Queen Mary has been welcoming study abroad students for over 30 years, so you can be sure that we will help you to integrate fully into our university and ensure that you have a first-rate student experience with us, gaining international experience, memories and skills that will stay with you for life.
Teaching and research
Queen Mary is one of the world’s top research universities and part of the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s leading universities. This means that as a Study Abroad student at Queen Mary, you will study in an environment famous for the quality of its teaching and research.
You will discuss your subject with some of the world’s leading experts: at Queen Mary, you will be taught by staff who are leaders in their field and research-active (which means that their teaching is directly influenced by the latest research in their areas of expertise). We pride ourselves on offering you excellent teaching – and doing our utmost to ensure you have an intellectually rich and personally rewarding stay at Queen Mary.
Our academic programme
We have fourteen academic schools for you to choose from and 950+ modules available to our study abroad students. Here is an overview of what you can expect academically in your exchange period with us:
The academic year
Our academic year is divided into two 12-week teaching semesters:
- Autumn semester: mid-September to mid-December
- Spring semester: January to June (May-June examination period)*
*Please view our Key Dates page to see further information about the vacation and exam periods for both semesters.
For full details of our academic year, please see our academic calendar.
If you study with us for the spring semester (whether you are here for the full year or for that semester only), you will be expected to be here for the exam term if your classes are assessed by exams.
- At QMUL, our classes (or ‘modules’) are normally worth 15 credits per semester, though there are some worth 30 credits.
- You will normally take 60 credits a semester, or a total of 120 credits for a full year.
- You can choose to underload (take less than four classes) or overload (take more than four classes), but you need written approval from your home school, or be on a part-time programme at QMUL
- QMUL credits will be translated by your home institution into their own credit system (e.g. four credits per module for a 16-credit semester system).
- QMUL credits will be translated by your home institution into their own credit system (please see the Transcripts paragraph below).
- As the teaching time for both semesters is of equal length, we recommend that full credits be awarded for each module completed no matter which semester you attend. This is in accordance with QMUL's practice for its degree students.
How you will be assessed
Assessment methods will vary depending on your programme of study, and can include essays, problem sets, tests, presentations, projects and exams:
- If you are studying with us for the full year or the spring semester only, you will be assessed in the same way and at the same time as our full-degree QMUL students. This may include an examination during the May/June exam period.
- The examination timetable is not usually published until the last week of the spring semester, so if your module is assessed by examination you should not make any arrangements for returning home before you know the dates of your examinations.
- As there is no formal examination period at the end of the autumn semester. if you are only here for that semester you will be assessed by what is termed ‘alternative assessment’. In some cases, this will include a written examination but more often, you will be set additional module papers or essays.
When you complete your programme of study with us, you will be given a transcript (a record of your studies with us).
- Your academic transcript will list each module you have taken. Each module listing will also display a percentage mark (to one decimal place) and a module grade, which will be reported in the standard QMUL A-F format on your transcript.
- Your QMUL transcript will be transferred back to your home institution. You should check with your home institution to find out if they translate grades into their own system or record them as given by QMUL.
- Transcripts for students leaving in December are released in February. Transcripts for all other students are released in July.
- You can select your module choices before you start your exchange programme. You will normally take four modules per semester but can make up to eight choices when module registration opens.
- You can pre-register for modules from mid-May for full-year and autumn semester students and in October for spring semester students. We will normally confirm your module choices within a month of your pre-selection.
- Once your pre-selection is confirmed, we will ask you to send us your learning agreements.
- Please note that module allocations are made on a first-come-first-served basis. We strongly recommend that you pre-register for your modules as soon as possible.
- When you register your modules, you will be able to indicate whether you need to take a particular module for your degree back home.
QMUL uses a number of mark schemes for different awards and different levels and although many of the grades are the same, there are differences between the qualifying pass marks for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The UK grading system may be different from that used by your home institution – they are responsible for converting the grades you receive from QMUL. The QMUL grading system uses five letter grades (A–E) and you will receive a final mark on your final transcript.
For more information about our grades, please see our detailed information on mark schemes.
