(Original post by suchitata)
I'm about to finish my first year of QMUL's International Relations course and I can actually tell you that QMUL is a good university. I think with the transition of moving from a sixth form college to a university, this was definitely a good move. If you want pros and cons for the university through my own perspective, I will list them here:
Pros (campus halls of residence): This is the only campus based university in London, apart from maybe Royal Holloway (which I considered outside London) and I think that must be one of the best pros for the university. Irregardless of the courses for the time being, the ability to live with a large group of students for your first year will definitely in my opinion help to nurture and encourage you to meet the right people and request for help and guidance much more easily than if you were living in Central London attending LSE, UCL, Kings or Imperial for that matter. The likelihood of attending those universities and also obtaining some sort of student life with the people you live with could be slim to none
(most are Asian and are often more intellectually concerned and disregard many social interactions - I have several British friends who chose to attend those university and this is simply what I'm feeding back from). Queen Mary is like a little village for students and everything of necessity is within walking distance too.
Pros (IR course and teaching): As mentioned above, I am currently taking my International Relations end of first year exam. From what I can relay back to you, the education I received was as such as I expected from sixth form minus the extra interactiveness you would likewise get from your sixth form teachings. It is set up into lectures and seminars (compulsory) and I must admit that I may have attended roughly 75-80% of lectures and perhaps 60% of my seminars due to my lack of motivation and laziness. Hence, I will give you some useful advice here, try and get to the lectures because that is where you learn your course! The seminars for my IR course, I felt pretty much debates on pros and cons of political aspects and IR current affairs which could have been useful if I had attended more I'm sure. Anyways, what I am trying to say is that the teaching and research are told to you right at the beginning, if you are going to take up Humanities or Law, be prepared for lots of readings. This is relatively what your degree is! You have to read for these types of courses and if you don't you find yourself turning up to seminars with nothing to say or worse not turning up at all (this is what I did more than several times). But apart from this, my tutors and lecturers are more than helpful. I have sent several questions to my tutors and lecturers throughout my year about my essays (this year there was 12 essays with my 3 Politics and IR based modules) and have had replies within the hour or round about. I think the School of Politics and International Relations here is second to none and the majority of its administrative and academic staff are friendly if you are sincere and willing to work hard. QMUL in 2010 when I applied was also ranked 3rd or 4th for IR as well I think, so I knew I was attending classes with intellectual individuals even before I met any of them.
Cons (London is distracting): Living in London, even East London can be distracting for anyone. I found this out quite early on in my first semester. I think the social aspects of university life took the better of me, but I still don't regret my actions as without these, I think I wouldn't have enjoyed my time at university as much as I would have. Being a female and living London, I also found that I needed a job to keep up with my many reckless spending and this too, took much time from my studies. So as a precaution, make sure you know how to manage your time before engaging in job within London (I worked in Selfridges and the travel to and from alone took nearly an hour out from my time). Nevertheless, there are many other employment opportunities within the campus itself - student shops, draper's student bar etc. I didn't follow with this as I thought it was better to for me to build a networking opportunities for future aspects outside of the university.
I can't really think of many more to lists as the pros and cons were quite descriptive. To answer the first question of this thread: I do believe that Queen Mary is overall a good university. But that is purely my opinion. I rejected UCL's offer last year in fears of being pushed too hard too suddenly and I still feel like that was the right decision. QMUL might not be the best leading university within the UoL but with the ratio of UK and international students being accepted into the better universities, I think QM is the best choice in relation to overall scores. The location is rough, but transport means that the tubes are not more than a 5 minute walk and there are central buses which stop immediately outside the university. East London is also relatively cheap with market stalls of Whitechapel minutes away on the bus or 10 or so minutes walking.
However, I'd just point out what really surprised me when I came to QMUL. There are a lot of London base students attending the university and a lot of ethic minorities, mainly asian students. Often they cling to their groups but are nevertheless friendly.
To answer a few questions as well: during my IR course I took two outside modules. One was an Economics module taught by the head of department and yes, many of the Economics lecturers and tutors are foreign and have difficultly relaying certain phrases nevertheless, the methods of teaching worked so far as you attend both lectures and in the School of Economics and Business, their tutorials to go through the work. I didn't attend many of the tutorials because I was simply too lazy as my set time was Friday 9am and I wasn't a morning person then! Although I wished I had. The other outside module was Geography. I must admit that although I liked my School, I felt that the Geography school was so much more hands on than the Politics, often teaching with more clarity. However it lacked the presence of seminars (although there are discussions within the two hour lectures).
So yes, this is basically what I think about QMUL having been here as a student and residence in the Pooley House halls. It is enjoyable and hard work at the same time. In my opinion, you can't really classify a university simply from a league table as LSE, UCL, Kings and Imperial receive much more funding for their research and hence are more widely recognised on this more than other London based universities. What you should compare the university on is the fact that you are going to spend 3 or 4 years there - not on the results from the large masses of international students' results from better universities. QMUL is grounded and takes care of their students and I wouldn't have changed my choices even if I could rewind time.
Hope this was helpful, I do apologise for the length and lack of structure of this response and it is probably too late for your answer. However, if you do have further questions that I can assist with, please don't hesitate to PM me as I don't frequent the site much and I only came on today to check out a University for my boyfriend who wanted to switch courses and move to London.