Why choose this course
We’re one of the UK's leading universities for English and creative writing, ranked top 10 in the Guardian University Guide 2018 (for English literature and creative writing) and both the Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 (for creative writing).
We have an excellent reputation for challenging, innovative, forward-thinking teaching and research in literature and creative writing. All our teaching staff are acclaimed writers and scholars as well as enthusiastic and experienced teachers who convey ideas and explain techniques enthusiastically and accessibly. If you’re an aspiring writer and a literature enthusiast, this is the degree combination for you.
What you will study
On this course you'll learn about a wide range of literature, including novels, short stories, poetry, plays and screenplays. You can tailor your degree with a number of specialist optional modules about specific periods and themes, from the medieval to the contemporary, and from children’s literature to science fiction.
Our creative writing modules will develop your understanding of the techniques used and challenges faced by the writers you study on your English literature modules. They will also help you to root your own creative work and find inspiration in the authors and literary traditions you'll be studying.
Unusually for a BA English Literature with Creative Writing course, we also offer the opportunity for you to do a Professional Training placement, giving you experience in degree-related professions such as publishing, marketing, the media industries, teaching or arts administration.
Professional Training placements
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
English Literature with Creative Writing placements
Unusually for an English literature degree programme, we offer you the opportunity to take on a Professional Training placement. Subject to availability, a placement will help you enhance your employability by giving you experience in degree-related professions such as publishing, marketing, the media industries, teaching, creative writing, or arts administration.
Some examples of organisations that participate in the scheme include:
- NBC Universal
- Toyota (PR and Press Communications)
- Brighton and Hove Independent
- Picture Production Company
- Grand Connaught Rooms
- Winning Moves
- British Council.
A Professional Training placement will give you the opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills in analysis, reflection, communication and organisation. Placements are arranged jointly by the University and the student, and although students do not always receive a salary, they are often paid a small bursary by their employer.
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
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.
Our English literature courses provide you with a range of valuable skills to prepare you for a variety of careers. English literature graduates are ideally qualified for such professions as journalism, marketing, management, communications, publishing, the media industries, teaching, writing and arts administration.
Some examples of careers our graduates have gone on to include:
- Graduate Trainee, Dale Carnegie Training
- Editorial Assistant, The Handbook
- Junior Account Executive, Livewire Public Relations
- Teacher of English, Teach First
- Editor and Marketing Executive, Warner Group Publications
- Editorial Assistant, Hachette UK
- Copywriter, Tesco MPC.
If you’d like to pursue further study, our programmes will provide you with essential knowledge and skills, as well as offering informed support and guidance to assist you in your studies.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.
You have the opportunity to spend one semester or the full academic year on a study or work placement abroad. Depending on your preference, you could decide to study in one of our partner Erasmus+ universities:
- Bamberg University
- Freiburg University
- Aarhus University
- Lyon III University.
We also have exchanges with:
- Nanyang Technological University
- Seoul National University
- Cincinnati University
- North Carolina State University
- University of Central Florida
- University of North Texas
- Texas Tech
- Northern Arizona University
- Monash University
- La Trobe University
- University of Wollongong
- University of Sydney
- Swinburne University of Technology
- And more.
If you’re more interested in a professional experience, you could have the chance to work with a partner organisation in a foreign country. If you chose to study or work at one of the European partners you may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.
There’s lots of advantages to taking part in exchange programmes. It’s an exciting experience, as well as a chance for you to enhance your academic and professional profile.
Culture and Arts at Surrey
As a BSc English Literature with Creative Writing student at Surrey, you’ll be introduced to an exciting and invigorating environment that combines conventional teaching with a wide range of opportunities for you to engage with our vibrant research culture and arts activities.
We also enjoy connections with contemporary writers through our poets-in-residence scheme, the annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the Surrey Poetry Festival and the Surrey New Writers Festival. The School of Literature and Languages regularly hosts talks by major writers and critics, as well as literary agents, publishers and other speakers of interest. Our current Distinguished-Writer-in-Residence is the prize-winning novelist Monica Ali. Both our Poet-in-Residence and our Distinguished-Writer-in-Residence offer regular writing workshops and, in the case of our Distinguished-Writer-in-Residence, one on one writing surgery sessions. The Guildford Book Festival runs every year in October, with events including talks, readings and writing workshops.
Guildford is home to a wide variety of arts venues, including the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, which puts on new and canonical plays, and a host of galleries, libraries and archives that will stimulate and support your independent studies. We’re also only 35 minutes by train from London, one of the world’s most important cultural centres. Outside of your studies and in your own time, you’ll have the opportunity to see plays at the National Theatre, the Barbican and the Globe Theatre, and to watch new films in the major West End cinemas and classic films at the National Film Theatre.
This wide choice of activities will complement your studies at Surrey, and you’ll be encouraged to draw inspiration from them in your studies.
Creative writing gives you nearly one-sixth of your overall marks in the GCSE English Language, so it's worth being prepared for the tasks and considering how to write 'creatively'.
Creative writing tasks
Depending on the exam board your school follows, you will have different creative writing tasks to do. They may be under controlled assessment conditions or in your exam. Your teacher will tell you exactly what you have to do, but your tasks will fall under the following headings:
- Moving images: writing for or about film or TV programmes.
- Commissions: responding to a set brief, such as a an opinion piece for a newspaper.
- Re-creations: taking a story in one form (like a poem) and rewriting it in another (like an article).
- Narrative writing: writing an original story.
- Writing from personal experience: writing something which is about yourself, or your life.
You will be marked according to the criteria for your particular GCSE, but these are the main things you need to consider:
- Content - what you actually say. Is it 'right' and is it interesting?
- Organisation - how you lay out your writing. Is it 'right' and is it clear?
- Accuracy - words, spelling and grammar. Are they the 'right' words in the 'right' style?
- Effect - how you create an impact. Have you grabbed the reader and made them feel what you intended?
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