Skip to main content
A Student seated in The McClay Library

Study Abroad Programme

Course and Module information

This section explains how course content is delivered to students here at Queen's university. It contains information on modules, module codes and the teaching methods used by our academics.

View Faculty Guides and Subject Themes


At Queen's, courses are called modules. Most Bachelor degree courses at Queen’s are composed of 18 modules and normally take three years to complete. Teaching is delivered through 15 academic Schools, which are grouped within 3 Faculties. Study Abroad students are permitted to select modules offered across different Schools or Faculties, provided they meet any pre-requisites.

A full list of modules in each subject area, and the semester in which they are normally available, can be found in the Course Catalogue and in the Faculty Guides and Subject Themes. Before you look at the Course Catalogue, we recommend that you read the useful information below about credits, module levels and module codes.


A full workload for one semester is 60 Units (also known as CATS points).  Study Abroad students normally select 3 modules, each with a weighting of 20 Units.  However, some subject areas also offer half modules worth 10 Units and double modules worth 40 Units.  Study Abroad students are expected to negotiate and arrange credit transfer with their home institutions, however, it may help to know that we consider one Queen's module (20 Units) to equate to approximately 5 US credits.

Module Levels

Modules in any particular subject are offered at a number of different levels representing different degrees of academic effort and intellectual challenge and assuming different degrees of prior knowledge of the subject:

  • Level 1 - modules are normally taken in the first year
  • Level 2 - modules are normally taken in the second year and may require a knowledge of material covered in Level 1 modules
  • Level 3 - modules are normally taken in the third year and may require a knowledge of material covered in Level 1 and Level 2 modules
  • Level 4 - modules are offered only in certain cases of degrees lasting four years

Module Codes 

Every module has a unique code which carries a range of information. The following is an example:


HIS 1 008
Subject   Level Number
in this case  1 = Level 1 module
HIS =  2 = Level 2 identifier
 History  3 = Level 3  

All the modules offered in any academic year, and the semester in which they are normally available, are listed in the Course Catalogue.

Teaching Methods

The way in which a module will be taught will depend on the subject matter but typically, the teaching of a module will be based on lectures, supported by tutorials or seminars. Depending on the subject, some modules may include practical sessions, for example, in the laboratory or fieldwork. Students are also expected to supplement formal teaching with their own private study.

Lectures are formal talks given at set times according to a timetable published in advance and normally last one hour. Depending on the subject and the module, the size of the class may vary from a few students to two hundred students. A lecture gives students the starting point for their work, brings them up to date with the results of recent research and, in some cases, provides a view of the topic with which they may agree or disagree. Some lecturers allow time at the end for questions but lectures are not the place for discussion of the material covered. Many students take notes of the main points the lecturer makes or in some cases the lecturer may provide hand-outs summarising them.

A tutorial or seminar is a group discussion lasting one or two hours. Typically a tutorial group might contain ten students and will be led by a tutor. The exact aspect of the subject under discussion will be determined in advance and students will be expected to have prepared beforehand by reading. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussion, perhaps offering different perspectives or suggesting new approaches.

Practicals take different forms depending on the subject. For language students, there may be sessions in a language laboratory. Students taking archaeology or geography may be required to attend field trips and expeditions. There are also laboratory-based classes for students taking science subjects like Chemistry or Physics and maybe computer-aided design classes for engineering students.

Not all study takes the form of formal teaching: students are expected to do their own private study. Most lecturers will provide students with readings lists for their modules and thereafter it is up to the student to decide how much reading he or she wants to do. How much time is devoted to private study is a matter for the individual but students are expected to demonstrate a certain degree of maturity in their approach to private study.


The assessment profile of each module can be found in the Course Catalogue.  It is normally made up of essays or coursework to be submitted throughout the semester, and may also have an end-of-semester examination. A tutorial contribution may also be an element.

Study Abroad students are expected to undertake the same workload as local students and to follow all aspects of the module, including attendance at classes and tutorials and completion of assessment and examinations.

View semester dates.

The final mark awarded for each module is on a scale of 1-100. Click here to view an approximate conversion between Queen's marks and the grading systems used in the USA, Canada and Australia. Note that this is an approximate conversion and your home institution may interpret differently the marks that you achieve at Queen's.

A transcript will be issued to your home institution within one month of the publication of results.

Previous section

How to Apply