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Russian and Comparative Literature

QR27 BA (Hons) 4 years

Overview

Comparative Literature is about making comparisons – and connections – between challenging themes and motifs in different literatures and cultures. As well as having the opportunity to study a range of genres, time periods, and national literatures (all of which can be studied in translation), you can cross nationalities and even time periods. You could also examine links between literature and a whole range of other art forms: such as music; film; popular culture or visual arts. Equally, studying modern languages is about more than vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation: you will also immerse yourself in culture, may spend time working or studying abroad, and will learn to understand the subtleties of communication. 

Students with little or no knowledge of Russian start this programme with a preliminary year of intensive language instruction, bringing you up to good A-level standard. You then progress to Year 1, and as the year abroad in Year 3 is optional, you can still finish in four years. Students who already have an A-level in Russian or an equivalent qualification, go straight into Year 1 of the main degree. From Year 1 onwards, your degree is split equally between Russian and Comparative Literature.

Each year you receive a large amount of language tuition designed to bring your competence in understanding and expressing yourself to as high a level as possible. In your first year you will follow foundation modules introducing you to various aspects of literary theory and critical thinking, including one focusing on Russian literature. In your second and final years you will take increasingly advanced module options concentrating on particular literary themes, movements and genres, and may opt to undertake a research project in your final year.

Why study Russian and Comparative Literature at Queen Mary?

While at many universities, Comparative Literature often sits within the English department, at Queen Mary it is an invigorating, growing and dynamic department in its own right – a reflection of our commitment to the subject.  Its position as a department within the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film makes combining it with the study of Russian an ideal opportunity to extend the depth and breadth of your understanding of both subjects.

We are one of the leading language departments in the UK and aim for excellence in both teaching and research and were ranked in the top ten in the UK for Russian in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008). This means that you will learn from people who are at the forefront of their field.  In the last National Student Survey (NSS 2011), 94 per cent of our students of Comparative Literature were satisfied with the quality of the programme overall.

In the third year of your degree, you may choose to spend a year abroad. This gives you an exceptional opportunity to develop your language skills among native speakers. Options for the year abroad include studying at a Russian institution, or undertaking a work placement, with the School’s support, or independently, with the School’s approval.  As the year abroad is not compulsory, students of Russian are encouraged to spend time in Russia in the summer vacation and the School is able to support you with a small grant towards the costs.

We pride ourselves on the facilities we offer. Our computing services make us one of the best equipped languages departments in the UK. Advisers are on hand to help you take advantage of multilingual word-processing and to point you towards websites useful for language study. Our custom designed Multi-Media Resources Centre provides state-of-the-art language teaching and learning facilities. We also subscribe to many foreign newspapers and journals.

The College Library has extensive audio-visual facilities, a large collection of videos and DVDs and is equipped for viewing foreign language satellite TV. Students also enjoy lively language clubs and societies which organise film showings, outings, drama productions and social meetings that give you the chance to practise your language as well as have fun.

Structure

STRUCTURE
Preliminary Year

  • Introductory Russian – for those not holding A-level Russian or equivalent
Year 1
  • Core language module (streamed according to status) and compulsory foundation module:
  • Russian I (for post A Level entrants or students who have completed the preliminary year) / Russian I N (for native speakers of Russian)
  • Landmarks in Russian Literature
  • Introduction to Literature: Texts and Contexts
  • The Scene of Teaching
Options include:
  • Brief Encounters: Short Stories and Tall Tales
  • The Opposite of Science: How to do Things with Poems
Year 2
Core and compulsory modules:
  • Russian II (for post A Level entrants or students who have completed the preliminary year) / Russian II N (for native speakers of Russian)
  • The Scene of Reading
Options include:
  • Art and Revolution
  • Fairy Tales in the Modern World
  • Madness, Past and Present
  • Why Belgium? Identities, Cultures, Narratives
  • On the Subject of Sex I: Sappho to Stonewall
  • Russian Novel: Self and Society
  • Short Stories and Important People: The Nineteenth Century
  • Russian Syntax
  • Russian Play
Year 3
  • Optional Year abroad: Written Assignment
Year 4
Core and compulsory modules:
  • Russian III (for post A Level entrants or students who have completed the preliminary year) / Russian III N (for native speakers of Russian)
  • The Scene of Writing
Options include:
  • Comparative Literature Research Project
  • Touch and Read: The Five Senses in Literary Modernism
  • Constellations: Online Anthology Group Project
  • On the Subject of Sex II: Queen to Queer
  • Lost in Translation?
  • Essay in Russian
  • Liaison Interpreting (Russian-English-Russian)
  • Russian Novel: Dysfunctional Families
  • Russian Film: Memory and History

Entry requirements

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Entry requirements may vary for native Russian speakers, and for those who have no previous knowledge of Russian. If you study Russian from beginners level you will undertake a preliminary year of Russian language.

