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Our teaching

We are always looking for ways to improve our teaching, and continue to perform well in the National Student Survey, an annual survey of UK university teaching. Here we take you through a few of the features that make Queen Mary’s teaching distinctive.

Modular degree structure

Many of our degree programmes allow students considerable flexibility through their choice of modules. In addition to the core and compulsory modules associated with your degree programme, and timetable permitting, you can choose subjects from other schools and departments, for example, a Film Studies student may choose to take a couple of History modules. The modular structure gives you the freedom to design a programme of study that reflects your individual interests.

You choose your modules in consultation with your Personal Adviser, who is also responsible for signing your module selection form.

Teaching methods

You will experience a variety of different teaching methods during your time at Queen Mary. A few of the most common are listed below:

  • Group lectures – this is one of the most effective ways of getting information across to a large number of people – some lectures are attended by 300 people. Each lecturer has a different style, for example some will use slides and a projector or a whiteboard, while others will simply talk. You are advised to take notes during lectures.
  • Tutorials, exercise classes and seminars – these support your lectures, giving you the opportunity to discuss ideas and ask any questions you may have. You may also be called on to give a presentation, helping you develop valuable public speaking skills.
  • Problem based learning (PBL) – this is a specific teaching method used mostly by the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering and Materials Science. It involves groups of students working together on a case study or clinical scenario. A very practical way of working, PBL helps you develop problem solving and communication skills.

Coursework and independent study

The amount of coursework you do depends on your choice of modules; some are assessed almost entirely by coursework, while others rely more on exams. Most have a coursework component which makes up 10 - 20 per cent of your overall mark. Coursework can be an essay, report, dissertation (or long essay), or practical project, for example, producing a short film.

Independent study refers to the time you spend working outside of lecture and seminar hours. This covers background reading, essay writing, preparation for seminars and tutorials, and so on. Generally the more time you spend in independent study, the more you will get out of your degree.

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