Study English with us and you will develop a highly sought-after critical vocabulary.
Through analysing world-changing writing from medieval epic to the latest fiction and poetry, your English degree can take you into a wide range of careers within the media, creative industries and beyond.
An English degree also encourages you to read in new ways. By studying English at QMUL, you will become a thoughtful, thorough and active reader who thinks intelligently about both what people have written (and are still writing) and about what it means to read and interpret their work.
You will be introduced to a wide range of critical and theoretical approaches to literary and non-literary texts, and you’ll discover how history, philosophy, psychology and a range of other disciplines can inform our understanding of literary works.
Why study English at Queen Mary?
English at QMUL has an international reputation for excellence. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), we were ranked first in the UK for Research Intensity. This means that throughout the Department we are producing world-leading research. But our academics are not just influential researchers; they are also dedicated teachers who are actively engaged in presenting a diverse range of themes in an accessible, friendly way.
We are a big English department, with lots of specialist staff, so you can personalise your degree and study the topics that most interest you. You’ll have tailored staff support, including plenty of individual help and advice on your work.
You’ll also get the opportunity to take modules in creative writing, and to contribute to student publications from student newspapers to literary anthologies.
Several members of staff are stars in their own right: for example, Professor Jerry Brotton, Professor Margaret Reynolds and Dr Shahidha Bari are regularly heard on radio and seen on TV discussing their ground-breaking work. You may have seen Jerry Brotton’s series on BBC4 on the history of maps. And we host literary events, festivals and poetry readings on campus.
Teaching takes place at our scenic Mile End canalside campus and our English degree makes full use of the literary and cultural resources London offers. This includes trips to the world’s most treasured cultural organisations, such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Library and the Museum of London.
Teaching and Assessment
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. Lectures are given by our in-house experts, and can also feature guests such as industry experts, poets, curators and performers. Some lectures can also be reviewed as video podcasts. Modules may also include field trips, tutorials and workshops. These will often be free, although some trips will incur minimal costs for students, including travel within London and the purchasing of tickets to exhibitions and events (often at a group discount rate).
Most modules are assessed by coursework, often in the form of essays, but sometimes involving extended projects, presentations, log books and portfolios. Only a handful of modules are assessed by traditional exams.
For full information about life in the School and the programmes we offer, please see the School of English and Drama Website.
You can choose to apply for a four-year version of this degree with a full year abroad. We have links with universities around the world, including Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia (specific partnerships for each programme may vary).
While there are no extra tuition fees associated with these placements abroad, you will need to cover the cost of your transport to your destination and your living expenses, including accommodation.
Find out more about study abroad opportunities at QMUL.
This list gives some general guidance on which modules you will study during your degree, although these may vary from year to year. Visit our website to read fuller descriptions of these modules.
- Reading, Theory and Interpretation
- Literatures in Time: Texts and Contexts from the Eighth to the Sixteenth Century
- English in Practice
From 2017 we are introducing the QMUL Model to all our degrees. In your first year, you’ll meet the requirements of the QMUL Model through the compulsory module Reading, Theory and Interpretation: approaches to the study of English Literature. In your second and final year, you’ll be able to choose modules from the School of English and Drama, and, depending on your degree programme, the School of History, or the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, and elsewhere at Queen Mary. These modules will provide you with opportunities to develop skills related to networking, interdisciplinarity, global perspectives, and entrepreneurship. For further information on this initiative please visit QMUL Model.
In your second year, you will select one module from each of Lists 1-3 (these lists reflect the broad range of periods covered at Queen Mary: List 1 offers Medieval and Early Modern options; List 2 offers Eighteenth-Century, Romantic, and Nineteenth-Century options; and List 3 offers Modern, Contemporary, and Postcolonial options). You will also take an additional 30 credits, either from List 4 modules or by selecting an additional module from Lists 1-3.
Arthurian Literature: From Geoffrey of Monmouth to Game of Thrones (ESH283) [30 credits]
Renaissance Literary Culture (ESH267) [30 credits]
Renaissance Drama (ESH280) [30 credits]
Representing London: Writing the Eighteenth Century City (ESH288) [30 credits]
Romantics and Revolutionaries (ESH286) [30 credits]
Victorian Fictions (ESH279) [30 credits]
Architexts (ESH243) [30 credits]
Modernism (ESH213) [30 credits]
Postcolonial and Global Literatures (ESH285) [30 credits]
List 4 comprises of a wide range of optional modules. You can get a sense of what might be on offer by viewing our English module directory.
In your final year you take the English Dissertation. The remainder of the modules in your second and final years are optional, and you can choose from a list of optional modules which reflect your own particular interests.
General Admissions Entry Requirements
English Language Proficiency
All applicants to QMUL must show they meet a minimum academic English language standard for admission and to be successful on the course, to the indicated levels for the area of study. See our guidance on English Language requirements for all degree programmes.
Vocational and Other Qualifications
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (firstname.lastname@example.org) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.
Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration.
If you are taking a combination of qualifications at Level 3, we will consider your academic profile and may make offers on a case-by-case basis. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (email@example.com) before making an application so that we can give individual advice.
Subject to the policy of the programme, it may be possible for students to join undergraduate degree programmes at the beginning of the second year of a three or four year degree programme or, sometimes, the beginning of the third year of a four year programme. Please note, not all schools will consider advanced entry. You are advised to contact the Admissions team (firstname.lastname@example.org) before making an application for individual advice.
