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Queen Mary University of London introduces new ‘with year abroad’ degrees

12 December 2018

In August 2017 Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) introduced more than 100 new four-year degree programmes that included an additional study abroad year. These new degrees were introduced to remove some of the institutional barriers to outward mobility facing its student population.

 

Why introduce a four-year degree programme?

 

Following liaison with various academics, professional services and stakeholders across the institution and feedback from students, QMUL was able to conclude that module mapping was one of the biggest institutional barriers to outward student mobility.

 

Under the previous study abroad format, departments spent considerable time module mapping – an exercise where every department had to ensure strict compatibility between QMUL and international modules. This also included a complicated grade conversion procedure. For example, many STEM subjects have rigid undergraduate programmes that require students to take specific modules. These limitations often had a negative impact on student experience and were an unnecessary administrative burden to staff.

 

Increased take up in study abroad

 

The incorporation of 100 new four-year degree programmes provided students with a greater choice of modules during their year abroad. More students selected modules outside of their immediate field; allowing them to development new ideas and skills.

 

The project was led by the Academic Lead for Outward Mobility and the Global Opportunities Office. It was created in collaboration with various stakeholders, including the registry, finance, and academic departments.  Following successful pilots in key departments, the programme was rolled out across QMUL over the 2017-18 academic year.

 

It was important to communicate clearly and consult broadly across the institution. Discussions in a task and finish group and support from senior management ensured the smooth implementation of the programmes. After the successful introduction, QMUL is looking to roll out even more four-year programmes across the university.

 

The institutional focus is to build on this and improve student access to these opportunities; with an ambition to allocate more resources to widening participation in outward mobility.


Measuring success

 

·         The new degrees have proven popular, with over 200 students registered on the programmes in 2017-18.

·         Academic departments have seen a decrease in time spent module mapping.

·         The introduction of the new degrees has served to boost interest in outward mobility, with a rise in students seeking information about international opportunities.

 

Three tips from QMUL for universities looking to introduce a four-year degree programme:

1.    Collaboration is fundamental to success.

2.    Create a strong narrative that is applicable to the whole institution.

3.    Pilot the scheme before applying it across the entire university.



 Dr Eyal Poleg, Senior Lecturer in Material History and Academic Lead for Outward Mobility, QMUL
 Ceri Bevan, Head of Global Opportunities, QMUL

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