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London Economics Study Group

Directors, Fall 2019: Carolina Castilla and Benjamin Anderson, Department of Economics

The History of the London Economics Study Group

Similar to the Washington DC Study Group, the Economics Department first made available a similar opportunity with the inauguration of a study program in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1950, under the direction of Professor Frank A. Farnsworth, ’39; subsequently, others were conducted in Knoxville, Tennessee (1954); Atlanta, Georgia (1954); Norway (1960); and London, England (1962 to present). The Economics Department ran a study group in one of these the cities each year until 1959. The Norway study group ran for two years. It was Professor Freedman who in 1962 and traveling by ship, took the initial London Study Group in Economics beginning a tradition that continues today.

In 1966, the Economics, History, and English departments operated a coordinated program in London providing students with opportunities to meet and hear British scholars and public figures in and out of the classrooms, to carry advance work in their concentrations, to elect work outside their majors and to enjoy the unusual cultural advantages available at the time. Juniors and seniors, approximately 10 to 12 students in each of the three areas, participated in the fall every academic year. Jane Pinchin, Professor of English, William Askew, Professor of History, and Russell Speirs, Professor of Economics were the heads of their respective groups. The program allowed for interdepartmental research on the part of the participants. Previously, one of the drawbacks of the study groups abroad was that one could only do work in a single area. Thus, the student could almost complete his major in one semester, consequently missing the broadening effect of taking many different professors over a long period of time in his area of concentration. On the new London Study Group, however, students were required to do work outside of their area under the guidance of one of the three professors on the trip. By the same token, efforts were made to assure that there would be a reasonable amount of autonomy among the departments involved. History students, were required to choose an English course and English students to take one History course. Therefore, members of all study groups in London had to elect one course outside their field of concentration. Economics students were required to complete an internship in a selected British enterprise. The classroom that they used was located in the Central YMCA almost within the shadow of the British Museum. Students were responsible for finding and arranging for their own housing. In the pre-internet days, this involved staying in a hotel for a week and arranging directly with a landlord for their leases. Increasingly, it became difficult to find housing that was both cost-effective and of a high standard. Issues of quality housing resulted in Colgate later, assuming the responsibility for student housing for the London Study Groups.
Students pose for a photo in front of Stonehenge


The London Economics Study Group (LESG) is conducted each year by the Economics Department. It is one of the oldest of Colgate’s off-campus study programs and was the first of its kind to be established in London. Initiated in 1962, assisted significantly by numerous Colgate alumni in London, and developed over the years with the cooperation of UK officials and scholars, the program has become an important complement to the on-campus offerings of the Economics Department.

Briefly stated, its goals are:
  1. To contribute to student learning of general economic principles and methods of analysis at an advanced undergraduate level.
  2. 2. To develop an understanding of Britain’s economic problems and policy responses, and to extend the analysis into a wider European context.
  3. 3. To broaden student social and cultural perspectives in a different society, and to stimulate the development of personal career objectives.
The program provides the equivalent of a full semester’s work on campus. It consists of classroom meetings led by the Colgate professor directing the program, lectures by invited scholars and other professionals from the London area, and group visits to government and private institutions. Students usually conduct internships arranged with banks, businesses, legal, non-profit, and government agencies during the second half of the semester. Visits to Geneva and/or Ireland are planned (subject to students’ being able to obtain visas).

Classroom activities and lodging are conveniently located in the Bloomsbury district of central London – a short walk from the British Museum. This location in the heart of London maximizes students’ exposure to the many facets of cosmopolitan Euro-British culture. The location also provides ready access to important resources that serve the narrower academic purposes of the program.

Students participating on this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.
Tower Bridge Harry Potter studio tour London Eye

Description of the Courses Required in the Program

Three of the four courses required in the program will be for credit in economics. The British Economy (ECON 372Y) and Economics of the European Union (ECON 371Y) are the distinctive centerpieces of the LESG. The third required economics course is Sports Economics (ECON 3XXY).

Economics 372Y: The British Economy applies economic theory to the British context. It studies a selection of historical and current macroeconomic, industrial, public sector, and balance of payment problems and policy responses in the UK. It includes regular visits to local economic institutions for group discussions about their activities and perspectives on current economic and government policy issues. For most students, an internship experience in London forms the basis of the required short paper at the end of ECON 372Y. The internship gives students an opportunity to view UK economic life at the ground level while exploring possible career choices. Past internship sponsors in the London area have included banks and financial institutions, marketing firms, legal institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and labor unions. Though regularly offered, the internship is not a guaranteed component of the London Economics Study Group, as it is subject to economic fluctuations and various UK legal restrictions.
Lectures by various British professors are coordinated by the study group directors.

Economics 371Y: The Economics of the European Union deals with economic aspects of the functioning and development of the European Union. The courses focuses on issues related to international trade, environmental policy, fiscal policy and financial regulation in the EU context. In recent years, the causes and consequences of Brexit are carefully analyzed.

Economics 3XXY: Sports Economics
This course is an in-depth study of European open-economy macroeconomics, international trade, and international finance. This semester, the course will focus on monetary policy, European Monetary Union and the Euro, and financial crises.
Taught by Professor Anderson.

English 332Y: London Theater (M. Punter) is the non-economics required course. A study of drama, both classic and modern, as represented by plays in production in London. Students will see 10-12 plays, focusing on theoretical and technical aspects of drama, as well as on what specific productions reveal about British culture and contemporary London. This course satisfies one of the Humanities distribution requirements. 

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

The LESG is a selective program designed for the most highly qualified economics majors who apply to the program. All current sophomores and juniors with above-average GPAs and/or a B average or better in the core economics courses are encouraged to apply for admission. As part of the application process, all applicants will be interviewed by the faculty directors.  All LESG participants must have completed Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 25l) and Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 252), prior to the semester in London.

Living Arrangements

Students reside in apartment-style furnished flats in Bloomsbury.  Each flat is houses 5-6 students. Board will not be provided; students will be responsible for their own meals in London.  The flats are located within walking distance to the classroom facilities.

Calendar and Deadlines

Students travel to BrusselsThe study group application will open on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, and will close on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.   All applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study website and are submitted online at  Only finalists in the selection process will be interviewed. Interviews will be arranged by e-mail, and the faculty directors will announce admissions decisions in late December 2018 or early January 2019.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2020.  All students participating on the Fall 2019 London Economics Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. Tier 4 student 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 and International Student Services, 101 McGregory, 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.


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

Informational Sessions

Tuesday, October 23 at 11:30am in 208 Persson Hall

Friday, October 26 at 2:10pm in 208 Persson Hall

For more information, contact Carolina Castilla, or Benjamin Anderson,

Program Dates

Mid-August to mid-December, 2019

Other Resources

London: The Guide Book