The idea behind the QMUL Model
The idea is to create a new type of undergraduate degree – one that prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century. We aim to create a degree that enhances the opportunities of our graduates, making sure they make the most of their time at QMUL and be successful in whatever they seek to pursue. We want our graduates to not just get a job, but to get the right job or in other ways make a societal impact befitting a QMUL student experience. We want them to have the skills, the experience, the connections that will help them excel.
The National Council for Universities and Business believes that closer collaboration between higher education and industry can only benefit both sectors. To this end one of our strategic aims is to identify ways to improve entrepreneurialism, employability and the opportunities of students studying in the UK. It’s impressive that not only does a university such as QMUL provide undergraduate students with opportunities to develop their talents but that these will form an integral part of their studies; this should result in confident Queen Mary graduates who are better prepared to make an immediate contribution to society and the workplace.
Dr David Docherty - Chief Executive Officer, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
QMUL is proud of the diverse nature of its student population and its track record as a selective university that gives opportunities to students from social groups and backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in higher education. We are keen to ensure not only that we recruit students from all parts of society, but that the education we provide sets them up for life. The QMUL Model endeavours to level the playing field, remove barriers to success and ensure that students from whatever background are equipped to flourish in and beyond their time at university.
With this in mind, while the QMUL Model involves all of the same academic rigour one should expect in a university degree, it will also provide opportunities to develop a wider range of skills, experience and knowledge. Universities have for a long time tried to give students the opportunity to develop skills for the work place, or get work experience, but the QMUL Model is different because it really embeds them in the degree programme and makes sure the student not only gets the experience or activity, but then is given the opportunity to reflect on those skills, have those skills and experience tested and confirmed, and recognised in the degree the student comes out with.
QMUL has a long established commitment to recruiting the brightest and best students whatever their family or social background and an excellent track record in achieving this. We’re delighted that the university is planning to develop this ethos further and through the QMUL Model ensure that all Queen Mary graduates are fully equipped to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them after graduation.
Dr Lee Elliot Major - Chief Executive, The Sutton Trust
What will a QMUL Model degree programme involve?
The aim is to dedicate a proportion of the degree to activities that develop those additional skills and experience. We anticipate that about 10% of the degree programme will be given over to this personalised strand. This equates to about one module per year. For this personalised strand, students will discuss their options with their academic advisor to select a pathway that suits them.
Typically, a degree programme is made up of core modules and optional modules. The personalised strand will be a core part of the degree, but the student will be able to choose from a range of activities on offer. These activities will be offered by the student’s own academic department, but also by other departments across the university. We expect a student to take some activities from outside of their home department, giving the opportunity to experience new approaches and to learn to work with groups and individuals from different disciplinary backgrounds.
Activities likely to be included in the menu of choices for the personalised strand are for example:
- relevant modules from other disciplines (multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary study) fitting within the Model themes;
- research activities – working with other students on specific projects, linked wherever possible to the research of a member of academic staff;
- community engagement through volunteering and advice centres;
- consultancy work with local businesses and other organisations;
- placements and work experience opportunities;
- mentoring or coaching of young people, e.g. raising academic or sporting aspirations and performance, and the peer-assisted study support;
- more overt transferable-skills modules, such as: languages; communication skills; management and leadership; entrepreneurship; ethics; research and writing skills.
As a graduate and a representative of students at QMUL, I am proud to be supportive of the QMUL Model. I really wish that I had experienced an initiative like this as part of my curriculum.
Carolina Mantzalos - President of Queen Mary Students’ Union, 2015-16
How will the QMUL model be assessed?
To ensure that the activities in the personalised strand are as academically robust as every other element of a degree programme, students will be assessed on the work they have done and the skills they have acquired. A key part of the learning process (and of what is likely to be assessed), will be a student’s personal portfolio. This portfolio, which will include reflections on and evaluations of the activities they have undertaken, will be portable, so students can take it with them as a record of their achievement when they graduate. As with all modules, results will be fully quality assured by exam board and external examiners, and other standard processes.
Collaborating with Queen Mary University of London to deliver this new, innovative Model is very exciting for Bouygues UK. We are proud of our ‘Grow with Us’ campaign to attract new talent to our business, which the QMUL Model complements perfectly. As well as attracting and developing talent, the Model will also allow us to contribute to and help shape the learning experiences of students via enriched work-related learning and real professional challenges.
Arnaud Bekaert – Managing Director, Bouygues UK
When will this happen?
The aim is to pilot some elements in 2016/17 and then to introduce the new model in 2017/18 to develop over subsequent years.