For full information about life in the School and the programmes we offer, please see the School of English and Drama Website.
A degree in English begins with reading - reading the oldest and the newest, the most passionate and the most profound writing.
But an English degree also encourages you to read in new ways. By studying English at Queen Mary you will become a thoughtful, thorough, and active reader who thinks intelligently both about 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 Queen Mary has an international reputation for excellence. We were ranked fifth in the UK in the last national Research Excellence Framework (REF) - this means you will be taught by leading researchers in the field.
But our academics are not just influential researchers; they are also dedicated teachers who are actively engaged in the running of a diverse range of undergraduate modules. We are proud of our high-quality teaching: in the 2015 National Student Survey, 97.5% of students praised our teaching.
We are a big department so you will be able to personalise your degree and study the topics that most interest you. But we are also a friendly department. You will have plenty of staff contact, and we will work with you to aid your academic, personal and professional development.
While teaching takes place at our scenic Mile End campus, the Queen Mary English degree makes full use of the literary and cultural resources London offers. Modules include trips to Shakespeare's Globe, the V&A, the British Library and British Museum, the Tate, the National Gallery, and many other institutions. Studying in London - and in the East End - also gives you the unique opportunity of experiencing the spaces that the writers you study inhabited, as you walk through the London of Chaucer, Dickens, Woolf, and Monica Ali.
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
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.
Typical tariff or grades required: 320-340 points from 3 A-levels, equivalent to ABB-AAB at A-level. A typical offer would be 340 points (AAB), with at least A in English literature, or combined English language and literature. We value the Extended Project and are able to make alternative offers to candidates taking this qualification.
Excluded subjects: General studies and Critical Thinking.
Subjects and grades: 34 points overall, with at least six points in higher level English.
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. Please visit our Entry requirements page for more information.
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.
Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications
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 finance
Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.
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.
Our graduates go on to work in a wide variety of roles in a range of sectors including the arts, publishing, the media, heritage and charity.
The national 2014 destination survey confirmed that 92% of graduates from the School were in employment or study six months after graduation, with 71% of this group already working or studying at graduate level. Queen Mary undergraduates have an average earning power of £23,000 six months after graduation.
The broad range of skills gained through undergraduate courses in the School, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, have enabled students to move into careers such as:
- Junior Producer - ITN
- Actor - Self employed
- Script Reader - Writers Avenue
- Editorial Assistant - Dazed & Confused Magazine
- Associate Producer - Idle Motion
- PR Assistant - Proud Gallery
- Research Assistant - Tatler
- Programme Compiler - Channel 4
- Market Researcher - Maritz
- Global Mobility Project Assistant - Diageo
- Marketing Coordinator - News Quest Ltd
Throughout the course, students have access to an annual QM Careers and Enterprise Centre programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes employer led workshops on job applications and interviews as well as over 90 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. Recent events include an Experience Journalism workshop run by News Associates, Experience Teaching with TeachFirst, Careers in Law for non-law students and Start Up Stand up for those aspiring to start their own social enterprise or business.
Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study. Opportunities can be found through QProjects, a local work experience scheme, QRecruit, which advertises internships and temporary work, Experience Works, a part time work fair, and volunteering with QMSU Provide. There are also over 1400 vacancies to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.
Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities, including a chance to volunteer for QMedia (which produces QMTV, The Print newspaper and CUB Magazine from the Students’ Union).
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.
David WilkinsonBA English
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
“I chose Queen Mary because I live in East London and because I was aware of its good reputation for English. I was impressed by the open day where I was made to feel welcome as a mature student and where I saw how much choice there is within the course; in the first year we covered areas from medieval literature to contemporary theory; this year I am learning about post- colonialism, 18th Century satire and literature after the First World War. There are dozens of interesting modules to choose from.
How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?
“The university is located in a nice part of London. It’s a lovely campus on the Regent’s canal with lots of good coffee shops and places to study. It's within walking distance of places like Victoria Park and Brick Lane.
“The teaching staff are very helpful and everything is well planned, we are set interesting and challenging work every week. I’m being trained to become a better thinker and I feel like I've learned a lot in the last year. I think the course is great and would highly recommend it.”