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Academic programme

Students in a Lecture at Queen Mary

Timeline and Academic Credits

The academic year at Queen Mary is divided into two twelve-week teaching semesters (Semester A: mid-September to mid-December and Semester B: January to March) and a 6-week examination term (May to mid-June).  Study Abroad students who attend Queen Mary during Semester B (whether they are here for the full year or for that semester only) are required to be present during the exam term if their classes are assessed by examination.

At Queen Mary classes (or ‘modules’) are normally worth 15 credits per semester, though there are some modules that are worth 30 credits.  Study Abroad students normally take 60 credits a semester, or a total of 120 credits for a full year.  Queen Mary credits will be translated by your home institution into their own credit system (e.g. four credits per module for a 16-credit semester system).  As the teaching time for both semesters is of equal length, we recommend that full credits be awarded for each module completed no matter which semester you attend. This is in accordance with QMUL's practice for its degree students.

Grading and Assessment

Assessment methods vary across modules and disciplines, and can include essays, problem sets, tests, presentations, projects and exams.  Generally you will find that the number of assessments will be fewer, although no less rigorous, than you are used to at home.  Students studying at Queen Mary for the full year or for Semester B only will be assessed in the same way and at the same time as regular Queen Mary students.  This may include an examination during the May/June exam period.  The examination timetable is not usually published until the last week of the Spring Semester.  If your module is assessed by examination you should not make any arrangements for returning home before you know the dates of any examinations for your modules.

As there is no formal examination period at the end of Semester A (autumn); if you are here for that semester only you will be assessed by what is termed alternative assessment.  In some cases this will be by a written examination but more often by additional module papers/essays.  Please note that these arrangements only apply to students who are here for Semester A only; students studying for Semester B only or for the full year will be assessed in the same way as regular Queen Mary students, which may include examinations during the summer exam period.

Grades and Transcripts

The Queen Mary grading system uses five letter grades (A-E) to indicate the various levels of passes.  You may have heard that 'A' grades are harder to come by in the UK system, and this is certainly true at Queen Mary.  'A' grades are exceptional and a 'B' is considered a good grade, 'C' an average grade. 'D' is a passing grade but must be regarded as below average, and 'E' is a bare pass.  'F' indicates a fail.

Following assessment, your grades will be transferred back to your home institution.  They will be reported in the standard A-F format on a Queen Mary transcript.  Your Queen Mary transcript will be accompanied by a recommended grade conversion scale.  You should check with your home institution to find out if they translate grades into their own system or record them as given by Queen Mary.

Transcripts for students leaving December are released in February.  Transcripts for all other students are released in July.

Choosing Modules

Study Abroad students at Queen Mary can choose modules from any department provided that they fit into your schedule and that you meet any necessary prerequisites.  When selecting modules, you should check that the requirements of your home institution – it is your responsibility to ensure that you will receive full credit for the modules you take at Queen Mary.

We operate a module pre-registration process for incoming Study Abroad students.  This process allows you to pre-register for modules from mid-April (for Semester A and full-year students) or mid-September (for Semester B students).  Your module choices will normally be confirmed within a month of your pre-selection, and you will receive a complete timetable of your classes prior to the start of the semester.  You will have a further opportunity to add/change/drop modules (space permitting) once you arrive at Queen Mary.  Please note that module allocations for Study Abroad students are made on a first come first served basis, so we recommend that you pre-register for your modules early.  You will also have an opportunity in the process to indicate whether a particular module is a requirement for your degree back home.

For further information about Queen Mary modules, including details of the different subject areas you can study and a full listing of all modules on offer please check the Online Module Directory.

Add/Drop

There is an Add/Drop period of two weeks at the start of the semester to allow you to finalise your choices. You are strongly advised to use this period only for dropping modules. Adding modules after teaching has started is much more difficult, especially as you will not be accustomed to British methods of teaching and learning. You may, therefore, register for five (or occasionally six) modules initially, and drop one (or two, as appropriate) by the end of the Add/Drop period.

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