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English and Hispanic Studies

RQ43 BA (Hons) 4 years

Overview

Studying English and a modern language gives you the opportunity to explore connections and interactions between cultural traditions. You will divide your time equally between the two subjects, following modules designed to help you develop your linguistic skills, and introducing you to a range of theoretical and critical approaches to English studies. In your third year, you normally spend a year abroad in a country where your chosen language is spoken – either studying or working, depending on your placement.

Why study English and Hispanic Studies at Queen Mary?

English at Queen Mary was ranked 2nd in the UK by the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), ahead of Oxford, Cambridge and UCL, with more than 70 per cent of our academics working at a world-leading or internationally excellent level. You will benefit by learning from people who are passionately engaged with their subject. We also do well in national university rankings: English at Queen Mary was ranked 9th in the UK by The Times Good University Guide 2013 and 10th by the Guardian University Guide 2013. In the most recent National Student Survey (NSS 2011), 91 per cent of our students were satisfied overall with the quality of the course.

You will also have the opportunity to benefit from all sorts of interesting activities taking place within the department including visits to museums; theatre trips; and talks by eminent writers, actors and other media luminaries.

Several members of staff are stars in their own right: Professors Michèle Barrett and Jacqueline Rose are well-known for groundbreaking work on feminist theory, and are frequently heard on radio, along with other members of the department, such as Professor Peggy Reynolds and Professor Jerry Brotton. Radio 3’s recent list of “new generation thinkers” – up-and-coming public intellectuals “with a passion for communicating the excitement of modern scholarship” – included Shahidha Bari.

You’ll also have the chance to study in the USA, through the College’s exchange scheme, a real benefit if you are studying American literature. We have a very wide range of option modules. The interactions between English and other disciplines you may have studied at school will be clear in modules such as British Culture in the 1950s, Reading Psychoanalysis, or Critical Aesthetics. The different focuses of literary writing – from crime in the city to scientific discoveries to nationalism – will make you aware that all literary texts are voices of people and societies both like and unlike our own. Studying these will stretch you far beyond your A-level reading and you’ll find that your spare-time reading has dimensions you had never thought of.

Hispanic Studies is taught in the thriving School of Languages, Linguistics and Film. In the Government’s most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), we were ranked highly for the quality of the research being carried out by staff. In particular, Linguistics was ranked 1st in the UK, and Russian and Iberian Languages were ranked in the top 10. This means that you will be taught by leading specialists of international standing whose cutting-edge research informs their high-quality teaching .

In the last National Student Survey (NSS 2011), 86 per cent of our students were satisfied with the quality of the course overall.

In the third year of your degree, you will spend a year abroad. This gives you an exceptional opportunity to develop your language skills among native speakers. If you are studying two languages you can divide your time between two countries, or spend a full nine months in one country, and three months over the summer vacation in the other. You have three main options for how to spend the year abroad: teaching English as a foreign language assistant; attending university abroad on an Erasmus exchange; or in the professional world, either on a work placement, with the School’s support, or independently, with the School’s approval.

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 Language 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 satellite TV. Students also enjoy lively language clubs and societies which organise film showings, outings, drama productions and regular social meetings which give you the chance to practise your language.

Structure

Year 1

English core module

English, Reading, Theory and Interpretation

Then choose either:

  • Shakespeare, or
  • Literatures in Time: Texts and Contexts from the Eighth to the Sixteenth Century, or
  • Poetry: A Basic Course, and
  • Fiction and Narrative

Spanish I

  • Introduction to Hispanic Studies
  • Key Concepts for the study of Latin American Cultural History (for post A-level and native speakers only).

