When looking at programs, definitely look into the faculty. If you already know what genre you want to work in, it’s a great way to see if the university has people experienced in that form. Where do alumni end up? This can give a hint at the kind of training the program give. Look at the events calendar for readings. What kind of writers do they attract? This can give you some idea of the program’s reputation. It can also show you if alumni are willing to come back to present their work (I’d be concerned if they never do). It is also important to see how your work will be evaluated. Some open days have faculty in attendance, so definitely attend those. If they are present, they are often willing to send extra materials such as in depth module descriptions, which are way more helpful than the webpage. If able, see if you can find graduates of the program on LinkedIn and ask them about their experience. This can be a little scary, but in my experience most people are willing to answer a few questions, especially if you have something in common (same hometown, favorite genre/author, etc.).
Opportunities outside of the classroom are also important. See if the school has an active literary journal and newspaper. This can give you opportunities to publish your work, and great editorial experience if you join the staff. Does the program encourage internships or short placements? I don’t know what your career plans are, but whether it is publishing, writing, or business focused, work experience will help you tremendously when you graduate. I don’t know if the UK has the same stigma, but in the US there is a perception that studying English and creative writing is majoring in starvation. It’s not true (in the US, at least, humanities degrees make more money over a lifetime than tech). You’ll want to get ahead of the perception and prove your career skills while you’re in university, or even before if you find volunteer activities.
I’m sure I’ll think of more tips after I send this, but if you have any questions feel free to reply or DM me.
Have you find some universities that excited you, yet?