Support for students
At Queen Mary we pride ourselves providing a friendly, welcoming and secure campus environment in which students can thrive both academically and socially. Most students have a trouble-free time at university, but it is reassuring to know that we offer a comprehensive support network which could be a real help to your son or daughter. No matter what the problem there is always someone they can turn to for help and advice.
Firstly, all students are assigned a personal tutor: a member of the academic staff of their department. Your son or daughter should meet with their tutor early in their first term. Thereafter s/he can discuss any academic problems with their tutor, whether they need advice on module choice, feel they have made the wrong choice of course, or are having problems meeting deadlines – and so on.
Our Advice and Counselling Service is on hand to provide guidance on a huge range of issues from money worries (including budgeting and how to apply for hardship funds) to disability benefits and academic problems such as transferring degrees. Additionally, our experienced trained counsellors can give confidential support to students with emotional and psychological concerns.
Encourage your son or daughter to register with the College Student Health Service as soon as possible. Students who live on or near the campus are eligible, although those living outside this area can also get emergency treatment whilst on campus.
Faith at Queen Mary: as a truly multi-cultural institution we value religious understanding and aim to meet the needs of all our students. St Benet’s is our College Chaplaincy, and we also provide multi-faith prayer rooms with washing facilities. There are many other places of worship near the Mile End campus – from churches, mosques and synagogues to temples and a Buddhist prayer centre.
Teaching and learning
Given the financial outlay it is vital that your child’s learning experience is positive. The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey of final year students at most UK universities. It asks a range of questions to find out what they think about their course and university. The results can be seen at www.unistats.com. Queen Mary does well in this survey, with students consistently giving their courses and lecturers high ratings.
One important feature of Queen Mary is academic research. The vast majority of our academic staff are also active in this field: they are pushing the boundaries of knowledge, in many cases undertaking research which is internationally important. The Government assesses all universities’ research every few years. The last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) was in 2008 and Queen Mary was rated 11th in the UK (The Guardian). How does this benefit your child? It means that our staff's teaching is kept up-to-date, that they are enthusiastic and do not stick with a particular theory, for example, despite new thinking in the subject; their research ensures, especially in fields like engineering and computing, strong links with the real world of industry; and students’ final year projects are often directly-related to research projects. Plus, of course, all students get a thrill from seeing their tutors on TV or quoted in the press!
Our teaching methods are varied: as well as lectures, your son or daughter, depending on their subject, can also expect to experience small group teaching: tutorials, seminars, workshops, exercise classes and problem based learning (PBL) sessions (for medicine and some materials courses). Most students will also have the chance to work on group projects – this is extremely useful experience for the real world of work, where team working ability is highly prized.
All university students need to develop the skill of independent study and your son or daughter will get good experience of this working on essays, reports, projects, final year dissertations and general reading around the subject. This can be a big difference from school or college, but is another very useful transferable skill.
Rest assured that there is support for students who might find the transition from A-Level (or equivalent) to degree study problematic. Our Language and Learning Unit provides a range of workshops on aspects like note-taking and organisational skills, and also runs tutorials on any aspect of study plus drop-in maths support. They can also go to their personal tutor for guidance.
Clearly the objective for most students is a successful career, and we take this aspect of their university experience very seriously. The College Careers Service is part of the University of London’s Careers Group, the largest careers service in the UK. Our professional careers advisers are available to guide your son or daughter, whether they already have a clear direction or have no ideas at all. We run workshops on a range of aspects such as CV and interview preparation, plus sessions on particular sectors and industries.
The graduate job market is crowded and it is essential that your child is able to demonstrate the skills which employers require. These include things like commercial awareness (so any work experience is very useful), team working, communication skills, logical thinking and analytical ability, organisational skills – and so on. Our students will develop these skills on their courses as well as through extra-curricular activities (especially the ‘soft’ interpersonal skills). We are keen to help them recognise and present these skills – our Mind the Gap resource is a useful starting-point.
Student life at Queen Mary
To find out more about campus life, the local area and accommodation at Queen Mary, browse through our Student life section.