Creative Writing MA
Why choose this course
Our MA Creative Writing is about more than just words. It’s a pathway to self-discovery and finding your own unique literary voice, while you benefit from the experience of our published writers and academics.
You’ll engage with intriguing literary theory, writing techniques, and discover how to find your niche and engage with the publishing world. While benefitting from a focus on community and the sharing of ideas, you’ll also have access to a yearly calendar of events that will broaden your thinking and develop your writing skills such as the annual Surrey New Writers’ Festival and Surrey Poetry Festival.
What you will study
Choosing our MA Creative Writing course will sharpen and refine your research and writing abilities. Whether prose or poetry, you’ll engage with theory, practice and research that encourages lateral thought and lays the groundwork for your own ideas to develop and mature.
It could be that you arrive with an existing project in mind, but actually finish the course having been inspired by your research, with something very different and more technically impressive. This is where the experience of our published writers and academics comes into its own, including our Distinguished Writer in Residence and Poet in Residence.
You will also deepen your awareness and understanding of the cultural, literary and theoretical history of text production.
This course could be your stepping stone to a career in writing, communications, publishing, marketing, advertising, journalism or teaching, or a gateway to PhD study.
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
Academics and events
You will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors.
You will 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 include:
- Iain Sinclair
- Monica Ali
- Jaspreet Singh
- Nikita Lalwani.
- J.H. Prynne
- Robert Fitterman
- Allen Fisher
- Gilbert Adair.
- Rod Mengham
- Bernard O’Donoghue
- 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. The School of Literature and Languages also works in partnership with the Guildford Book Festival to organise literary events each October.
This course is delivered by the University's creative writing team, all of whom are published authors and poets:
- Dr Paul Vlitos, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
- Dr Holly Luhning, Lecturer in Creative Writing
- Dr Stephen Mooney, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and former Poet in Residence
- Dr Angela Szczepaniak, Lecturer in Creative Writing.
THOMPSON CE Dr (Lit & Langs)
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Year 1 (full-time)
Optional modules for Year 1 (full-time) - FHEQ Levels 6 and 7
Students choose two of the listed optional modules (one in each semester)
Year 1 (part-time)
Year 2 (part-time)
For both our MA Creative Writing and MA English Literature, we schedule all compulsory modules on one day. The other optional modules that you can choose to study are typically spread over two days.
Learning and disability
We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Disability and Neurodiversity Service
The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
Applicants should have a first or 2:1 UK honours degree, or a recognised equivalent international qualification.
As part of the application procedure, applicants will be asked to provide a portfolio of creative material (5,000 words prose or equivalent).
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall, 7.0 in Writing, 6.0 in each other component (or equivalent).
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Applicants will be asked to submit a piece of written prose in support of their application.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2019-20 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.