Published: 30 November 2018

Five reasons to study English literature and creative writing at Surrey

We’re one of the UK's leading universities for English literature and creative writing, ranked in the top 10 for creative writing in the Complete University Guide 2019 and top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Here are five reasons why you should choose the University of Surrey to pursue your passion in English literature and creative writing.

English Literature

1. Taught by experts in literature and creative writing

In the School of Literature and Languages, you'll benefit from the research and expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors. Our academic staff produce internationally excellent research and creative work which inspires their teaching, offering you unique and contemporary perspectives on texts, delivered with passion and enthusiasm.

In addition to our skilled and dedicated teachers, you’ll also benefit from guest lectures from a range of published writers, critics, publishers and agents who provide talks, panel discussions and guest lectures throughout the year.

2. Professional Training opportunities

Surrey was the first UK English literature and creative writing degree to offer the opportunity for its students to take a Professional Training placement. As leaders in this area, we’ll help you make the most of your placement, allowing you to develop valuable transferable skills in analysis, reflection, communication and organisation.

Subject to availability, a placement will help to enhance your employability by giving you experience in degree-related professions such as publishing, marketing, the media industries, teaching, creative writing, or arts administration.

Previous students have secured placements with organisations such as Sony, Cosmopolitan magazine, NC Universal, Microsoft UK, IBM, Toyota (PR and Press Communication), as well as many museums, galleries, charities, PR and marketing companies.

3. A friendly and creative community

Studying in the School of Literature and Languages you’ll join a close-knit and creative community focused on bringing together the academic disciplines of English, creative writing and film studies. Your personal tutor will be on hand to provide you with one-on-one academic and pastoral support and our academic staff will help you develop your theoretical knowledge, critical thinking skills and creativity.

We hold a variety of events, including conferences, seminars and workshops hosting throughout the year, and run the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the Surrey New Writers' Festival and Surrey Poetry Festival. We work in partnership with the Guildford Book Festival to organise literary events each October. We regularly schedule guest talks from published and award winning novelists, poets and literary critics, as well as our Poet in Residence and internationally renowned Writer in Residence, the poet, novelist and film-maker, Iain Sinclair. Our students run a thriving Literary Society, organising social and subject-related events throughout the year, and our students have traditionally held editorial positions and written for the Surrey student newspaper The Stag.

4. Tailor your course to your interests

At Surrey, you can choose to study English literature as a single honours degree or in combination with another subject such as creative writing, film studies or a language. Our courses are designed to have a wide variety of flexible modules, providing you with a strong grounding in whichever subjects you choose.

While studying English literature, you’ll be able to tailor your degree with a number of specialist optional modules on specific periods and themes, from the medieval to the contemporary, and from children’s literature to American fiction.

If you choose our creative writing pathway, we'll provide you with the opportunity to gain confidence and expertise in writing in a variety of modes including prose, poetry and screenplays. We'll also encourage you to apply critical and theoretical tools you have developed in your English literature modules in order to improve as a creative writer.

5. Great job prospects

Studying on our English literature and creative writing courses will provide you with a range of valuable skills to prepare you for a variety of career opportunities in degree-related profession such as journalism, marketing, publishing, the creative and media industries, teaching, creative writing or arts administration. Employers value our students’ ability to think and write creatively, to analyse and interpret, and to communicate confidently and effectively both in writing and in speech.

Our recent English graduates have secured roles such with organisations such as Coca Cola, The Wall Street Journal, Warner Group Publications, The Handbook, Dale Carnegie Training, Livewire Public Relations, Eton College, and Tesco MPC, and have established successful careers as freelance journalists, writers for digital media, and business consultants.


Find out more about our courses in English literature and creative writing.