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Applications are now being accepted.
The deadline to apply to participate on a 2018-19 study group is November 15, 2017


The London English Study Group

Director Spring 2019: Morgan Davies, Professor of English

The History of the London English Study Group

In 1966, the English Department joined the Economics and the History Department in a modus vivendi, under the supervision of three Colgate faculty, one from each department. Professor Russell Speirs was the English Study Group first director. Similar to the other groups, the professor would teach three courses and supervise a special “intern” experience representing an independent study designed to take full advantage of the English environment. The English Study Group was required to take two or three courses offered by the department and one or two electives from the other departments. The courses depended on the leadership but every academic year, students (English concentrators: juniors and seniors) were required to take the Independent Project based on contemporary English work, such as contemporary English Theater. The courses would be offered simultaneously from September until November when all students would embark upon their Independent Study Project. Until recent years, housing used to be a challenge, students had to make their own travel and living arrangements, which took a long time to find fairly decent housing. After the January Term was no longer continued, the English Study Group in London was moved to the Spring Term. In the spring of 1979, the English Department expanded their study group so that it began operating on a full-year basis. Today, the English Study Group in London continues to operate in the spring semester opened to all students interested, but priority is given to declared/prospective English and English/Creative Writing concentrators.


This study group offers students the opportunity to live and study for a full semester in one of the world’s great cities.  In fact, London will be a central “text” of the study group, which is designed to immerse students in the culture, history, and life of the city.  Through a study of London novels, including several focusing on immigrants experiencing the dizzying complexity of the city for the first time, students will develop a sense of the physical and historical contexts of British fiction.  The impact of World War I on all aspects of English life and culture will be the special topic of a course in modern British literature, in which students will study a wide range of materials and visit museums, monuments, and other memorial sites in London.  In a course on the contemporary London theater, students will study with an acclaimed playwright and attend a play each week.  Finally, through a course on the history of London, which will include walking tours of all parts of the city, students will gain a further appreciation of its central place in Britain and its former empire, a magnet for immigrants who have transformed it into one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in the world.  

Required Courses

All students accepted into the group will take English 290, an introduction to study in London, 0.25-credit on-campus course in the fall of 2016; and four courses in London.  Three of those courses will offer credit in the English Department: English 324Y and English 331Y, both taught by the director; and English 332Y, taught by a resident theater specialist in London.  The fourth course will be History 348, taught by another resident specialist in London.   In addition to the four required courses, there will be a series of day and overnight trips, as described below under Field Trips. With minor adjustments, the program will hew to Colgate’s academic calendar for the spring semester of 2017, during which both Economics and History will also have study groups in London. Students participating in the English study group will satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement by taking English 324Y (see course description below).

English 324Y: Periods in British Literature: London in Fiction (L. Johnson)
In this course, we will explore the ways in which the city and urban life have been represented by fiction writers from Charles Dickens in the 1830s through the works of immigrant authors in “postcolonial” London.  Together, we will examine a series of interrelated topics, including the nature of the modern urban experience and its challenges to traditional modes of literary representation; the relation between the “real” and the imagined or invented city; the role of wealth, class, ethnicity, and race in the social dynamics of urban life; the impact of immigration and consequent development of diverse, hybrid communities; and evolving ideas of national character and identity, of “Englishness” and “England.” 

English 331Y: Modern British Literature (L. Johnson)
In recognition of the centenary of World War I, 1914-1918, in this course we will focus on the impact and legacy of the war in all areas of British culture, from works written during the conflict to recent works such as Pat Barker’s powerful novel Regeneration.  What was known as the “Great War” ushered in the modern era and radically altered the ways in which writers and other artists viewed the world.  In addition to novels and stories, poetry, and memoirs, the “texts” for the course will include war monuments and memorials, in both London and Belgium; paintings and exhibitions at institutions such as the Imperial War Museum; films; and, finally, a performance of the acclaimed contemporary play War Horse.

English 332Y: London Theater (M. Punter)
A study of drama, both classic and modern, as represented by plays in production in London during the spring of 2015.  Students will see and study roughly ten plays, focusing on theoretical and technical aspects of drama, as well as on what specific productions reveal about British culture or contemporary London.

History 349: History of the City of London (K. Layton-Jones)
A course in the social and cultural history of England’s greatest city. Every week, students will meet for one session in the classroom and one session in the form of a walking tour of London.

Field Trips

The group will take two overnight trips.  The first will be to the memorials and museums in Ieper (formerly Ypres), a town in Belgium where three major battles took place during World War I.  The second overnight trip will be to city of Bath, named a World Heritage site in recognition of its beautifully preserved architectural history, with stops at the ancient megaliths at Stonehenge and the evocative ruins of Tintern Abbey in Wales.  In addition to the visits to memorials and museums in and around London, the director will also arrange day trips to numerous other sites of cultural, historical, or natural importance, including Oxford, Cambridge, Battle (site of the Battle of Hastings), Canterbury, St. Albans, and Winchester, with a visit to the Jane Austen House Museum in nearby Chawton.       

Classrooms, Libraries, and Other Facilities

Classes will be held at Florida State University’s London Study Centre, a complex in the heart of Bloomsbury, just a couple of blocks west of the British Museum and British Library.  The complex houses a modest library and computer facility, which will be available to students. Students will become members of the University College London student union.

Living Arrangements

Students will reside in five- to six-person furnished flats in Bloomsbury, a five-minute walk from the FSU Centre. Each flat has a bathroom, kitchen, and common room.


For estimated details of student expenses on this study group, please see the Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

Priority will go to prospective English, English/Creative Writing and Theater concentrators in the class of 2018.  But there are no formal prerequisites for the program, and all Colgate students may apply, regardless of their concentration.   

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Spring 2017 London English Study Group is Friday November 6, 2015.   All applications are on the Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online.  The director will arrange interviews of applicants by email.  Student notification of selections will take place in late December.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2017.  All students participating on the Spring 2017 London English Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. visa.  With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off Campus Study, 101 McGregory Hall, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements.  For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

January 20th - May 13th, 2017

Informational Sessions

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 11:30 a.m.

Both informational sessions will be held in 408 Lathrop Hall

More Information

For more information, contact Prof. Linck Johnson by e-mail at