Spring Quarter in London

"Literary London"

March 25 - June 7, 2014

Big Ben

The English Department's London Study Abroad program has been running continuously for more than 30 years! Here is what some of our recent participants have thought of it:

"Studying in London has been the highlight of my time as a UW student. Words can't really describe how exciting the city is and how much there is to experience and learn. Sometimes I couldn't believe how much history was at my fingertips. The faculty was great and the classes were fun and interesting. My fellow classmates also became great friends during our stay in London, a bonus which I count immeasurable!"

-- Erin McKiernan, Spring 2009 participant

"In Spring 2003, I was privileged enough to go to London with the English Dept. I have to say that it is still one of my fondest memories of my undergrad at UW. Even six years later, I am still in touch with many of the friends in London that I made there. I still have great memories of my visits to the British Museum, walking the Thames, and the amount of music I bought there!

I just wanted to let the Department know how important and how lasting of an impression such foreign exchange opportunities are to students during their academic tenure and beyond. It has been about 5 years since I made it back to London (blame it on graduate school), but I just wanted to extend my thanks to the Department for having this opportunity continue to exist for future study abroad students."

--Zachary Y Kerr, Spring 2003 participant

“There is nothing like having a classroom the size of a city and its surroundings – literally! Class time inside an actual classroom is minimal, as most learning takes place on the city streets, at historical sites (such as churches, museums and castles), at The Globe and other theatres in and near London, etc. The teachers also hold classes outside the city limits at places such as Stratford-Upon-Avon and Brighton so students can be exposed to more of an English experience than just London. The assignments are just as unique as the classes and turn out to be keepsakes, as the teachers create an incorporation of learning and visiting a foreign country through their assignments and classes, catering to the students' learning needs as well as their curiosity."

-- Lauren Duncan, Summer 2008 participant

The Program

During Spring Quarter 2014, the Department of English will again offer its highly successful program of study in London. We have found that by keeping our numbers small, by tailoring our courses to what is immediately able to be seen in London and in England, and by asking students to actively participate, everyone emerges feeling fuller, as students, as tourists, as people.

The program will consist of four courses: London's Contemporary Theater taught by Dr. Carrie Matthews of the UW English Department, Victorian London (And Its Afterlife), taught by Professor Charles LaPorte of the UW English Department, Art, Architecture, and Society taught by British Professor Peter Buckroyd, and Contemporary Britain taught by British Professor Michael Fosdal. Professors Buckroyd and Fosdal are our London faculty, and have been teaching our students to rave reviews for more than ten years. (Three classes are considered a full-time load, but students may take all four if they wish.)

Students in the program will maintain their UW residency and any financial aid eligibility already established. Credits earned will be recorded on students' UW transcripts and apply directly to UW graduation requirements. Credits earned in English courses may be used to satisfy requirements for the English major.

Housing and board for students will be arranged with families in London. A London Transport pass, good for travel on subways and busses, will be supplied.

If you would like to be added to an email list to receive updates about this and other English department study abroad programs, please click here to subscribe to the engl_abroad mailing list.



Carrie Matthews

London's Contemporary Theater

ENGL 444, Dramatic Literature: Special Studies, VLPA

5 credits

Taught by Dr. Carrie Matthews, UW English Department Faculty

London has an incredibly vibrant theatre scene: well over ten million people a year attend performances in the West End alone! In this class we will see several theatrical productions together with the goal of becoming more informed, confident and, especially, active consumers of contemporary theatre. We will approach this goal in five ways. First, we will critically discuss the plays we view. Second, we will read some of these plays before we actually see them on stage to envision possibilities for dramatic representations of them. Third, you will write about what you see in a performance journal that you will keep over the course of the quarter. Fourth, we’ll engage in a range of informal dramatic exercises to introduce you to theatrical techniques that will help you actually “see” what’s happening on stage. And fifth and finally, we’ll visit several physical sites with special importance to the history of drama in London, such as the Globe Theater, The National Theater, The Theater Museum, and the Southbank environs of Shakespeare's London. For fans of the English-language theater, London is the sacred ground of sacred grounds. (The course will also be linked with an excursion to Stratford Upon Avon and the newly reopened Memorial Theater.)

This course meets the Senior Capstone Requirement for English majors.

Return to Menu

Charles LaPorte

Victorian London (And Its Afterlife)

ENGL 335 English Literature: Age of Victoria

5 credits

taught by Professor Charles LaPorte, UW English Department Faculty

Queen Victoria's London was the most populous city in the world, capital of the world's first industrialized society and (partly owing to this) a city that evidenced wealth and poverty on a whole new scale. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, London had a million inhabitants; at its close, it had nearly seven times that number. London's Victorian inhabitants thus struggled with urban, industrial modernity in ways that we, their heirs, can clearly appreciate nearly 200 years later. We can go so far as to say that the Victorian era gave rise to modernity as we presently experience it, from the first appearance of modern vehicles (including trains, subways, and bicycles) to the first instantaneous electronic communication (the telegraph). These years also witnessed the birth of mass literacy and widespread new discussions of women's rights, children's rights, and animal rights. For these and other reasons, the Victorians were self-consciously modern in ways that we tend to think of as unique to our own time.

