"Children's Literature Programs in the United States," by Emily Matthews

Children’s literature sets the tone for a child’s future enjoyment of reading. Though a degree in children’s literature by no means is the gold standard by which writers should be judged, anyone who has pursued their craft in their higher education will tell you that intensive study can absolutely change the way you look at the world as your work. If you’re interested in learning more about masters degree programs in children’s literature, read on!

MA in Children's Literature at Simmons College

The Simmon's College Master's in Children's Literature offers an intense, interdisciplinary approach to the art. Students take a critical and historical approach to children's literature, and are asked for a wide range of interpretations such as feminist, marxist, and post-colonial. Classes include Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Folk and Fairy Tales, just to name a few.

Some students choose to finish the program in one year, but most decide to take five or six semesters to finish. At Simmons, students can also enroll in the "dual degree program," in which they can complete their masters degree in Children's Literature in addition to an MFA in Children's Literature, a Teaching Certification, or a degree from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science

MFA and MA in Children's Literature at Hollins University

Hollins University offers a creative program designed to make your work publishable and unique. The program always has a writer-in-residence. For 2012, Nancy Willard will take the position. She is the author of William Blake's Inn, as well as many other works. The program also provides students with a lecture series and visiting writers to stimulate creative work and productive discussion.

For the Hollins MFA, students must take ten courses, each of which are worth four credits. The MA students must take eight courses, also worth four credits each. For the final thesis project, MFA students will present an original work of fiction, poetry or drama. MA students must produce an extended work of critical analysis.

MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College

The Vermont College MFA brings students to the picturesque forests outside Montpelier, Vermont. Most of the program consists in independent study projects, in which students work with faculty outside class. This is possible because there is a small student-to-faculty ratio (5:1). The college's writer-in-residence program is vibrant; this year they will have David Macaulay.

At Vermont College, students can complete their Children's Literature degree at the same time as an MFA in Writing degree. Additionally, the program publishes a literary journal, "Hunger Mountain," to provide professional experience in the publishing world.

Those interested in pursuing children’s literature at the graduate level have ever more choices than those above. Keep researching, and you’re bound to find a program that fits all your needs perfectly.

Emily Matthews is currently applying to master’s degree programs across the U.S., and loves to read about new research into health care, gender issues, and literature. She lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.