Why choose this course
Surrey’s MA Creative Writing is about more than just words. It’s a pathway to finding your own unique literary voice.
Drawing on the experience of our published writers and academics, you’ll engage with intriguing literary theories and writing techniques, and discover how to find your niche and engage with the publishing world. As part of our School of Literature and Languages, you’ll share ideas within a diverse, creative community and be able to attend a calendar of events that will broaden your thinking and develop your writing skills – this includes the annual Surrey New Writers’ Festival and Surrey Poetry Festival.
What you will study
Our MA Creative Writing course encourages lateral thought and will sharpen your research and writing abilities.
You may join us as a relatively new writer, wanting to experiment with a range of forms and discover your voice and genre. Alternatively, you may arrive with a more advanced project you want to develop further. Either way, the extensive experience of our published writers and academics, including our Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and Poet in Residence, will help you hone your technical ability, and deepen your 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.
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 variety 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, given by a visiting speaker and featuring 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 courses 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 taught by the University's creative writing team, who are all 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.
As a Creative Writing MA student, you’ll get use of our library, open 365 days a year, and our extensive assortment of e-publications, allowing you to access resources 24 hours a day. We also have over 100 archives and special collections, with previously unseen texts and transcripts available to you. In addition, you can use our publishing room, bookable project spaces, study areas, and computer suites. You’ll also be able to utilise our common room, surrounded by staff offices, ensuring you can access academic support as soon as you need it.
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.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
As an English literature or creative writing student, you’ll build a network of industry contacts by working alongside published writers and editors. Our courses are a stepping stone into a career in writing, communications, publishing, marketing, advertising, journalism and teaching.
Some of our graduates have gone on to start their careers in the following roles:
- Content writer
- Professional writer
- Technical writer.
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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
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, 75 and 120 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:
For both our MA Creative Writing and MA English Literature, we schedule all compulsory modules on Tuesdays with most optional classes running on Mondays or Tuesdays (some double-taught modules shared with undergraduate courses may have one group session on other days as long as the other group is on a Monday or a Tuesday).
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
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 2020-21 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.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
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 an example of 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 generally 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 and changes for the specific academic year.
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.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.