Published: 10 August 2015

Why study English literature and creative writing at Surrey?

From small class sizes to the rich literary history of the local area, discover what makes the University of Surrey’s English literature and creative writing degrees different.

English literature’s history as a degree subject stretches back over a hundred years and school leavers don’t have to search long to find a university that offers it at undergraduate level. So why should you choose to study at the University of Surrey?

Explore a wide range of genres

As well as studying a wide choice of genres from different historical periods, from 19th century romantic poetry to contemporary Gothic horror, English literature students can specialise in a field of their choice in the final year, whether that’s Wuthering Heights or True Blood. It is not just about burying your head in books either - students can explore multimedia and performance as part of the course, watching films, plays, or even reciting poetry. 

Join a close-knit community

While at other universities there might be more than 100 people in a lecture, there are usually just 60 to 80 students in a year group at Surrey. According to Dr Paul Vlitos, English Literature with Creative Writing Programme Director at Surrey, the advantage of studying in smaller groups is that you not only get to know your peers better, but you also develop a closer relationship with your tutor and other academic staff. That makes for a friendly, supportive and welcoming environment to study in.

Gain real work experience

The University of Surrey was one of the first to offer English literature students the opportunity to experience the working world as part of their undergraduate programme, giving them a head start after graduation.

Placements are not just in stereotypical jobs such as teaching or journalism. English students at Surrey have undertaken publishing, PR and marketing roles for a diverse range of companies, from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and IBM to a wine tour business in the south of France.

Students return to their studies with renewed energy, enthusiasm and motivation to succeed in the course, as well the skills and mindset needed to continue their journey into the world of work. It is no surprise that 96.9 per cent of Surrey’s 2014 graduates were in work or further study six months after graduation, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). 

Learn more about our graduate employability and our Professional Training placement scheme.

Enjoy a great location

Not only is the University of Surrey a short ten-minute walk from the centre of Guildford, it’s also just a 34-minute train ride away from London and cultural attractions such as the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

“The advantage of being so close to London is that it is very easy for us as an English department to get publishers, editors, authors and poets to come down and give a talk to students,” reveals Dr Vlitos.

“We also have a big poetry festival at the end of the year where poets from all over the world come and read in Guildford.”

Watch the video at the top of this page to learn more about the rich literary heritage of Surrey and the surrounding area.

Discover more about our English Literature and Creative Writing degrees and take a look at our list of 13 books to read before you start university.

This feature was first published on 10 August 2015.

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