Semester in London
Binghamton University's Semester in London has been a part of the spring curriculum of the English Department of Binghamton University for nearly 40 years. It is open to all students (sophomores and above), regardless of major or university, the program is especially suitable for those with interests in the arts (literature, theatre, film, art and architecture) and in international culture. An English Department faculty member, together with several British adjunct professors, offer six courses especially designed to take advantage of the London setting and the accessibility of other important sites in the United Kingdom.
Classes take place in a well-appointed campus facility (the FSU Study Centre) in Bloomsbury, one block from the British Museum, and meet as once-a-week seminars typically on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursdays, though this is subject to change. This schedule permits ample time for students to explore London and beyond on their own. Each course carries four units of Binghamton University credit. Course approval for non-SUNY students must be granted by the student's home institution. We recommend that Binghamton students speak to an academic adviser in their school about their study-abroad plans.
In this program, London is often your classroom! Class meetings may take place in non-classroom settings such as a museum. For this reason, on site students will receive a small stipend for travel on the London tube and buses by means of an Oyster card valued at 50 British Pounds. Keep in mind you will be personally responsible for all local travel costs beyond this amount.
The program also includes a number of excursions and activities related to coursework and to cultural understanding. The spring 2017 program, directed by Professor Joseph Church, will include the following activities:
Binghamton Courses for spring 2017 are shown below as a point of reference. The course information for spring 2018 will be confirmed shortly.
- 8 outings to the theatre to see a variety of plays, both in London and while on excursions
- A day trip to Stonehenge and Bath
- A day trip to Oxford
- An overnight night trip to Stratford
- A two day/two night trip to York and Whitby
*The course listings are subject to change*
Each course is 4 credits. Students may choose to take 3 courses (12 credits), or 4 courses (16 credits). Accepted students will be sent a class selection form from Kerry Stamp, the program adviser, in early November. Typically students will have no problems getting into the classes that they would like to take and none of the class times conflict with each other, so it is a very simple class selection process. Students will not register on BU Brain or their home university's equivalent registration software like they typically would if they are taking classes on campus; instead, the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives will register you for the classes.
Art 200L: British Art and Architecture 'in Context'
This course will give students the opportunity to be exposed to and engaged with British Art and Architecture, past and present. We will be focusing on major painters, sculptors and architects in Britain from the time of Henry the VIII to the present. Rather than adopting a conventional chronological approach, British Art and Architecture will be studied through themes and historical events which deeply affected the arts. London itself will be our 'extended classroom': weekly visits to museums, galleries, churches and other institutions will provide the basis for on-site discussions in front of original works.
ENG 227: British Literature I or English 228: British Literature II
A survey of shorter works of poetry, prose, drama, and fiction in the long history of British literature, ranging from that of Chaucer and Shakespeare through the Augustans and Romantics to the Modernists. We’ll pay special attention to writings thematically pertinent to students’ studying abroad, works concerned, for example, with being young, traveling, being a stranger, meeting new people, carpe dieming, thinking about an education, the joys and meanings of art and life, the present and the future. In the UK, particularly in London, we’ll have an extraordinary opportunity to visit illuminating sites associated with our readings and discussions. Students will take the course as either ENG 227 British Literature I or ENG 228 British Literature II. *This course may fulfill the (H) Humanities requirement and (W) Writing requirement for students as eligible/applicable.
ENG 380S: Modern British Film
A study of some important British films depicting modern life in the UK, especially life in London. We’ll watch the films together, and then discuss their qualities and meanings. Films will include Julien Temple’s London: The Modern Babylon (2012), Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank (2009), Shane Meadows’ This Is England (2006), Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I (1987), Sally Potter’s Orlando (1993), Alan Clarke’s Made in Britain (1983), and Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996). *This course may fulfill the (H) Humanities requirement and (W) Writing requirement for students as eligible/applicable.
English 422L: Modern British Theatre
Modern British theatre, with London as its center, blends tradition and innovation to produce a remarkable blend of writing and performance styles. This course draws on London's rich cultural diversity as well as its centuries-long theatrical history to explore how the written word is realized on stage. Through regular theatre visits, participatory class exercises, and a final performance project, students gain understanding of the constraints and opportunities shaping theatre in London today.
