School of English and Languages

Welcome to the School of English and Languages at the University of Surrey. The School brings together the academic disciplines of English literature, creative writing, modern languages, linguistics, intercultural communication and translation studies.

Highlights

OUR REPUTATION

1st in the 2016 National Student Survey for English
1st in the 2016 National Student Survey for Iberian Studies
5th in the Times and Sunday Times League Table 2017 - Creative Writing
6th in The Guardian League Table 2017 - Modern Languages & Linguistics
10th in the Times and Sunday Times League Table 2017 - English 
100% Employment rate for School graduates

Monica Ali – Distinguished Writer in Residence

Read our Q&A to learn more about the critically acclaimed author’s role at Surrey and discover her top tips for aspiring creative writers.

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Surrey Morphology Group (SMG)

In 2007, Surrey’s linguists created a modern dictionary and online resource for Archi, an endangered language spoken by about 1,200 people in the remote highlands of Dagestan, Russia. The Surrey Morphology Group concentrates on some of the most complex and interesting languages in the world. Find out more.

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The Literary Legacy of Surrey

Surrey has a rich literary heritage and many well-known writers have strong links to the area, renowned for its picturesque villages and the Surrey Hills

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Centre for Translation Studies (CTS)

Established in 1982 CTS has an international reputation for innovative teaching, scholarship and research in Translation Studies.

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Clare Holt, MFA Creative Writing

MFA Creative Writing student Clare Holt shares her experiences studying at Surrey and how it led to the publication of a book of short stories, launched at the 2016 Surrey New Writers Festival.

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Global Graduate Award (GGA)

Find out more about our free language courses open to all students in the University 

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English Language Programmes

Find out more about our English Language support programme, pre-sessional courses and IELTS test centre

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Lecturer in Spanish and Translation Studies Dr Lucy Bell’s blog for the Huffington Post

Read her latest post

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Creative Writing

Ranked number 5 by The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 Creative Writing at Surrey enables you to benefit from the wide-ranging expertise and passion of a vibrant group of published authors and academics including our Distinguished Writer in Residence, Monica Ali.

 

Undergraduate Programmes

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IELTS

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Evening Language Classes

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Postgraduate Programmes

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School of English and Languages Blog

  • School of English and Languages graduate  Ellie Kerr-Smiley will return to chair a panel at the upcoming Surrey New Writers Festival on 6 May 2017.  In this blog post, Ellie writes about her experiences at Surrey and her development as a creative writer.

     

    When I first attended The Surrey New Writer’s Festival as a nineteen-year-old second year at the University of Surrey, I honestly had no idea what a writer’s festival would be. Three years and two degrees later, I’ll be returning to The New Writer’s Festival to chair the panel ‘Genre and the Novel’.Transitioning from ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ student at Surrey to speaker has been a long process that has somehow rushed by in the space of four years. Just two months after my eighteenth birthday, I found myself arriving at the University of Surrey campus, teary-eyed and blotchy-faced, and stumbled into the crumbling student accommodation I was to call home for the next twelve months (and that I would still be reminded of, four years later, whenever I catch a whiff of off-milk or damp walls). I was utterly clueless of many things when I arrived at university, but it was my literary ignorance that shone through the most in my first year at Surrey.

    Transitioning from ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ student at Surrey to speaker has been a long process that has somehow rushed by in the space of four years. Just two months after my eighteenth birthday, I found myself arriving at the University of Surrey campus, teary-eyed and blotchy-faced, and stumbled into the crumbling student accommodation I was to call home for the next twelve months (and that I would still be reminded of, four years later, whenever I catch a whiff of off-milk or damp walls). I was utterly clueless of many things when I arrived at university, but it was my literary ignorance that shone through the most in my first year at Surrey.

    By my second year, I’d begun to find my academic footing, but I was still wobbly. The best parts of my week were the Creative Writing classes that I took as part of my degree; the teaching was inspiring and thought provoking, the books were incredible and the work was challenging. However, I found myself getting confused: what kind of writer was I? What kind of writer did I want to be? Is there even any space for me, with so many other writers out there? All I’d ever wanted to do was write, but now I was lost between paperbacks and people far more talented than myself.

    Early in the second semester of my second year, I attended my first New Writer’s Festival at the invitation of my lecturer, and the festival’s director, Dr Holly Luhning, and sat in on the panel ‘Novelists on the Novel’. What struck me the most about the speakers that day were how different each of them were; how different their work was from each other’s. If there was space for their work, then why couldn’t there be space for me? I began to experiment with my work, as and I did, my writing began to flourish. I became fiercely resistant to picking a style or genre, trying my hand at all and none.

    I stayed on at Surrey after I graduated, and began a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. This time around I wasn’t wobbly or lost; I didn’t know what kind of writer I was and that was okay. I volunteered at the New Writer’s Festival that year; in the space of two years the festival had grown dramatically and it was brilliant and exhausting and inspiring all at once. I found myself talking confidently to people about my work. Somewhere, in the few years between arriving at Surrey as a shaky teenager on a rainy Sunday, and standing at the festival that day, I’d become someone who had something worth saying, about books, about writing, about herself. When people asked what style or genre I wrote, I told them ‘I don’t. But here’s what I’m working on right now.’ I lacked definition, and I liked it.

    In six days’ time I will graduate from my Master’s Degree with a distinction, and will be awarded the MA Creative Writing Award. I still write a lot. I write prose, I make comics, I experiment a lot with hybrid visual-textual narratives. Is that my niche? Do I need one at all? I’m still not sure of the answer to that, but what I do know is that I wouldn’t even be asking the question, if it weren’t for Surrey.

    On May 6th 2017, I will chair the panel ‘Genre and the Novel’, where the importance of genre and labels in literature will be discussed by a panel of novelists. Perhaps it will change my mind, but, for now, I’m very happy being label-less.

Latest news

News story

The Sphinx Swindle: The Ballashiels Mysteries Novella

A new ebook out now by our very own Stewart Ferris (MA in Creative Writing)!

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News story

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia awarded AHRC grant

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia has been awarded a large AHRC grant entitled 'Collocaid': combining learner needs, lexicographic data and digital writing environments to help learners write more idiomatically. 

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News story

Lecturer in Spanish awarded AHRC Research Grant

Dr Lucy Bell (University of Surrey), in collaboration with Alex Flynn (University of Durham), has been awarded a Research Grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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Upcoming events

Surrey New Writers Festival 2017

  • Saturday 06 May. 2017

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