Children's Literature & Literacies MEd

A girl reading a book

This programme is the only programme in Scotland dedicated to children’s and young adult’s literature as a primary resource and a field of academic study. You will develop a specialisation that is highly valued in professions such as education, library services and children’s media.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The programme gives you the opportunity to take a literary and critical stance to well-loved texts, as well as to contemporary authors whose texts push the boundaries of children’s literature.
  • The programme takes into account new developments in the production of texts for children using multimodal forms and digital technologies.
  • You will also discuss recent theories of language and literacy development and consider how they can be supported by traditional and multimodal texts for children.
  • You can balance your study commitments with a full-time role, and tailor research projects to provide the maximum relevance and benefit for your work.

Programme structure

You will take five core courses, one optional course and produce a dissertation based on a specialised topic.

Core courses

  • Reframing language, literature and literacies for 21st century life
  • Texts for children: from the printing press to virtual reality
  • Introduction to educational and social research
  • Modern educational thought
  • Children's literature and literacies: critical enquiry
  • Professional enquiry.

Optional courses

  • Texts for diversity: language across learning for children with English as an additional language
  • Texts for children: visual and multimodal
  • Further options may be drawn from courses offered on the MEd in Educational Studies.

Background and aims

This is a new programme and is currently the only Masters programme in Scotland that focuses on Children’s Literature and Literacies. The programme has been designed to introduce participants to the potential of Children’s Literature studies and critical literacies building on any previous experience participants may have either as a student or a professional. It has also been designed to take into account new developments in the production of texts for children through multimodal forms and digital technologies.
Scotland is an ideal place to study children’s literature and literacy. This country is the birthplace of many famous writers who have published for children such as Robert Louis Stevenson, James Barrie, George McDonald and Naomi Mitchison and of award-winning contemporary children’s authors such as Mairi Hedderwick, Theresa Breslin, Cathy Forde, and Joan Lingard. Scotland has also been adopted by current authors such as J. K. Rowling, Julia Donaldson, Anne Fine and Nicola Morgan.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is designed for for specialists with an interest in education, library services, English and Scottish Literature and others focused on a professional and academic perspective in children’s literature and literacies. It includes an educational research core, allowing students to conduct research projects in work and future study. Because of the likely ongoing professional duties of many course members, courses are designed for completion mainly through Saturday study days or evening and online activities.

What will you get from this programme?

From this programme students will gain:

  • A chance to extend knowledge by developing a critical awareness of children’s and young adult literature as a primary resource and a field of academic study;
  • A space for developing and evaluating appropriate methodologies for research-based enquiry in your chosen specialist area;
  • Opportunities to reflect on changing literacy practices and approaches to textual analysis and how these impact on current pedagogical policy and strategy;
  • Practise in dealing with complex issues related to the field which will enable you to demonstrate initiative and actively contribute to the communities in which you work;
  • Preparation for further academic study.

Introductory Reading

If you have a chance to do some reading before beginning your programme, any one or more of the following books will be useful as background:

  • Beckett, S. (1997) Reflections of Change: Children’s literature since 1945, Greenwood Press.
  • Gamble, N.  and Yates, S. (2008) Exploring Children’s Literature 2nd ed. , Sage.
  • Gee, J. P. (2007) What Video Games have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hilton, M., Styles, M. and Watson, V. (eds) (1996) Opening the Nursery Door: Reading, writing and childhood 1600-1900, Routledge.
  • Hoffman, J. V. and Goodman, Y. M. (2009) Changing Literacies for Changing Times. An Historical Perspective on the Future of Reading Research, Public Policy and Classroom Practice, Routledge.
  • Hunt, P. (1991) Criticism, Theory, and Children's Literature, Basil Blackwell.
  • Meek, M. (1990) On Being Literate, Bodley Head.
  • Stephens, J. (1992) Language and Ideology in Children’s Fiction, Longman.
  • Styles, M. (1998) From the Garden to the Street: 300 Years of Poetry for Children, Cassell.
  • Zipes, J. (2001) Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter, Routledge.

