Creative Writing MFA
Why choose this course
The MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Creative Writing programme at the University of Surrey is a two-year, full-time course of study that offers you a unique opportunity to enhance your creative, critical and professional skills as a writer.
Teaching is research-led, so you will be mentored by passionate, dynamic writers and academics with multidisciplinary expertise, as well as our Distinguished Writer in Residence and Poet in Residence.
What you will study
Our MFA Creative Writing programme will expose you to the practical skills and challenges involved in a specific branch of creative practice (such as poetry or screenwriting) and offers the option to gain hands-on experience in a creative industry relevant to your own practice, to better prepare you for a wide variety of careers.
In your first year, you will study alongside students in the MA programmes in Creative Writing and English Literature, where you will hone your research skills to produce critically informed creative work and deepen your practice as a writer. To prepare for your second year, an academic adviser will offer guidance on choosing an appropriate form of Situated Professional Practice and your summative creative portfolio proposal.
During your second year you will work on producing an extended creative portfolio and critical commentary, as well as complete the Situated Professional Practice of your choice.
|Qualification||Study mode||Course length||Placement||Start date|
|MFA||Full-time||24 months||October 2018|
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
As a student on the MFA Creative Writing, you will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of academics and published authors.
You will also 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 the University of Surrey include the novelist Monica Ali and the poet and critic Rod Mengham.
Each year’s cultural activities begin with a 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 – affiliated with the creative writing graduate programmes at the University of Surrey – aims to engage with writing and creativity in dynamic ways, and involves readings, book signings, performances, panel discussions and talks by writers, thinkers, editors and literary agents.
The year’s activities culminate in the annual Morag Morris Poetry Festival, held in Guildford, which combines readings and performances by prominent, innovative and up-and-coming poets with the opportunity for Creative Writing students to present their own work in public.
This event is organised and hosted by our poet-in-residence – a position that is held by a different poet each year. English at Surrey also has a close relationship with English PEN, the charity dedicated to promoting literature and human rights.
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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.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
Year 1 (full-time)
Optional modules for Year 1 (full-time) - FHEQ Level 7
Choose 4 of 17 listed optional modules. Where appropriate, students will also be able to choose optional modules (also 15 credits each) from other MA programmes in the School, including English Literature.
Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Policies and regulations
Learning and disability
We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.
Student Personal Learning and Study Hub
SPLASH 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.
Additional Learning Support
ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.
The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.
See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.
Applicants should have a first or 2:1 degree (or equivalent) and will be asked as part of the application procedure to provide a portfolio of creative material (5,000 words prose or equivalent). In exceptional cases, students with a proven commitment to creative writing but no first degree may also be admitted.
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. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
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.
|Study mode||Start date||Placement||UK/EU fees||Oversees fees|
Please note these fees are for the academic year 2018/19 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.
Scholarships and bursaries
Discounts for Surrey graduates
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Asylum Seeker Bursary 2018 entry
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"The English department staff at Surrey are all published novelists, poets and academics, and their critical evaluation on work is both ruthless and invaluable."
"I'd recommend the course to someone who wants to learn to write more effectively. It has improved my writing and allowed me to keep exploring and refining my voice."