I’m here to debunk all the things you may have heard about doing an English degree as I’m sure you may naturally have your reservations. English is such a broad subject that allows you to draw on many different areas of knowledge, this means that once you have finished your degree you can go down so many different career paths. You are not just confined to one job; it opens many doors for you. As well as this you will find that at QMUL you experiment with many different mediums in English.
If you’re like me and struggled with English at A-level you may be worried that this isn’t the degree for you; however, that is not the case. At A-level you’re confined to certain texts and rules you have to follow in your essay writing but at university you’re allowed so much more creative freedom. This is where your writing style can flourish. At QMUL especially there’s a lot of room to draw on other subjects you may have studied and not just focus solely on literature. For me, I excelled at poetry, something I never cared for because I had the opportunity to create a piece of artwork and analyse it allowing me to use my art skills and fully express myself. Likewise, with one of our modules allowing us to explore creative writing I realised this is something I enjoyed where before I couldn’t stand it. This is because I was able to write about my own experiences and express my own opinions. Some of my modules even had me utilising things I learned from the humanities, which came to me as a surprise.
English at QMUL:
You may be thinking that this isn’t what you signed up for however, your first year will include loads of different literary pathways that help you experiment to see what your good at and enjoy, so in your second year you are able to specialise in the areas you like. The good thing about English at QMUL is that you have a choice, you are given the option to create artwork, analyse film/music or you can just stick to literature if that’s what you prefer. Another thing I appreciated was the focus on coursework, I struggled in a level because of exam pressure and having to memorise quotes constantly, but here I have been able to submit essays with my full knowledge and dedicated enough time to writing it.
That being said, you are still studying English and the key fundamentals of reading and writing are still there, you just have a lot more freedom and opportunity to try new things. So, if you’re thinking I didn’t like it at A-level or I didn’t do so well, don’t let that stop you, you may have just the things you need!
If you were eligible for early clearing this would have opened on the 5 July, but the main clearing for all students opens on results day the 17 August at 8 am.
How to apply?
Ring our clearing hotline with your grades, UCAS id, and the course you want to study ready. If your grades match the requirements and the degree has vacancy you will be issued a verbal offer of your acceptance. Then you will be given a 24 hour deadline to self release yourself from an existing university or add a clearing choice on your UCAS application using the code for your degree you want to study. Once this is done and your grades are verified you will receive final confirmation of your acceptance.
What courses are available?
Not every degree will be available for clearing due to limited spots, so we advise you to use the clearing course finder on our website to check if we your course is available. When you call the hotline they will inform you if the course has space.
What is the 24 hour deadline?
This window of time is for you to decide if your 100% sure you want to go through clearing it gives you time to make the decision and consider all your options as once you self release from an existing university and get accepted through clearing you can’t go back so take your time deciding! It is important you update your UCAS application before the 24 hours as after that your spot is not guaranteed. If for any reason you can’t do it in 24 hours call us and let us know! Depending on the circumstances you may be able to get an extended deadline.
When will I receive information on accommodation and lectures?
The UCAS website can take up to 1 or 2 days to update your application but once you have officially got into QMUL you will receive emails within a few days and over the next month updating you. If you have any other questions most things can be found on our website.
Tell us about An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’. What should we expect?
In ‘An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love’ I have a conversation with a machine-learning algorithm about love, dating, and my life as a single queer mum. The algorithm’s responses range from the funny and surreal, to the poetic and poignant. When I ask the algorithm questions about love it tells me: ‘I’d suggest that you find out how to answer these questions. This is not just about writing. It is about real life. The answers are in your life.’
What inspires you to write stories like this?
I always enjoy finding ways to generate material to work with. In the past I’ve used cut up writing methods a lot, where I splice together existing texts and subvert their meanings. Working with an algorithm is an extension of these procedural writing methods.
I wanted to think about love with this project because in the past I didn’t think about it, I just fell in it. I wondered what a machine-learning algorithm might be able to teach me about love.
What advice would you give to emerging writers at Queen Mary?
Prioritise reading, writing and thinking, and don’t give up.
QMUL English and Creative Writing Graduate David Mitchell has a novella available for pre-order from The Plastic Brain Press under the pseudonym D Rudd-Mitchell. The Novella is called P and explores themes of enviroment, intolerence, history, information and status.
Isabel Waidner from our creative writing team has been shortlisted for the illustrious Goldsmiths prize for their novel ‘Sterling Karat Gold’.
The book is described as ‘Kafka’s The Trial written for the era of gaslighting – a surreal inquiry into the real effects of state violence on gender-nonconforming, working-class and black bodies.’.
The Goldsmiths Prize was established in 2013 to celebrate the qualities of creative daring associated with the College and to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form. The annual prize of £10,000 is awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterizes the genre at its best.
Isabel Waidner is the author of three novels: ‘Sterling Karat Gold’ (2021), ‘We Are Made of Diamond Stuff’ (2019) and ‘Gaudy Bauble’ (2017). They were shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize (twice), and won the Internationale Literaturpreis. They are a co-founder of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the programmer and presenter of This Isn’t a Dream, a fortnightly literary talk show, also hosted by the ICA via Instagram live. Waidner is an academic at Queen Mary University of London.