This class will combine literary and cultural readings from the Victorian period with excursions to London sites like Charles Dickens's and Thomas Carlyle's respective nineteenth-century houses (preserved for us by antiquarians), 221 B. Baker Street, the fictional residence of Sherlock Holmes (preserved for us by Doyle enthusiasts), and the Tate and Victoria and Albert Museums, thereby fostering a taste not just for Victorian literature itself, but also for the sense of place that imbues it. Students in the course should look forward to studying novels, essays, poetry, and the visual arts.

This course meets the Histories of Language and Literature requirement for English majors.

Return to Menu

Peter Buckroyd

Art, Architecture, and Society

ART H 399, Special Topics in Art History

5 credits, VLPA

taught by Professor Peter Buckroyd, British Faculty

This course is interdisciplinary. The material is London itself. The course is taught entirely on the streets and in buildings, ranging from medieval, Elizabethan and Jacobean to Victorian, modern and post-modern. As well as equipping students to look more carefully at buildings, pictures and sculpture, the course encourages them to do some imaginative re-creation, considering what it might have been like to have lived at different times in the past as a member of different social classes. Field trips, to locations like Stratford Upon Avon, are included, typically via chartered bus with professional drivers. Students usually stay in established B&B's for any overnight trips.

Return to Menu

Michael Fosdal

Contemporary Britain

HIST 490, Topics in History

5 credits, I&S

taught by Professor Michael Fosdal, British Faculty

This course introduces students to various aspects of life in Britain, from royalty to the homeless, from politics to sport. There is a major emphasis on direct contact with the people and institutions of contemporary Britain, including meetings with homeless people and politicians, visits to Parliament and the media, and individual research projects which encourage students to follow up their own interests. The course also looks at issues such as race, crime, the family and the problems (and delights) of being young in Britain today. The course should enable students to gain a deeper understanding of contemporary Britain and equip them better to understand their own society.

Return to Menu

Important Dates

Pre-Departure Orientations

Participants will be required to attend a total of three pre-departure orientations in Seattle during Winter Quarter. The first English Department orientation will be on Friday, January 31, from 3:30-5:20pm and the second will be on Friday, March 7, from 3:30-5:20pm.

Program participants must also attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office.You must register for this orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of the IPE website to view the current orientation schedule. The general Study Abroad orientation must be completed prior to March 1, 2014.

Any problems or financial losses that occur as as a result of not attending the orientations are entirely the responsibility of individual students.

The Spring in London program begins with two days of required on-site orientation sessions in London scheduled for all day Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28, 2014.

Return to Menu


Spring 2009 group (photo courtesy Erin McKiernan, Spring 09)

The London program values diversity. Any UW student from any campus, including Evening Degree, is eligible to apply to the program. It is recommended (though not required) that applicants have successfully completed a 200-level literature course at the UW prior to participation. We try to provide as much information as possible on this site and in our printed materials, but that is no substitute for human interaction. We strongly recommend that interested students attend an Information Session or meet individually with Bridget Norquist or Professor Webster.

Enrollment is limited to 30 students.

Return to Menu

Application and Deadlines


To apply, please use the online application on the study abroad website

Application Deadline: November 8, 2013

The application includes

**In most cases, we require that letters of recommendation come from UW Faculty or Teaching Assistants. However, if you are a new transfer student (particularly if this is your first quarter @ UW) we will accept letters from faculty from your transfer school(s) in lieu of (or in addition to) UW Faculty recommendations. Letters from family friends, employers, high school counselors, or high school teachers generally will not meet the requirement. If you have any questions about this or any other part of your application, you are more than welcome to contact Bridget Norquist or Professor Webster.

Following the on-line application process, students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview.

Spring in London 2014 Online Application

Depending on the applications submitted, we may maintain a waiting list for the program. Students who are invited to participate in the program will be required to return a signed payment contract and risk form before the deadline indicated in their acceptance email.

Questions? Contact Bridget Norquist in English Advising for more information.

Return to Menu


The program fee will be $6,765 (based on current exchange rates). This fee includes: instructional costs, room, two meals per day (breakfasts and dinners), a London Transport pass, excursions, and textbooks. No additional tuition payment is required, resident and non-resident students all pay the same fees.

Fees do not include: the $300 non-refundable Study Abroad Office fee, airfare, weekday lunches, mandatory health insurance and other health-related expenses, or personal spending money.

So how does this compare to a quarter at the UW? According to the UW Financial Aid Office, a Traditional, Resident Undergrad would budget for about $10,657 per quarter for resident tuition, books, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.

