A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Children's Literature can provide individuals with an extensive background in the various elements of character, style and plotting that make up children's novels and stories. Graduates of Ph.D. programs in literature often go on to become university professors, although they are also suitable for positions in children's advocacy groups, literacy groups, research organizations or publishing firms specializing in children's books. There are a handful of schools around the country offering Ph.D.s in the subject.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers a Ph.D. program in children's literature through its Department of English. The public university actually requires graduate students interested in children's literature to apply to a Ph.D. program in cultural studies and then petition to specialize in children's literature. Graduate students at the school are eligible to take advanced seminars in children's literature, popular children's stories or cultural theory while also working on their individual dissertations. The most essential aspect of a Ph.D. program is often the dissertation paper, which can take three or more years to research, and should further study in a particular subject. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program in children's literature at the University of Pittsburgh have additional opportunities to teach master's level courses in children's literature or even design a course on childhood books for the school.

Ohio State University

Graduates of Ohio State University's Ph.D. program in literature for children and young adults have gone on to become literary scholars, poets, novelists and professors in the field of children's literature. The seminars included in the school's program cover topics such as the analysis of visual content in picture story books, ethnographic studies of children and literature, perspectives on international children's literature, gender relations in children's books and much more. The program is particularly focused on exploring how children's literature relates to educational development in elementary and middle schools. Doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation related to one of these particular issues and have it approved by a committee before they can graduate.

University of Florida

The Department of English at the University of Florida allows its doctoral students to focus their studies particularly on children's literature. Students in the program can devote extensive study to a number of topics, including children's literature and media, 20th century children's literature and adolescent literature. Students can also work with the university's graduate coordinator to design and execute their own individualized plans of study in the field of children's literature. The University of Florida also provides its doctoral students extra resources through The Center for Children's Literature and Culture, which houses a local community of faculty, researchers, librarians, teachers and media specialists. Students can take advantage of the center's many symposiums, seminars, scholarly findings and historical collections of children's literature.