English 245H/400H: Shakespeare on Stage
London offers a rich menu of Shakespeare productions. From the plays available during our stay in London, we will select for study a group that promises variety and interest, including fringe theatre. The class will read the plays, see them, and discuss the productions as well as the complex implications of the texts. The goal of the course is to discover the attraction of Shakespeare through the ages and to consider the connections between our culture and the one in which he wrote. In addition to seeing the plays in London, we will also go to Stratford-upon- Avon to visit his birthplace and to attend one or more theatre performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Students taking this class will have a guided tour of Shakespeare's Globe and Rose theatres, and will also see a play production at the Globe. All interested students on the program will be invited to join in these activities.
English 450W: British Life and Culture
The goal of this course is to give context to contemporary Britain through examining British politics and culture today historically grounded in an evolution from Empire to a modern democracy with significant differences from the United States. Roughly half the time will be at museums with the rest of the time spent in the classroom. Visits to assigned museums will be self guided based on instructor expectations. Students will have a range of options for exploring modern Britain, and will have the opportunity to create, with approval, substitute assignments that address the goal of understanding modern Britain.
Students live in central London, with typically five to seven per flat (however the flats can vary more widely at times, being set up to house as few as two and as many as ten students). Most students share a bedroom with one or two other students. The flats are small, but fully furnished, with linens, blankets, and towels, well-equipped kitchens, wifi, television, telephone, central heating, and washer-dryers. Larger flats have mutiple bathrooms. Weekly cleaning is included. All flats are located in the Bloomsbury-Clerkenwell district within a thirty-minute walk to campus . A staff person is on 24-hour call to deal with problems and to serve as an emergency contact person. The Bloomsbury-Clerkenwell neighborhood is lively and beautiful. Students enjoy lunching in Russell Square, just around the corner from their classrooms, wandering through the nearby British Museum, and shopping on Oxford Street and in Covent Garden. Students are within easy walking distance of much of central London, and have easy access to buses and the Tube for more extended travel.
Students who take the group flight are met at the plane and taken to the flats by chartered bus. The on-site program coordinator provides student support and is available to assist with student questions and concerns. A thorough orientation during the first few days helps students quickly acclimate to London, their flats, and the neighborhood. Students have immediate access to the library, computer labs, and student lounge at the FSU Study Centre. London offers an endless variety of attractions and events, and the central location of the students’ flats puts the city at their doorstep. Students consistently report that they spent little or no time in their flats other than for study—with all the excursions and trips to the theatre and personal travel there's just too much to see and do to waste time inside! London is one of the world’s great modern (and ancient) cities. To live and study there—and to travel to nearby realms—can broaden one’s perspective and deepen one’s life in immeasurable ways.
The 2018 Estimate of Costs sheet for Semester in London will be posted shortly. Please check back in late August.
Program Application Deadline: October 15, 2017
Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation: TBD
Group Flight Departs NYC: January 26, 2018
Orientation in London: January 28 - 29, 2018
Classes Start: January 30, 2018
Spring Break: TBD
Last Day of Classes: May 10, 2018
Group Flight Departs London: May 12, 2018
*all information is tentative and subject to change*
The Estimate of Costs is subject to change.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Students who receive financial aid have usually found that their aid packages can be adjusted to help meet the increased cost of study abroad. Financial Aid can be used to cover or support all program costs except the airfare. The Binghamton Office of Financial Aid Services can only consider the applications of students matriculated at Binghamton University for degree study. Other SUNY and non-SUNY students should contact the Financial Aid office at the home university for information about eligibility for all aid programs.5
Eligible students who are applying to the London program (Pell grant recipients) are strongly encouraged to pursue the Benjamin A. Gilman national scholarship. Students on this program may also be eligible for a Myers Family scholarship. Other national scholarships are available to be applied for as well. For more information please see our Scholarships web page. It is very important to plan ahead in regards to your scholarship applications, as deadlines will approach quickly.
The Semester-in-London application consists of an application form, a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, and several signature items.
Complete applications are due by October 15. However, you are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. There is limited space available.
The program is open to all students who have completed their freshman year, though preference is normally given to juniors and seniors; SUNY graduating seniors are welcome to participate in this program as their final semester of undergraduate work. The GPA requirement for the program is 2.5.
Please visit the Semester in London facebook page to learn more, and see photos and posts from alumni.
Please contact the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org or Professor Joseph Church at email@example.com with any questions.