M(Res.) Information (please note the M(Res.) is a taught MA course)

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 pgadmissions@reading.ac.uk or applications@reading.ac.uk 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: k.b.lesnik-oberstein@reading.ac.uk

Applications to the M(Res.) should be made online.

Good luck with your application!

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