What our students say

"With this degree you can become one of those fantastic people that help other people realise how important children's literature is, that it IS literature and that it should be used in schools! Also, you could work in a children's bookshop, do a Phd, or increase your opportunities to work as a teacher or publisher because of your extra knowledge about children's literature. It's great!"
Margot Van Dingenen, 2013

"I decided to study at Glasgow because it offered a course I was particularly interested in, and I felt I wanted to move to a new city with something different to offer. The university has a great history to it and is a completely different type of university to where I did my first degree, so I thought it would broaden the scope of my experiences as a student.

I chose my programme of study because it was a unique course, very few places in Scotland offer anything on Children's Literature - and a closer look showed me that the staff were experts in their field and conducting relevant research all the time, which meant they would pass on a lot to myself and other students during our course.

Studying at the School of Education broadened my horizons - the diversity of student backgrounds enhanced my appreciation of different points of view, and how different issues are approached by different cultures. The emphasis on learning through discussion and sharing helped with my understanding of issues and it felt like a great community.

My favourite aspect of my studies at Glasgow was having the chance to work with experts in my subject and learn from them, as well as hearing such a wide variety of views on our discussion topics. I really learned a lot from my classmates as well as my tutors!

Academically I feel that I was given as much support as I needed, and this showed in my grades which went up as the year went on. Tutors were helpful in letting us know what was required of us in assignments, and identifying areas we could improve on. Feedback was detailed and tutors made themselves available for meetings or advice whenever possible.

I didn't use university facilities as much as I probably should have. However the library does hold a huge stock of books; I could spend years there going through all of the relevant information.

My programme has made me more employable through helping me learn more transferable skills and allowing me to identify more of my strengths and weaknesses, and gave me the tools to address these. I have had more interest from employers than when I only had my undergraduate degree, and I entered full-time employment as soon as I finished my dissertation. I am a lot more focused on what I want to do career-wise than I was before my masters.

Glasgow is a vibrant city with loads to do - especially if you like eating, drinking, music and partying. There are many nice places to enjoy a quiet drink and a lot of cultural attractions – trips Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Riverside Museum were two of my favourite days out.

For a potential student, I would recommend visiting the School if you can and meeting the people who run your course. You need to make sure it is definitely the course for you, as it is a big investment not only financially but with your time too. I spent far more time reading, writing and researching during my masters than in my previous course and you have to be prepared to have a quiet year socially if you are to get the most out of it. But enjoy it! Once you know it's what you want to do you will have a great year learning about something you are passionate about and eventually researching, potentially making a difference in that field."
Mairi Thomson, 2012

"This programme has challenged my thinking about literacy, it has also transformed my classroom practices with children and young adults."
Emma McGilp, 2012

"This course has reignited a fire within me, a passion for children's literature like I never knew existed"
Samantha Stewart, 2012

Academic staff

Dr Evelyn Arizpe, the Programme Coordinator, has been the recipient of various research grants and awards, including from the International Reading Association, The Spencer Foundation, the United Kingdom Literacy Association, the Lilly Library Helm Fellowship, Indiana University Bloomington and the North America Children’s Literature Association. She has been a Keynote Speaker at international seminars in Spain, Denmark and Mexico, among other places.

Dr Maureen Farrell is a Senior Lecturer and has previously been the Associate Dean Initial Teacher Education and B Ed Programme leader. She is currently an Academic Development Fellow of the University and is part of the team recently awarded a grant by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. She has presented at international conferences on both Children’s Literature and on teacher education topics.

Julie McAdam has worked in various international settings to develop teacher education programmes with an English as an Additional Language (EAL) focus. She is currently leading a teaching and learning development fund team that looks at increasing the efficacy of mentoring students on placements and is part of the team working on the Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation project. She has presented at international conferences on teacher education and Literacy development.

Career prospects

This programme is an excellent source of professional development if you’re already working in education, library services and children’s media, or are looking to move into these areas.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.5
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 23
    • Listening:23
    • Speaking: 23
    • Writing: 24
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 176
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 64 overall;  no sub-test less than 62
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's English for Academic Study Unit offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18


Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
Part time 20 credits£806
Full time fee£16000

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MEd. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Postgraduate Admissions
Marketing, Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now