Here's What to Expect From Academics at Queen Mary University

Sep 6, 2019 3:00:00 PM / by Stephanie Sadler

When you directly enroll on the new CAPA Queen Mary study abroad program, you’ll be welcomed into one of the UK’s most prestigious academic institutions. Queen Mary, a member of the University of London group, ranked #126 in the QS Global World Rankings for 2020.

Pinterest Graphic - Queen Mary - Academics

Queen Mary University: Academics

Courses are designed to be challenging, so achieving high grades will require dedication and commitment. The outcome will be well worth the effort though; Queen Mary was recently included in The Sunday Times’ list of top 10 UK universities for highest graduate starting salaries. An education gained from this highly respected university is valuable.


Queen Mary has five campuses across London, but as a CAPA student, you’ll study on the original and traditional Mile End campus in vibrant and trendy East London. Classes are just a few minutes walk from the student residence buildings.

Language of Instruction

Classes at Queen Mary are conducted in English.

GPA Requirements

Queen Mary requires a minimum 3.0 GPA for all programs.


You’ll quickly see that research plays an important role here. The university is a member of the Russell Group—a selected group of the top active research universities in the UK—which holds status comparable to the Ivy League in the US.

All staff are research active, and even have a contractual requirement to be seeking publication while employed at the university. This means there are interesting opportunities for students to get involved in research projects.

Fun fact: Did you know that graduates from Russell Group institutions earn 10% more over a lifetime than graduates of other universities?

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Choice of Classes

With 950+ classes available to students each year, you won’t find yourself with a lack of choice when it comes to building your schedule. There are obviously far too many class options to mention all of them, but some popular ones among study abroad students tend to be performance and drama, law, economics and finance, psychology, linguistics, humanities, medicine, and dentistry.

Queen Mary supports cross-registration, which means you can select from classes across different disciplines or keep them all within one key subject area. Check out the course finder for 2020 for a deeper look into the classes available for the coming year.

There’s a pre-selection process, so you’ll be able to have your class schedule confirmed before you arrive in London.


You’ll likely find yourself more academically independent at Queen Mary than you typically need to be at your home university. For example, there will be an expectation that you’ll take the reins when it comes determining which books or chapters you’ll need to read to be prepared for class discussions by checking the syllabus for information.

You will have to take the initiative to ask for it when you need it, but academic support, direct contact with professors and one-to-one guidance is there for you if you’re struggling, have questions, or need clarification on your coursework. While professors are involved in some innovative and ground-breaking research work, they have also developed a reputation for being very down to earth, friendly, and approachable; they tend to form great relationships with their students.

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The type of assessment you encounter at Queen Mary will vary with each particular class, but may include exams, written coursework, practical work, projects, or other types of assessments.

You’ll likely find that there is less continuous assessment than you’re used to at your home university. Most of the coursework you do submit will count toward your final grade, but not all of it will be compulsory. Some work is simply designed to give you personal feedback on your progress. Other work will be marked as “required” and will count toward the final grade for the class.

Although both will definitely make an impact on your understanding of the course materials and ability to succeed, participation and attendance won’t factor into your overall grade as they may back home.

The Academic Assessment Handbook, published on the Queen Mary website, will give you much more in-depth information on the topic.

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Academic Support Services

When you arrive on campus, you’ll have a welcome program which includes a talk from a US academic who lived in the US and now teaches at Queen Mary. This person has an intimate knowledge of both US and UK academics and will be able to help you set expectations and clarify any questions before classes begin.

Academic advisors will be available for support throughout your time at Queen Mary. You’ll also find writing and language support services, workshops to guide you through the different expectations when it comes to written work in the US vs. the UK, disability and dyslexia support services, and a learning resources center.

Grading System

At first glance, the grading system at Queen Mary, and other UK academic institutions, can be a bit shocking to students who are used to the US system. For example, a 70% is considered an excellent result. Know that, even though the number looks lower, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to put in less effort to achieve that A. Performance is graded on a 0-100 percentage scale, as follows:

  • Grade A = 70-100%

  • Grade B = 60-60.9% 

  • Grade C = 50-59.9% 

  • Grade D = 45-49.9%

  • Grade E = 40-44.9% 

  • Fail = 0.39.9% 

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Topics: London, England, Direct Enroll