Creative Writing MA

Why Surrey?

Our Creative Writing programme will build your confidence and technical ability in composing creative prose and poetry, while also developing a deeper and more extensive critical awareness of the cultural, literary and theoretical history of text production.

The programme is designed to assist aspiring writers with honing and developing their writing skills in prose fiction and poetry. We will help you to locate your work in its historical and cultural context, and you will become familiar with the history of literary production.

The programme will equip you with the research and writing skills you will need to produce both critically informed prose or poetry and creative criticism. You will also have the chance to reflect productively on both the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it.

The MA in Creative Writing is taught by published writers and research-active academics expert in their fields.

Programme overview

The MA in Creative Writing provides a strong foundation in the core skills necessary to embark upon PhD research or a career in writing, communications, publishing, marketing, advertising, journalism or teaching.

English at the University of Surrey is a dynamic and innovative discipline, with established undergraduate and postgraduate research programmes in both English Literature and Creative Writing.

Teaching is research-led, reflecting the individual expertise and passion of the members of staff who teach on it.

As a student on this Masters, you will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors.

You will also have access to a number of conferences, seminars and workshops hosted throughout the year. These events cover a range of topics to broaden your thinking in the fields of literature, language and linguistics, cultural studies and creative writing. Writers to have recently visited the University of Surrey Surrey include the novelists Iain Sinclair, Monica Ali, Jaspreet Singh and Nikita Lalwani, poets J.H. Prynne, Robert Fitterman, Allen Fisher and Gilbert Adair and critics Rod Mengham, Bernard O’Donoghue and Barbara Hardy.

Each year’s cultural activities begin with the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture on campus by a visiting speaker and feature readings by students at the Guildford School of Acting.

The annual Surrey New Writers’ Festival and Surrey Poetry Festival – both affiliated with the Creative Writing programmes at the University of Surrey – aim to engage with writing and creativity in dynamic ways, and involve readings, book signings, performances, panel discussions and more.

Module Overview

Compulsory Modules

  • Creative Writing Workshop
  • Research Skills
  • Literary Scholarship and Creativity
  • Creative Writing Portfolio (including Reflective Critical Commentary (15,000 words in total)

Optional Modules

Students have an opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules offered by the Creative Writing, English Literature and other programmes in the School of English and Languages.

Particular strengths in Surrey’s Creative Writing programme include:

  • The novel
  • Humour
  • Genres
  • Realism
  • Contemporary and innovative poetry
  • 20th & 21st-century writing
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Theories of the body
  • Print culture
  • Publishing

Creative Writing options this year include:

  • Realism and its Critics
  • Beat Writing
  • Narrative and the Body
  • Found Materials

The wider English programme includes:

  • 19th-Century Literature and Culture
  • Contemporary Literature and Culture
  • Transnational and World Literatures in English
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Travel Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Gender and Sexuality

Other optional modules offered this year include:

  • Theorizing Gender and Sexuality
  • Identity: Marketing and Communication in Practice
  • Organisations and Written Communications
  • Issues in Literary Translation

In addition, there are options for individual student-led practice based research as part of the Creative Writing MA in our  ‘Open Creative Piece’, ‘Open Essay’ and ‘Special Author’ modules each semester, in which a student chooses a specific writing project or topic and is guided by an expert in the field. These modules are suited to students who like to work independently or to test their ability to conduct creative research independently, those who wish to study a specific author or topic in depth with expert supervision, as well as those looking to develop longer pieces of writing. They are also relevant to those students who might wish take a first stab at something relevant for further study or to gain specific knowledge useful for a particular future career.

Where appropriate, students will also have the option of choosing modules offered by the MA in Creative Writing and other MA programmes in the School.


The MA in Creative Writing provides both structure and flexibility, combining specially designed core modules with the opportunity to select further options from across the range of MA subjects and topics in Creative Writing and English Literature.

The core modules – Creative Writing Workshop, Research Skills, and Literary Scholarship and Creativity – are designed to facilitate the development of creative writing practices, texts and research, considering how texts are produced, disseminated and received. The Creative Writing Workshop, in particular, is a great environment in which to produce, discuss and develop creative work in a workshop setting with the added benefit of expert tutor (and peer) feedback.

Students will then have an opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules that focus on specific writerly styles and practices, periods, theoretical paradigms or individual authors.

Provision is in small group seminars and/or one-on-one tutorials and supervisions.


With the exception of the dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself, the 15-credit modules will normally be assessed by a 2,500 word portfolio of creative work (or equivalent for poetry), plus a 500 work reflective critical commentary.

Students will normally produce non-assessed creative work each week for scheduled class modules.

Our Creative Writing team

This graduate program is delivered by the University's Creative Writing team, all of whom are published authors and poets. We also have a Poet in Residence.

- Dr Paul Vlitos, Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dr Holly Luhning, Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dr Stephen Mooney, Lecturer in Creative Writing and former Poet in Residence

- Dr Angela Szczepaniak, Lecturer in Creative Writing

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Stephen Mooney

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 24 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £6,000 £13,500
Part-time Sep 2016 £3,000 £6,800

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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