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School of English and Drama

Teaching and Learning Methods

The Library

As a student at Queen Mary, you will learn through:

Independent Study

The majority of your time will be spent in private study, reading texts in preparation for lectures and seminars, or writing up assignments. As a rough guide, we advise students to spend at least a further 4-6 hours per week per module on independent study. So if you are taking four modules in a semester, each week you will be attending classes for 8 hours, and spending another 16 to 24 hours each week on independent study, and preparing and writing your assessments.

You will need to be disciplined and independent, but your personal advisor and module leaders will provide advice and support, helping you to set goals, manage your time, and organise your work. Your degree will develop your ability to focus your attention, work efficiently, navigate research resources and articulate your opinions. By the third year, you will be ready to take on a major independent research project on the topic of your choice in the form of a dissertation.


A small group discussion

Participation in Lectures and Seminars

At the centre of your studies will be the formal programme of teaching. Most teaching consists of either lectures, in which academic experts deliver accessible but detailed presentations about a designated text or theme, or seminars, which encourage you to share and develop your own ideas both with members of the teaching staff and with your undergraduate peers.

Every year you will take four modules during each of the two main semesters (many of these are double modules covering both semesters, meaning that in total you will complete between four and eight modules each year). In your first year, these will usually be compulsory core modules; in your second and third years, you can choose from a wide range of module options. Each module will require you to undertake a schedule of relevant reading that will then inform the discussions that take place in weekly lectures and seminars, as you build your understanding of a particular topic or approach. You will also spend additional time, on an occasional basis, in one-to-one meetings with tutors, and in research and writing workshops.



To enable you to think about the texts you read, you’ll also complete a range of written assignments – the marks for which will form the basis of your final degree classification. These might include traditional forms of assessment such as essays, exams, analyses of short passages, and translations (for example from Old into contemporary English). Other tasks will involve creative responses such as a reading journal, a performance, or an artistic response to a text.

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