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Course content

Why Surrey?

Our programme will build your confidence and technical ability in composing creative prose and/or poetry, while deepening your critical awareness of the cultural, literary and theoretical history of text production.

Teaching is research-led, so you benefit from the individual expertise and passion of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published authors and academics, including our Poet in Residence and Distinguished Writer in Residence.

Programme overview

The MA Creative Writing programme will hone your research and writing skills to produce critically informed prose or poetry, and creative criticism. We will help you to locate your work in its literary and cultural context, and you will have the chance to reflect on your creative process and the finished work.

You will have access to a yearly calendar of events hosted at the University created to broaden your thinking, and develop your writing skills such as the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the annual Surrey New Writers’ Festival and the Surrey Poetry Festival.

The MA in Creative Writing provides a strong foundation to embark upon a career in writing, communications, publishing, marketing, advertising, journalism or teaching, or to undertake a PhD.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and an extended portfolio.

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.

Educational aims of the programme

The MA Programme in Creative Writing will prepare graduates to undertake a PhD programme in the relevant field.

It will also provide students with the transferable skills of creative writing, critical thinking, textual analysis and communication that are attractive to a wide range of employers, from the cultural industries to marketing and advertising to tourism and leisure to the civil service and public/private partnerships.

It is designed to build confidence and technical ability in a variety of modes of imaginative writing, and to provide students with a clear-eyed grounding in contemporary and historical contexts of text production and circulation, including practical advice on the workings of the publishing industry.

Devoted to assisting students to understand and meet the challenges of producing high quality creative writing in poetry and prose, the programme also provides advanced understanding of the contexts, theoretical paradigms, methodologies and modes of interpretation that are vital in a full understanding of literary production.

The main aims are to:

  • Produce work that reflects a high level of technical ability and engages productively with its historical, cultural and literary contexts
  • Acquire sound knowledge of the major principles of literary criticism
  • Reflect on their own practice as literary critics and how this can help to improve their own creative practice

As a Master’s level programme, it also aims to instil in students the capacity for carrying out independent research.

Academics and events

As a student on this Masters, 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 the University of Surrey include:

Novelists

  • Iain Sinclair
  • Monica Ali
  • Jaspreet Singh
  • Nikita Lalwani

Poets

  • J.H. Prynne
  • Robert Fitterman
  • Allen Fisher
  • Gilbert Adair

Critics

  • 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.

This graduate program is delivered by the University's Creative Writing team, all of whom are published authors and poets:

  • Dr Paul Vlitos, Lecturer in Creative Writing
  • Dr Holly Luhning, Lecturer in Creative Writing
  • Dr Stephen Mooney, Lecturer in Creative Writing and former Poet in Residence
  • Dr Angela Szczepaniak, Lecturer in Creative Writing

Global opportunities

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.


Visit the Creative Writing MA page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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