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.
This is an exciting, supportive and non-residency online course that offers you the opportunity to develop your writing practice at the times that work for you, wherever you are in the world.
We understand how difficult it can be to find the space and structure to develop your writing - this course makes it easy for you to adapt your weekly studies to your personal circumstances. This course is taught throughout by tutors who are both practicing creative writers and experienced teachers of creative writing at postgraduate level. The emphasis is on developing practical writing skills and techniques whilst gaining an understanding of your own work within a critical context and framework. The course consists of four 30-credit taught modules plus the Creative Writing Project (60 credit), which is the final portfolio of your creative writing. Each module offers you opportunities to experiment and develop your interests, whether these are in prose fiction, poetry, creative life writing, dramatic writing and screen writing or in using writing to work with people in personal and professional development and healthcare settings. For more information, take a look at our module descriptions. This course is available to all international applicants. Individual modules can be taken on a stand-alone basis.If you apply for this course, you must submit a portfolio of your creative writing of up to and no more than 2,000 words in any one or two forms or genres, for example poetry, prose fiction, life writing, screen writing. Please include this portfolio in your online application.
Modules offered may vary.
How you learn
The course is taught by distance learning. There is no requirement to attend classes at a set time. You can access the course space and complete the coursework at times that work best for you.
Each taught module will consist of eight weekly units. Each unit will usually consist of:
You will also receive help, support and feedback on your work directly from the tutor, both through the online course space and by email.
You don't need to be a technology expert to take this course. All you need is a PC, laptop or tablet to access the course materials and forum and share your writing with the tutors and your peers.
How you are assessed
Each taught 30-credit module is assessed against clear learning outcomes through written assignments, usually consisting of both creative work and some critical or reflective work. In addition to the taught modules, you produce a final project (60 credits) in your chosen form and genre.
MA Creative Writing graduates go on to a wide choice of professions and careers. Apart from the more obvious routes of publishing, editing and freelance writing, many work in the wider creative industries (television, journalism, new media) or in workplaces that require advanced writing skills in the workplace.
The practical and flexible design of the course means that it is also highly suited to teachers wishing to up-skill their portfolios in relation to the new Creative Writing A level; writers developing their teaching and workshopping skills to work in the community; and those using writing in therapy, healthcare and other professional settings.
If your job has a requirement to work on live briefs and projects with an imaginative or research element, you will also find the transferable skills offered by this MA a natural fit.
Although the course will help you if you want to develop a career using writing, many students take our MA to extend their skills for their own personal development and fulfilment.
The MA in Creative Writing and Education has been designed for writers of poetry, fiction and life-writing who are interested in education and learning. If you are keen to publish your own writing or you're looking to use your creative writing to help people learn or just developing your skills and knowledge then this programme could be right for you.
The MA in Creative Writing and Education offers you the chance to:
You may be given the opportunity to contribute to:
Who is the programme aimed at?
You might be a teacher who writes; a writer who works in education; a poet, a novelist, a short story writer or an author of autobiography who wants to learn more about the connections between creative writing and education.
The Spoken Word Education Training Programme is led by Jacob Sam-La Rose (Artistic Director). All Spoken Word Educators need to first apply to the MA in Creative Writing and Education programme and, if they are accepted, they will then be interviewed for the Spoken Word Education Training programme.
Full-time: you will complete 4 modules in one year plus a dissertation, amounting 180 credits – full details of the modules are in the Overview section below. This can mean committing yourself to attending evening seminars and lectures twice a week in the autumn and spring terms for 10 weeks, and a number of one-to-one tutorials for your dissertation.
Part-time: you can spread your modules for the course over two years. This could mean attending seminars/lectures once a week during the autumn and spring terms for the two years, and then spacing your dissertation tutorials over two terms.
You'll have the opportunity to develop your own creative writing practices and explore a range of educational approaches towards creative writing.
You'll work with practising and published creative writing lecturers and education lecturers in collaboration with professionals working in local cultural institutions.
You'll participate in creative and life writing workshops and research creative writing pedagogies in classrooms and educational settings.
You have to complete 180 credits points, made up from:
Practitioners who already have existing M-level credits may transfer these on to the MA.
Assessment for the Workshop in Creative and Life Writing module is by the submission of a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing of 5,000 words plus a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work.
Assessment for the Educational Studies modules is by the submission of assignments.
You'll also be assessed on a project-based dissertation.
The programme will enable you to develop creative writing skills to a potentially publishable level, participate in local cultural events as writers, and develop advanced theoretical and critical skills in creative writing pedagogy.
The programme provides and enhances continuing professional development in creative writing for educators and teachers, opening up opportunities to work with local cultural institutions and schools, and enriching current professional practice.
Previous students have helped their careers by doing this MA, going on to work in business, arts organisations, theatre, Spoken Word and diverse educational settings. Previous students include Niall Bourke who won the 2015 Costa Short Story Award, Joshua Seighal shortlisted for the National Literacy Trust Award 2015 and a number of students have published their academic research in prestigious scholarly journals.
Feedback from the students is overwhelmingly positive, with many saying doing the MA has been a life-changing experience.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.