The Master of Professional Writing (MPW) involves taking a core paper, designed specifically to enhance your workplace readiness, as well as elective papers which range across a variety of fields from creative writing to writing for promotional purposes and advertising, for digital media and for scholarly and professional publication.
If creative writing is your passion, then you will have the opportunity to specialise in this. The Creative Writing Thesis gives selected students the option of producing a manuscript of publishable quality – whether poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction – in a stimulating and supportive workshop environment of fellow writers, and supervised by award-winning authors. The selection of students for the Creative Writing Thesis is by assessment of a portfolio of poetry and prose, and a manuscript proposal outlining the creative project.
When studying towards the MPW you will be able to include a professional writing internship and be offered an on-campus writing mentor, who will provide professional advice and direct you towards writing opportunities.
The staff contributing to the Professional Writing programme have long-standing relationships with the broader writing community at a number of levels:
MPW graduates will have excellent transferrable skills in devising, producing and editing text. If you include a formal internship in your programme of study, or take up the option of informal professional mentoring, you will make connections in the professional writing community, and enhance your CV with relevant workplace experience.
Potential careers include editing, long-form researched journalism, policy analysis and policy writing, report writing, script writing, speech writing, teaching, website content editing, writing for digital and broadcast media, writing for stage and screen, writing for travel and tourism and writing for public relations and marketing.
Potential employers include biotechnology industries; cultural sector/arts organisations; energy provision sector; higher education sector; libraries and archives; local and district councils; manufacturing and technology; national government, NGOs; non-profit and philanthropic sector; primary industries; print and digital news media; publishing industry; telecommunications; theatre, film and broadcast media production houses; transport, tourism and travel.
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.
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, including writing, publishing, communications, marketing, advertising, journalism, teaching, or to undertake a PhD.
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 advisor 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.
This programme is studied full-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules, a professional placement, a critical commentary module and a creative portfolio project.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
A Creative Writing MFA degree builds on the work of a traditional MA but distinguishes itself in a number of ways:
For students to achieve an optimum balance between theory, practice and critical reflection, MFAs traditionally last at least two academic years and this is common practice both in the UK and the USA.
The MFA in Creative Writing is designed to assist aspiring writers to:
These educational aims accord neatly with the defining principles of Creative Writing as set out by the QAA’s NAWE Creative Writing Subject Benchmark Statement.
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 programs 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.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.