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London Economics Study Group

Director, Fall 2017: Chad Sparber, Department of Economics
Students pose for a photo in front of StonehengeThe Economics Department conducts the London Economics Study Group (LESG) each year. Initiated in 1962, it is one of Colgate’s oldest off-campus study programs and was the first of its kind to be established in London. Assisted significantly by London’s scholars, government officials, business leaders, and numerous Colgate alumni, 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] To develop an understanding of Britain’s economic problems and policy responses, and to extend the analysis into a wider European context.

[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 firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies during the second half of the semester.

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.

Visits to institutions in other parts of Europe have become an important extension to the UK-based program since 1973.
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 likely to be Urban Economics (ECON 333).

The British Economy (ECON 372Y) 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 interviews about their activities and perspectives on current economic and government policy issues.

For most students, a concurrent internship experience in London forms the basis of the required short paper at the end of ECON 403Y. 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.

Coordinated by the study group director.
This course has been approved for GE credit.

The Economics of the European Union (ECON 371Y) covers economic aspects of the functioning and development of the European Union.  ECON 401Y effectively extends the scope of ECON 403Y to encompass Britain’s economic role and relationship with the European Union.

Taught by a local adjunct professor.

Urban Economics (ECON 333) describes the formation and characteristics of urban areas including economies of scale, sources of urban economic growth, land-use patterns, housing, segregation, government policy, and local public goods provision. Special emphasis will be placed upon European cities.

Coordinated by the study group director.

Contemporary London Theater and Culture (English 332Y) is the non-economics required course.  Students will study and watch approximately ten plays in London. The focus will be not only on what specific productions can reveal about contemporary London or British theater and culture, but also on what they can reveal about technical and theoretical aspects of contemporary theater more generally.  This course satisfies one of the Humanities distribution requirements.

Taught by a local adjunct professor.

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

The LESG is a selective program designed for the most highly qualified students within its annual pool of applicants. 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.

All LESG participants must have completed Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 25l), Macroeconomics (ECON 252), and Statistics (MATH 105, CORE 143S, or Equivalent).          

Living Arrangements

Colgate University has made arrangements with ACORN Educational Services to provide housing in London, which will be billed through Colgate. The flats are located within walking distance from the classroom facilities. Each flat is apartment-style and houses 5-6 students, which may include students from other Colgate study groups. Board will not be provided; students will be responsible for their own meals during their stay abroad.

Calendar and Deadlines

Students travel to Brussels
The deadline for applications to the Fall 2017 London Economics Study Group is Friday November 4, 2016.   All applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online.  Only finalists in the selection process will be interviewed. Interviews will be arranged by e-mail, and student notification of selection will take place late December 2016.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2017.  All students participating on the Fall 2017 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/International Programs, 101 McGregory Hall, and International Student Services, 103C  Lathrop, 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 25, 2016 at 11:30 a.m. in 208 Persson Hall.

For more information, contact Chad Sparber, 233 Persson Hall 315-228-7967 or

Program Dates

Mid-August to mid-December, 2017

Other Resources

London: The Guide Book