Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL)

MACL Illustration

Illustration by Kathy Shoemaker.

The University of British Columbia offers a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) program, jointly offered by the Departments of English and Language and Literacy Education, the Creative Writing Program, and the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies. The Program Chair and administrative support of the MACL program are housed at the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies.

Full details of the program, including information for Prospective Students,  can be found on the MACL Website.

All MACL theses can be accessed through the MACL collection in cIRcle, UBC’s Instituational Repository.


The MACL program provides specialized education for graduate students in the study of children’s and young adult literature and media using a multi-disciplinary approach. It provides each student with the opportunity to study the creative writing and publishing of this literature, to examine models of sharing its rich heritage with the young, and also to facilitate the literary, social, historic, and psychological analyses of children’s literature as literature. This multi-disciplinary approach exposes students to many schools of literary criticism, educational theory, and professional and creative practice. It acquaints students with the broad literary canon of children’s literature across a spectrum of languages and cultures, and with a variety of critical perspectives and professional application. Across various disciplines, departments, and faculties, a broad range of courses provide disciplined, academic study of children’s and young adult literature and media.

The MACL Program is the only one of its kind in the world offered from such a broad, multidisciplinary perspective and the only Master’s program in children’s literature in Canada.  The program is unique in that the two faculties and the four academic units jointly provide faculty, courses, thesis supervision and committee support to give the graduate academic study of children’s literature a perspective on the full life cycle of the literature – the creation of the literature (through Creative Writing), its critical analysis (through English) and pedagogical approaches to the literature in interaction with children in schools, homes and libraries (Language and Literacy Education; School of Library, Archival & Information Studies).

Faculty in these departments are authors of both acclaimed children’s books and scholarly guides to the literature. They serve on national and international children’s book juries, lead national research studies, and have received awards for scholarship, service, and teaching.

The University Library's collections in historical and contemporary children’s books and the critical study of children’s literature are considered among the strongest such collections in an academic library in Canada, including some 4,000 early and rare children’s books and some 50,000 modern children’s books. As well, the Library maintains a large collection of research materials on children’s literature, including histories, criticisms, bibliographies, catalogues, and biographies.

Students in the MACL Program have come from China, England, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the United States, and from across Canada. The program provides specialized study of children’s books to those who are, or who intend to be, involved in teaching, school and public library services, writing, editing/publishing, theatre/film, storytelling, or affiliated fields.

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program extends beyond its four departments and two faculties in a strong outreach to the community across and outside the University. Members of all departments involved in the program sit on the Steering Committee of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable which plans a series of annual events and conferences to bring award-winning authors, illustrators, editors and publishers such as Philip Pullman, Gregory Maguire, Shaun Tan, Katherine Paterson, and Lois Lowry to speak with students and Vancouver’s dynamic children’s literature community.

Students begin the program in term one of the Winter Session (September).

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature is awarded on the completion of 30 credits of work, including 24 credits of course work and a six-credit thesis. Twenty-four credits of coursework are taken from approved courses in various genres and topics of children’s and young adult literature and media, writing and publishing for children, and courses germane to children’s literature within the departments and across the University.

The six-credit required thesis is developed according to the disciplinary perspective of the department in which the supervisor is situated, i.e., the thesis may be a literary study, a creative writing thesis, a research project involving children and books in the classroom or library, etc. The committee includes the supervisor and two thesis committee members from at least two out of the four departments in the program.

Program Start Date

The program may only be started in September.

Part-Time Studies

The MACL degree may be taken on a full-time or part-time basis.