Choose your study programme: module choices
Our Study Abroad programme puts you in charge of what you study. We want to give you the broadest possible intellectual experience, so you can take modules from across the whole range of our academic departments, allowing you to specialise according to you own interests, knowing that each session will be thought-provoking, challenging and exciting in equal measure.
To make this possible, our course system has a flexible modular structure. We offer you a range of over 950 modules to choose from over the course of your academic year.
Pre-register for your modules
You will be invited to pre-register for your modules prior to your arrival at QMUL. We will send you full details of how to register in your Countdown newsletters (via email). You will be given full guidance notes on how to complete the online Module Registration process. When selecting modules, you must check that they meet the requirements of your home institution – it is your responsibility to ensure that you will receive full credit for the modules you take at QMUL.
We also allow you to add or drop modules when you arrive at QMUL during the first two weeks of term. You are strongly advised to only use the Add/Drop period to drop modules. Adding modules after teaching has started is much more difficult, especially as you will not be used to British methods of teaching and learning. You can, therefore, register for five (or occasionally six) modules to start with, and drop one (or two, as appropriate) by the end of the Add/Drop period.
For further information about our modules, including details of the different subject areas that you can study with us, please check our Online Module Directory. This gives you a full listing of all of our modules on offer to you.
- Please read the guidance notes included on the page
- When searching for modules please click on your host school at QMUL and click ‘yes’ for associate (ie Study Abroad) student.
- This directory is updated every April/May for the following academic year.
Spotlight on British and London themed modules
Interested in registering on a module that is linked to the country and/or city in which you will be studying abroad? Take a look at our guide of British and London-themed modules 2020-21 [PDF 428KB] for an overview on Queen Mary modules that look in to the culture, politics and history of the UK and London. To review modules related in particular to London, as opposed to the UK more generally, please look for those highlighted in light orange.
From looking at British horror films to discovering the pubs and plagues of medieval Britain, there's something here for everyone interested in learning more about the place in which they've chosen to study abroad!
Your academic support network
We know that adjusting to a period of study abroad can take time and so we make sure that you know who to talk to and where to seek advice when you need it. In addition to our QMUL-wide support services, you will have a dedicated Study Abroad Co-ordinator in your academic school, who will be on hand to give you any academic help and guidance you might need – and ensure that your study period with us is as successful as it can be.
QMUL runs a very successful peer mentoring scheme, known as the PASS (Peer Assisted Study Support) scheme. It is run by our students and gives you the chance to get advice or discuss any problems you might have with your course with more senior students. For more information, please visit the PASS page.
The Buddy Scheme is also very popular with our students. Run by our Students’ Union, the Scheme matches trained senior QMUL students with more junior mentees. Students are matched according to their interests, so you can get the very most from the Scheme. It’s a great way to get advice on settling into university life and to make new friends. Find out more at qmsu.org/buddy
Expert language support
If English is not your first language, you can take advantage of the services offered by our highly regarded Language Centre, which offers a wide range of free insessional modules to help you get the very best from your studies with us and improve your academic work.
Its courses are an excellent way of improving your academic skills: many of our home students who have English as their first language also use these modules to improve their academic work. Some of the Centre’s modules are credit-bearing; other modules are non-credit bearing but will either develop your general academic skills or develop your skills in a specific subject area.
All of the Language Centre’s modules focus on English for academic purposes and include:
- writing for your discipline
- English grammar
- proofreading skills
- presentation skills
- lecture comprehension.
For more information, please visit the Language Centre.
Study Abroad with English Language Programme
If you do not meet the Study Abroad Programme’s minimum English Language requirements, you may be considered for the Study Abroad with English Language Programme.
On-campus support services
As a Study Abroad student, you will have the same access to our on-campus support services as our full-degree students. These on-campus services include our:
- Advice and Counselling Service
- Disability and Dyslexia Service
- 24-hour Campus Security Service
- St Benet’s Chaplaincy
- Multi-Faith Centre
- Student Health Centre
- Library Service
- IT Services
- Student Enquiry Centre
- Careers and Enterprise Service
- International Week: our Students’ Union runs this series of events to celebrate the world cultures of our community. Please see qmsu.org for details closer to the start of the academic year.