties and further costs, which may be substantial! You may also be financially penalised even if you think that you are moving due to unsatisfactory housing or because your course has finished — the costs are usually for you, and the contract will state this in the ‘small print’.
If you are not happy with an inflexible contract, you may wish to apply for housing outside the University supply, but please be aware that this is not a recommendation from us to you, as different housing is right for different people and we cannot know what may be right for you. All we can do is to remind you of the importance of checking University and private rental contracts for the details, which may be restrictive and costly. If you need help and support with this, do contact the University of Reading Student Union Housing Advisors, which are separate and independent from the University’s Accommodation Office and can give you impartial advice, or consult the Reading Student Union Lettings Agency which advertises rooms and houses for rent: http://www.rusulettings.com/
How to Apply
Please include in your online application two references and two essays you wrote during your previous University degree (not on children’s literature though), and a statement of motivation (a page or so long) explaining why you are interested in attending the MA. We ask for the essays and the statement of motivation so we can make as sure as possible that this degree is the right degree for you. Please note you do NOT need to have studied children’s literature at undergraduate or postgraduate level before in order to apply to and attend this MA!
For overseas students wishing to apply for funding in their home country to attend the MA, please note that the title of the MA officially is ‘M(Res.)’ [Master’s Research’], which is ‘a taught Master’s course that focuses on advanced study and research training explicitly intended to provide a foundation for further research at doctoral level.’ (Please note this does NOT mean you have to go on to do a PhD! Most MA students do not, in fact. It just means that this MA has been endorsed as especially able to prepare for that level of further study.)
More information on the online applications process can be obtained from the Post-Graduate Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or more specific questions about applying to this MA can be obtained from: The Director of the M(Res.) in Children’s Literature, Department of English Literature: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
My one year’s visit in CIRCL is the most rewarding academic experience that I have ever had. I found the [M(Res.)] seminars very stimulating. With “positive reinforcement”, all the participants are encouraged and involved. I am always encouraged and inspired by the discussions that were held in the seminars, which are though-provoking and very interactive, heated sometimes yet always in a very pleasant and harmonious atmosphere. I am greatly indebted to Karin, Neil and Sue for their wonder...JIANG Jianli (Tina), Associate Professor, Qingdao Technological University, China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow 2016-17
'The Children’s Literature MA has aided my development of extensive academic skills and has introduced me to complex and fascinating theoretical approaches, which can be used to question supposedly obvious or accepted ideas encountered not just in Children’s Literature but across all types of literature. However, I also feel the MA has provided me with some essential skills including problem-identifying and solving by working out the implications and effects of the claims made by others, ...Gemma Budd, CIRCL MA 2010-11
'I was nervous doing the course as a part-time student as I worried that I may be at a disadvantage. This was definitely not the case. The course is structured so well, and the support I received from [the MA staff] Karin, Neil and Sue (as well as the other students over both years) ensured that I was given the same opportunities, guidance and experience as everyone else. I have really enjoyed this degree and I can see that it has changed the way I think. I would recommend it to anyone who...Samantha Horsfield, CIRCL MA 2011-13 (part-time)
'Studying the MA in Children's Literature was an excellent introduction to and preparation for academic practice and further research as it provided me with an opportunity to engage in discussions surrounding the issues addressed by current researchers during CIRCL seminars in a nurturing and supportive environment.'Catrin Edwards, CIRCL MA 2006-7, CIRCL PhD 2010
The [M(Res)] seminars I attended in CIRCL during my one year’s visit are always inspiring and profound, which have greatly improved my research skills and changed my mindset for doing research in children’s literature. The seminars taught me to find the perspectives in the text we analysed and develop my own judgment, which is the most challenging yet most rewarding thing in doing research. From my own experience as a teacher, such seminars are most effective in forging critical and indepe...XU Derong (David), Associate Professor, Ocean University of China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow, 2016-17
Dr Haiya Dong, CIRCL Visiting Scholar 2018-19 Interview
'Studying the Children’s Literature MA at Reading was a hugely challenging and rewarding experience for me. When I began the course I had no idea how much my own thinking, reading and argument would develop, so much so that by the end I considered continuing with a PhD. A year after completing the MA I won University Studentship funding to undertake a PhD at CIRCL. I would recommend the Children’s Literature MA to anybody who wishes to develop their critical thinking in any subject area, n...Helen Ainslie, CIRCL MA 2004-5, CIRCL PhD 2006-9
'The Reading MA in Children's Literature was a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. The course is intellectually demanding and wide-ranging in its approach to the field of children's literature and its cultural context. Though it focuses on the child in literature it is not restrictive. Many of the issues raised during the course of study are pertinent to all kinds of literature. There are ample opportunities for students to engage in discussion and to make their own con...Hilary Fraser, CIRCL MA 1999-2000, CIRCL PhD 2009
'I gained much more than I had expected from the MA. The course was not just about children's literature; it led me to reconsider the way I read, think, and argue. It prepared me for my PhD research and had an influence on my whole life. I can sincerely say that the MA in Children's Literature at Reading is worth attending, even if you need to travel all the way from the other side of the earth (which is more or less what I did, as an international student).'Yuko Ashitagawa, CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2002-5
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Always challenging, the course approached and encouraged me to deal with many issues in a rigorously academic way. The work on the course was always innovative and now I can see how the course changed the way I can think about problems and solutions in both academic and non-academic contexts. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to deal with their own and other’s assumptions in a thoughtful and explorative way."Christopher Johnson, CIRCL MA 2015-2016
'With great support from the tutors and friends I have had a wonderful year in exploring and reconsidering the way I have been thinking all my life. In many ways it is my personal journey during which I have learnt a lot, not only about how to (or not to) find an answer but also about how to raise a question. As an international student I would like to say that the MA is very challenging, yet very liberating.'Sireethorn (Pam) Simawathna, CIRCL MA 2012-13
Lisa Stallard, CIRCL MA 2011-12
Sara Zadrozny (then: Sara Broad), CIRCL MA 2003-4