If you are applying for advanced entry on the basis of a post A-Level qualification, such as the BTEC HND, you should apply via UCAS in the usual way. If you wish to transfer your degree studies from another UK higher education institution, you will be considered on the basis of your original A-Level or equivalent qualifications, current syllabus, academic references and results.
We typically expect you to have achieved a 2.1 standard on your current programme and have already met the standard equivalent first year entry requirements. Applications must be submitted via UCAS.
European and International Applicants
Our students come from over 162 countries and we accept a wide range of European and International Qualifications for entry, in addition to A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications. Please see our International Admissions webpages for further details of our academic requirements, and information regarding how we assess the equivalence of your qualification.
Applicants will typically be expected to be taking academic subjects relevant to the programme of study. You are advised to review the A-Level and IB requirements for an indication of these subjects. If you are at all unclear, the Admissions team (email@example.com) is happy to advise you further.
For any other enquiries directly relating to our entry requirements, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office directly.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5511
See our information and guidance on how to apply.
Learning and teaching
Learning and Teaching:
We teach our programmes in a variety of ways, some traditional, some new. In your first year you will spend some of your time in lectures, which are always followed by smaller seminar groups.
Increasingly, we are making lectures available by video podcast so that you can refresh your memory of what was said and shown. All your teachers have weekly office hours and you are encouraged to make use of these for advice. We try to vary our teaching as much as possible so that you learn by encountering different situations and points of view. Many of our modules feature guest lecturers (professional writers and publishers, for example). Others make use of the unrivalled resources that London offers by taking you out of the classroom.
As you progress, you’ll spend more time in smaller classes where you’ll be expected to take more responsibility for your learning as you develop confidence and skills. But whatever the format, you’ll be taught by experts in their field who are passionate about their subject and committed to good teaching.
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways. Some modules will be assessed by traditional exams, but the majority are assessed by coursework.
Coursework can mean essays, projects, individual or group presentations, log books, oral or memorisation tests. All coursework is compulsory because each piece of coursework contributes towards the final mark for a module.
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for Home and EU students
Tuition fees for International students
You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.
Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.
For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.
See more general information about fees.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676
Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.
Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students
There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.
Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.
Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students
There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.
Find out more about international scholarships.
Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.
Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs
Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.
Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):
- A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
- A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
- Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
- You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.
Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:
- How to apply for student finance
- What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
- What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
- What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Additional sources of funding
- Planning your budget and cutting costs
- Part-time and vacation work
- Money for lone parents
For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.
Graduates from our English degree programmes go on to work in a wide variety of roles in a range of sectors, including teaching, the arts, publishing, the media, heritage and charitable organisations.
The national 2015 destination survey confirmed that 95 per cent of the School’s English graduates were in employment or study six months after graduation, with 80 per cent of this group already working or studying at graduate level.
Some of our most well-known alumni include writers Sarah Waters, JG Ballard, Conn Iggulden and TV comedy writer James Lamont.
The broad range of skills gained through our programmes, coupled with multiple opportunities for extracurricular activities and work experience, have enabled our students to move into careers in the arts, education, business and culture for world-renowned organisations such as:
- British Council
- Harper Collins
- Curzon PR
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- Historic Royal Palaces
- The Independent
- Rough Guides
Throughout the course, you have access to bespoke careers support to prepare you for graduate-level work.
A third-year module, Livelihoods in English, provides you with structured opportunities to consider and make action plans for the transition from university to working life by researching career, entrepreneurial, and further study opportunities for graduates of English, as new entrants into the world of work.
Careers support includes:
- Workshops tailored to help you identify your career options, train you in recruitment and selection methods and offer you networking opportunities. The careers programme has previously included: a journalism panel, with alumni speakers from the NME and the Huffington Post, public relations and publishing.
- Career Conversations: panels of alumni speaking about their roles and networking with students.
Online support and vacancies: a dedicated Careers section online for both English and Drama, which has up-to-the-minute job opportunities, resources and advice.
In-person support: one-to-one appointments with a Careers Consultant or Application Adviser for tailored careers advice and ongoing support.
Careers events: with over 120 employer-led events a year.
Access to opportunities: you can find jobs with smaller and specialist employers via QRecruit, in-School events and QM JobOnline.
Enterprise support: for people interested in running their own commercial or social enterprise and those already doing it. For further details, please see page visit careers.qmul.ac.uk/enterprise
We encourage you to build your work experience throughout your period of study. QProjects, our award-winning work experience scheme has a range of options open to you, from internships to part-time work, full-time jobs and volunteering.
You can also volunteer for our Students’ Union’s media outlets, which include QMTV, Quest Radio, The Print newspaper and CUB magazine.
Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers and Enterprise Centre pages.
Name: Ruth Ingamells
Studied: BA English
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
I chose to study at Queen Mary because I was interested in studying forms of narrative and exploring literary theory. I liked the wide range of topics, and the stress on coursework rather than exams.
What was the highlight of your time at Queen Mary?
The highlight of my time at Queen Mary has been the hands-on attitude to my dissertation. It by no means has been a spoon-feeding experience, but I have enjoyed the help and have greatly appreciated the advice I have been given. Overall, Queen Mary has helped me become an all-round better scholar.
How did you find life on campus?
I have really enjoyed my time on campus, especially because it means less travel. Having a campus university means it’s easier to make friends and see tutors.
What surprised you most about your course?
The wide range of topics I didn’t even know existed.
Which of the modules that you studied was your favourite?
‘Time, Narrative, and Culture’, ‘Post-Colonial Literature’ and ‘Palestine/Israel’, because I love the literature studied on these modules, and the way each one bleeds into modern political and philosophical thought.