Source: UW Financial Aid Office.

Warwick Castle

In London, because participants' instructional costs, course excursions, books, transportation, housing and two meals per day are covered by the program fee of $6,765, your other expenses will chiefly be for airfare/travel, weekday lunches, personal expenses, and health insurance.

Airfare varies, but recent participants have paid around $1,200 for a plane ticket. Personal expenses can vary greatly from person-to-person, but with basic expenses (instructional costs, room and two meals a day, London transport pass, excursion tickets) paid as part of the program fee, your principal costs will be for lunch and pocket/shopping money.

You can lunch reasonably on £ 7 ($11) or less a day if you are economical; other costs will vary immensely depending on what you like to do, and whether you like to shop. London is a fairly expensive city with lots of good things to spend money on. A ballpark figure for a moderate spender has been about $2,000 for the quarter ($200/week); if you like to shop, you can spend more, but if you are economical, you can get by with a little less.

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to participants' MyUW student accounts and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. A $350 non-refundable program deposit and $300 non-refundable Study Abroad Office Fee will be charged to your MyUW Account once your signed contract has been received by the Study Abroad Office.

  • $350.00 non-refundable program deposit charged after payment contract is received and processed by the Study Abroad Office.
  • $300.00 non-refundable Study Abroad Office fee due April 18, 2014.
  • $6,415 remaining program balance due April 18, 2014.

Total fees: $7,065.

Note: Program fees are paid in dollars; most program expenses are paid in pounds. The English Department program in London reserves the right to modify the program fee based upon dollar devaluation or severe inflation. In this unlikely event, students will be notified of the increase and an adjustment will be made to the final program payment.

Return to Menu

The University of Washington has a mandatory comprehensive health insurance plan that is specifically for students studying abroad on UW programs like the Department of English Spring in London Program. It has a very low premium: approximately $42 per month for the duration of the program.

Please visit their webpage or contact the Study Abroad Office for more information.

Mandatory UW Study Abroad Health Insurance Plan

The $350 program deposit and $300 Study Abroad Office Fee are non-refundable. Students withdrawing from a program will be responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy will be included in participants' payment contracts. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the Study Abroad Office.

Shakespeare property, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing, completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Return to Menu

Financial Aid

Warwick Castle

Students can apply any federal, state, or institutional aid awarded to support their study abroad costs but cannot use tuition waivers or work-study awards. Private scholarships are generally applicable to study abroad but you must verify the conditions of your award with the scholarship administrator or donor directly.

Revision Request:

You can request an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds) from the Financial Aid Office if the cost of the program exceeds the regular budgeted amount for a student living in the Seattle area. To do this, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

1. Revision Request Form

2. Budget of student expenses for your program: available under the "documents" tab on participants' study abroad accounts once a payment contract has been submitted to the Study Abroad Office.


Please remember that financial aid and most scholarships will be disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid award will not be disbursed until after the start of the program. If your program begins after the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid award will be delayed until the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare and health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you plan your foreign study.

Short-term Loans:

The Financial Aid Office does have a Short-Term Loan Program to assist students with temporary cash flow problems. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in regular classes in the UW Student Database. Students studying abroad during Spring quarter will need to apply for a short term loan before the end of Winter Quarter.


Fritz Undergraduate Scholarships provide competitive funding to undergraduate students in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Washington through the Chester Fritz Endowment.

GO! Scholarships are funded by the Washington State Legislature and provide students with significant financial need access to international learning opportunities. The scholarship is limited to UW students who are Washington State residents.

The UW Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards is an excellent resource for additional undergraduate scholarship advice and options.

English Majors (officially declared as of Winter Quarter 2014 or earlier) are also eligible to apply for the June Yeakel Barnes and the Robert Hardy Barnes Wings to London Scholarship.

Return to Menu


Janet Dunlop

Since 1986, Janet Dunlop has been our London Homestay Coordinator. She screens prospective homestay families for our program, and matches students up with London families. Homestays are an integral part of the program, giving students a unique opportunity to live like a Londoner, a cultural experience that dorms and apartments just don't provide. Janet Dunlop lives in London, and she is available to assist students throughout the program.

A London Neighborhood

London is a large city. Few people can afford to live in the very center of town, and commuting is a way of life. Students should expect a commute to and from class of about 35-45 minutes, via The Underground or bus. All students will receive a London Transport Pass, good on underground trains, over ground rail, and busses between the homestay zone and central London (included in the program fee.)

SCHEDULE NOTE:  As noted above, the program begins with two days of required on-site orientation sessions in London scheduled for all day Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28. Students will be expected at their homestays Tuesday or Wednesday, March 25 and 26, and must plan their travel so they arrive in London no later than March 26 so they will be ready to attend the first on-site orientation on Thursday morning. They will be expected to leave their homestays on the morning of Saturday, June 7.  

