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School of English and Drama

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Frequently Asked Questions

"What are your entry requirements?"

We typically require AAB - ABB grades at A Level (or an equivalent qualification), with an A in English Literature / English Language and Literature. In addition, we welcome well-motivated candidates with non-standard qualifications who demonstrate achievement in literary study. See here for more details of our entry requirements.

"Do you take GCSE’s and AS levels into consideration?"

We are interested in your performance at GCSE and AS level, but we do not take them into consideration as part of our standard offer.

"What about the EPQ?"

The EPQ is a great way of developing, and demonstrating, your skills in independent research. We value the Extended Project and are able to make alternative offers to candidates taking this qualification.

"What if I don’t quite meet my offer?"

We cannot guarantee a place to anyone who does not meet their offer. However, if you miss your offer by a narrow margin, and if we really think you’d be right for our degree programme, then it is sometimes possible that we may still be able to give you a place, if any are available.

"Do you look down on those with retakes?"

We never look down on anyone! Doing a retake shows enthusiasm for that particular subject. You have to be sure that second time around, you will actually be able to make some improvement and that you are capable of obtaining a higher grade.

"Do you meet all your applicants?"

We invite all our applicants to come to a post-offer open day at Queen Mary to meet us and get a flavour of studying here. These days will typically include a ‘taster’ lecture, a chance to meet our current students, and you’ll have the opportunity to discuss studying at QM with a member of our academic staff. We want you to get to know us first hand, and help you decide whether English at Queen Mary is right for you.

"How well is the English department regarded?"

The Department of English at Queen Mary University of London is one of the country's leading centres for literary study. Our research is internationally recognised, and we were ranked 5th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF). It is in recognition of Queen Mary's excellence in teaching and research that we were invited to join the Russell Group of leading UK universities. We also do well in national university rankings: English at Queen Mary is ranked 9th nationally by The Times Good University Guide 2013 [Paywall], and both the Guardian University Guide 2014 and the Independent's Complete University Guide place us in the top 20. This is mirrored in the experience of our students: in the 2015 NSS, 97% of our students praised our teaching.  

"What kinds of career opportunities would I have?"

Queen Mary has an excellent record for graduate employment.  

Employers regard the English degree as intellectually rigorous, and the skills which you will develop as an English student are transferrable to many different fields. Our students embark on a vast range of careers. Some work in business, government and public policy, charity, non-governmental and arts organisations. Publishing, print journalism, and the broadcast media are all popular choices for English students who want to use their communication skills. Others use their ability to write critically and persuasively to go into public relations, marketing, and advertising. In addition, many of our graduates embark upon professional careers in finance, management, law, and teaching; whilst every year the Department sees a number of students progress to take higher degrees, both at Queen Mary and elsewhere.

For additional information visit the website for Queen Mary’s central Careers Service, where you can also find information about our students' work experience opportunities.

"What is your policy on mature students?"

If you are a mature student with no formal qualifications appropriate to the degree you wish to study, you are required to pass an Access to HE Diploma in a Social Sciences, Humanities, or Cultural Studies programme. For more detailed entry requirements for mature students please visit our entry requirements section.

"Can I study abroad during my time at Queen Mary?"

Yes. Queen Mary offers you the opportunity to apply to join the undergraduate exchange programme, enabling you to spend a semester at a university abroad. You may only take part in the exchange programme in your second year. If you take one of our joint honours degree programmes with a language, your degree lasts for four years, and you spend your third year abroad (for example, if you take the BA English and French degree, you’d spend your third year in France).

"How many students do you take per year?"

We recruit around 200 students for our single honours English degree programme as well as around a further 65 students for our joint honours degrees with English. Our students are extremely diverse, ranging from across the UK, to Europe and the rest of the world.

"Can I make an appointment to meet with someone from the department?"

Queen Mary runs various Open Days and Campus Visit Days throughout the year. We encourage you to attend one of these where you will be able to meet members of our academic team. If you submit an application to us and we ask you to attend an interview, you will also be able to meet and talk to members of our academic staff. Throughout term time, though, it can be quite difficult to arrange a meeting with a member of our academic team as they having teaching and various other commitments. Please contact our admissions administrator in the School of English and Drama (020 7882 8571, sed-admissions@qmul.ac.uk) should you have any degree or admission related queries.

"How many hours per week will I be in university?"

For your first year of study you are required to attend lectures and seminars for a total of 10 hours per week; sometimes slightly more. This is scheduled for various days and applies to both semester one and semester two. This pattern is broadly repeated in your second and final year. You will also spend additional time, on an occasional basis, in one-to-one meetings with tutors, in research and writing workshops in collaborative work with fellow students, and so on. In addition to the classes you attend, you are expected to spend at least a further 4-6 hours per week per module on independent study. So if you are taking four modules in a semester, each week you will be attending classes for 8 hours, and spending another 16 to 24 hours each week on independent study, and preparing and writing your assessments.

"Are there a lot of exams?"

The majority of our modules are not assessed by a formal exam. There are two first year modules that do include an exam as part of the assessment methods, and a couple of optional second year modules that also include an exam. But the majority of modules are assessed by a wide variety of different sorts of assignments, such as bibliographic exercises, seminar presentations, short essays, and learning journals. These assessments are tailored to develop your skills of research, critical thinking, analysis, and the presentation of ideas and argument, in preparation for what is usually the major form of assessment for most modules – the long research essay. In your final year, you will also write a dissertation. If you are taking one of our joint honours degree programmes (for example, English and History), you may find that there are more exams in your other subject.

"What kinds of student opportunities are there within the department?"

The Department of English offers students lots of opportunities to get involved. You could be elected as a student representative for your year. This means you can raise issues and discussion at the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) meetings, attended by student representatives and members of academic and non-academic staff. It’s a way of getting your voice, issues, and concerns heard! Becoming a student ambassador is also something you may wish to add to your CV. Ambassadors help out on our open days and also at various other functions we hold. We also have a peer mentoring scheme, so perhaps you could apply to be a student mentor (though this is usually in your second and final year). Again, this looks great on your CV. In addition, students from the Department of English are very involved in student journalism (particularly on the College magazine, Cub), activism, and in running various Societies.

"What if I need help and advice while I’m a student?"

You’ll be assigned to a Personal Adviser as soon as you arrive to begin your degree with us. This will be a member of the academic staff, who is there to help to guide you through your degree, advising you on academic pathways, and module choices. They are also your first point of contact if you have any problems, and they can refer you to the comprehensive range of student support services at Queen Mary, such as the Advice and Counselling Service, Careers, Disability and Dyslexia, etc. The School of English and Drama also has a team of administrators, including a dedicated Student Support Manager, who can provide day to day help and advice on a wide range of topics.
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