Hispanic Options include:

  • Brazilian Cinematic Cities
  • Catalan Culture: History, Language, Art
  • Introductory Catalan
  • Introductory Portuguese

Year 2

  • Spanish II
  • Key Concepts for the study of Latin American Cultural History (for ab initio entrants only)

Hispanic Options include:

  • Cuban Poetry and Fiction: Post 1980
  • Catalan Cinema

English options include:

  • Modernism
  • Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • Victorian Poetry
  • Writing South Africa
  • Chaucer
  • Reading Psychoanalysis, Reading Literature

Year 3

Year abroad: Written Assignment

Year 4

Spanish III

Hispanic options include:

  • Advanced Oral Competence in Spanish
  • War, Humour and Love in Medieval Spanish Literature
  • Cervantes and the Nature of Fiction
  • The Mexican Revolution and its Aftermath
  • Spanish Translation: Theory and Practice
  • Cuban Society through Film: post 1959 Revolution

Entry requirements

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

As/A-level:
Typical tariff or grades required: 320-340 UCAS tariff points from 3 A-levels (ABB-AAB at A-level) with an A in English Literature or Language & Literature and a B in a language.

Excluded subjects: General studies, critical thinking.

International Baccalaureate:
Subjects and grades: 34 points overall, with at least six points in higher learning English A1 or A2 and five in a higher learning language.

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

LEARNING

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.

Independent Study:
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.

Assessment:
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

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 and teaching, 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 years, “What a Difference a Year Abroad Makes”, and a “Make Languages Work for You” speed meet event with alumni working in a variety of roles; for linguists, a careers day looking at how to use LinkedIn for job search, CV writing and career choice; for film students, a panel discussion with film and TV professionals and talk on how to start a career in film. 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 http://www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/.

Profiles

STUDENT PROFILE
Zaki Shah
English Literature

“I chose Queen Mary because it offered me the chance to study the sort of modules that I was really keen to do. I also knew past and current students who found their time at Queen Mary fun and rewarding. The area inevitably played a big role too – close to central London, and walking distance from areas like Brick Lane and Shoreditch.

“The teaching style here gives you lots of academic freedom, but there is always help available if you need it. The type of assessment on the course reflects this freedom too – it’s good to be able to go away and work on a big research essay or your dissertation, rather than always being at the mercy of exams like at school!

“Last year I found myself doing a course called Art Histories all about the different museums and art galleries in London. I’d never have anticipated doing a module like that on an English degree, but it turned out to be one of my favourites and I learnt loads of new things.

“Outside of class, I am starting a student group for a charity organisation called Schtoom. The
Students’ Union have been really helpful in helping me to do this – it’s fantastic to have such a supportive team behind you.”

GRADUATE PROFILE

Andreas Beckwith
Studied: BA English
Currently: Having completed a TEFL course I am going to Valencia in Spain to teach English as a foreign language.

Why did you choose Queen Mary?
It has a very good reputation, particularly for English, and this was an important factor in my choice. I also wanted to go to a university in a vibrant city with plenty of opportunity for new experiences. I liked the fact that Queen Mary is a campus university, as it meant that a large majority of the students would be in one place.

What did you gain from your time at Queen Mary?
I had a fantastic time at Queen Mary, both on the academic and social side of university life.
I greatly improved my English skills, and degree level study opened up new avenues of thinking and interpretation which I had not been exposed to before. The course structure is particularly good, as it allows you to shape your own degree with a wide choice of modules. The university’s diversity is one of its main assets, I really enjoyed meeting people from all sorts of backgrounds. The experience was invaluable and has helped shape me as a person.

What are your career plans in the next five years?
I plan to be out in Spain for the next year teaching English, after that I will possibly do a masters.
Ideally I would like to make a career in writing, in journalism and script writing, with my main goal to become an author.

Daniel Sawyer
Studied: BA English
Currently: After graduating I got a job as an E-Learning Assistant at the School of Medicine, Southampton University. I have now taken up a funded postgraduate place at Oxford University on an MSt in English (650-1550).

Why did you choose Queen Mary?
The size and reputation of the English department and the degree of choice offered by the course structure.

How did your time at Queen Mary prepare you for work?
I learned how to write rapidly and well, and how to research a subject methodically. The English course also made me more confident about speaking to a group. And from student life in general I learned a lot of interpersonal skills.

What are your most and least favourite aspects of your job?
When I was working in medical e-learning, I loved the mixture of disciplines it involved: I got the chance to work with doctors, medical students, graphic designers, web developers and learning design experts, all trying to create something together. And my least favourite part of the job was definitely whenever some piece of tech refused to work!

At present my favourite part of my postgrad course is probably handling medieval manuscripts, which is quite a thrill.

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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