Return to Menu

Teaching Style/Classroom

Visit to Sir Albert Memorial

Michael Fosdal's
"Contemporary Britain" class

Courses in the London Program are taught as much on the streets and in the museums, theatres, and art galleries of London as possible. Thus all the courses in the program include travel and walking to various London destinations. To successfully participate in this program, students must be capable of meeting the physical requirements the courses demand.

Russell Square, Bloomsbury
a short walk from the classroom

While much of the program will take place on the streets and in the buildings of London, there will still be time spent in our classroom on 6 Great James Street, which is located in the Holborn neighborhood in central London. Credits and grades earned on the London Program will count toward UW residency and degree totals. Students receive regular, numeric grades that are factored in to their UW GPAs. Contact Bridget Norquist in English Advising with questions about registration, credits, or grading, and/or visit the UW Study Abroad FAQ page.

Concurrent Enrollment for UW Study Abroad programs will be discussed at the pre-departure meetings. Students may also reference the Study Abroad website for more information.

Return to Menu

Excursions/Group Trips

Some excursions and group trips are included. Transportation for field trips will be via chartered bus with professional drivers. During overnight trips, students are housed in established hotels or bed and breakfasts. Pictured here are some typical destinations, but please note that the Spring 2014 excursions have not yet been finalized.

bus ride to Stratford


view from Warwick Castle ramparts

Stonehenge, courtesy freephoto.com

view from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral

Museum Visit with Peter Buckroyd

Historic London Pub Tour

Return to Menu

Contact Information

a decorative gate, Bloomsbury

Professor John Webster
London Program Director

Bridget Norquist
Academic Adviser

Return to Menu


You will need a passport to travel to the United Kingdom. It can take time for your application to be processed and your passport issued, so it's a good idea to apply for (or renew) your passport as early as possible. As of September 2013, according to the U.S. government's passport services website, the total cost is $135 for a 10-year passport, and the University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way NE, is the passport acceptance facility closest to campus. The most extensive passport information, including application procedures, fees, office locations, and even printable application forms you can download, is available from the State Department's passport services website. Some general information on applying for passports is also available by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free number: 1-877-487-2778, while an automated appointment line and some general information is available at the Seattle Passport Agency: (206) 808-5700.

If you are not a U.S. Citizen, a visa, or additional documentation, may be required for your period of study in the United Kingdom. If a visa is required, international students participating on the program are encouraged to obtain their student visitor visas and/or any other required documentation no later than January 31, 2014. It can take the UK Border Agency several weeks to process your application and to issue your visa. Participants should begin the application process as early as possible (but no earlier than 90 days before your arrival date in London).

We will assist students with this process in any way we can, but please remember that we are not immigration experts. Obtaining a visa (should you need one) is your responsibility. If you've been accepted to the program and you think you need a visa, contact Bridget Norquist in English Advising for more information.

Return to Menu

Travel Arrangements

Statue of John Betjeman
St. Pancras Station

Participants make their own travel arrangements - there is no group flight to London. Airfares fluctuate too often and too much to make any estimates here, but we encourage students to begin shopping for flights as soon as they are officially enrolled in the program. Council/STA Travel is a student-friendly travel agency we recommend, but students often find great deals on their own by taking advantage of frequent flyer miles and individual airline promotions.

NOTE to participants: Please be wary of some of the cheap airfare websites. Read all the fine print. Tickets may not be changeable, and flights may not always fly as scheduled. Students have run into problems with these sites in the past. Just use your best judgment and consider your options carefully.

IMPORTANT:  As noted above, the program begins with two days of required on-site orientation sessions in London scheduled for all day Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28. Students will be expected at their homestays Tuesday or Wednesday, March 25 and 26, and must plan their travel so they arrive in London no later than March 26 so they will be ready to attend the first on-site orientation on Thursday morning. They will be expected to leave their homestays on the morning of Saturday, June 7.

Return to Menu

London Weather - What to pack?

The photos below were taken in April 2008, within a few days of each other. Londoners open many conversations with comments about the weather - and with good reason. London weather is unpredictable and often mercurial; over the course of a single, Spring day, one might see sun, rain, hail, and sleet. Students often ask us what to pack. There are two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they did. We recommend that students pack a week's worth of clothing, with options for layering. Comfortable shoes and a waterproof shell are must-haves, and students should keep in mind that they will have limited storage space in their host family's home. For more packing and backpacking ideas, check out the Rick Steves' website.

London, April 5, 2008 (yes, that is snow)

London, April 8, 2008 (a bright, sunny morning)

Return to Menu

More Web Sites 

There are innumerable sites on the Web pertaining to London and the United Kingdom.  Let your favorite search engine loose and explore. Here are just a few links to help you get started:

Return to Menu

to home page