General information
You may study Russian without having studied it before provided that you have a proven ability in a foreign language. Applicants whose first language is not English must obtain a grade B in GCSE English Language or equivalent, or will be required to have IELTS 7 (with grade 7 in writing). 

Applications from native speakers of Russian are welcomed.

AS/A-level:
Typical tariff or grades required: 300-320 UCAS tariff points from three A-levels, equivalent to BBB-ABB at A-level. A minimum B in a language and a B in a relevant subject is required.

Excluded subjects: General Studies and Critical Thinking.

International Baccalaureate:
Subjects and grades: 32-34 points overall including 5 in a higher level language and 5 in another relevant higher level subject.

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 further information page below.

Further information on our entry requirements

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

Teaching typically involves a lecture per week for each module, followed up by a smaller seminar group session where you will have the opportunity to actively contribute. In addition to this, you will spend up to five hours per week in language classes – you will be taught in small groups of no more than 20 for classroom or language lab teaching, and fewer than 10 for oral and aural work. We give our students individual attention and every student has an Adviser who can help with academic or personal problems. All the language programmes include writing-intensive modules that will help you strengthen your thinking, research and essay-writing skills.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 5-6 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.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary from module to module, and include a mixture of exams and coursework, coursework only, oral and aural exams, final-year dissertations and a range of more innovative methods, such as independent projects and creative journals.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2016 entry
Full-time £9,000

Tuition fees for International students

2016 entry
Full-time £14,100

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
email: fees@qmul.ac.uk

Funding

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.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

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.

Graduate Employment

Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of Languages, Linguistics and Film Studies go on to work in a wide variety of careers. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering careers such as interpreting, teaching and publishing, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as marketing.

The national 2012 destination survey confirmed that 87% of the School’s graduates were in employment and/or study six months after graduation with 64% already working and/or studying at graduate level. Graduates from this School have an average earning power of £20,153 six months after graduation.

The broad range of skills gained through our language courses, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:

Global Technical Support RepresentationBloomberg
Assistant Tour ManagerSony
Trainee ManagerMajestic Wine
Training Centre Co-ordinatorESI International
Fundraising AdministratorMildmay International
International Product AnalystMeta-Pack
Marketing ExecutiveMano
TutorFreelance
Graduate Account ExecutiveHall & Partners
Publishing AssistantMedikidz
JournalistSelf Employed
InterpreterSelf Employed
English as a Foreign Language TeacherBritish Council

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 70 employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options.

Recent careers events for language students include a workshop for returning 4th a Year Abroad Makes”, and a “Make Languages Work for You” speed meet event with alumni working in a variety of roles. Students also have access to our central careers programme, with a range of events including workshops on journalism, teaching, and employer-led recruitment skills training.

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 ranging from E-learning Assistant to Gym Instructor and from Society President to Student Mentor.

Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages.

Profiles

Name: Anja Popp
Studying: BA Comparative Literature

“I wanted to be in a big city and to study at a credible university doing a literature-based degree that was more diverse than your average English degree. Queen Mary ticked all the boxes, as well as being campus based (you can practically roll out of your bed to lessons). It’s also connected to all the other University of London colleges which means you have loads of Students’ Unions and libraries at your disposal!

“The teaching staff at Queen Mary are so inspiring, they all do tons of research aside from teaching us, so they’re always in the know. They push for us to be able to do less known texts, which not only broadens our horizons, but means we are constantly exploring new topics, rather than repeating the same generic set texts.

“Queen Mary is in a great location. East London epitomises the culture and diversity of the big smoke. It has a chilled out yet happening vibe, and the most delicious curry a woman could ask for. Brick lane and Shoreditch are really funky areas to hang out in, and Stratford is like a city in a city, with all the rejuvenation for the Olympics in 2012.

“I am learning Spanish with the Language Centre, as whenever I go travelling I always feel really ignorant that I only speak English. I’m definitely not a natural linguist, but I’m trying really hard, and plan to join a Spanish conversational class later this year.”

Tom Symmons

BA Film Studies and History

How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?

“The critical skills and depth of knowledge I acquired during my BA Film Studies and History provided me a solid foundation for my postgraduate studies. My doctoral research thesis on the New Hollywood of the late-1960s and 1970s is now nearing completion and I intend to pursue a career in academia.

The joint honours degree course is structured to allow plenty of flexibility, and the modules on offer are diverse and well formulated; the interdisciplinary course 'Critical Approaches to Film: Alfred Hitchcock', was a particular favourite. It is also led by academics who are both leaders in their respective fields of research, and take a great deal of pride and interest in providing the best educational experience for their students.”


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