London, England

Summer Abroad - London, England

As one of the Penn Summer Abroad centerpiece programs for over 30 years, the Penn Summer Abroad in London program offers students the opportunity to study literature, theater, art, and culture in of the most diverse and exciting urban centers in the world. Students choose two of the available courses, which explore topics in literature, theater, cinema, and culture. All courses involve field trips, attending world-class theatrical performances, and a variety of on-site, hands-on experiences. Each course also fulfills a general education and English major requirement.

Summer 2024 applications are now closed.

Application Open

November 15, 2023

Early Application Deadline

January 31, 2024

Final Application Deadline

March 1, 2024

Please join us for an information session to learn more about the Penn Summer Abroad London program.

Recommended arrival in London Saturday June 8 (a.m.)
Program housing check in date Saturday June 8
On-site orientation Saturday June 8
Classes start Monday June 10
Classes end Friday July 12
Program housing last checkout date Saturday July 13

All students register for a total of two course units (c.u.)*. Course offerings are subject to change. Course registration is completed by the Penn Summer Abroad office for students who confirm their intent to enroll and submit the required pre-departure documents.

Cultures of the Book

ENGL 1600 (1 c.u.)

  • Fulfills requirements: Sectors 1, 3, 4 of the English major and Sector IV Humanities and Social Sciences of gen ed

This course aims to challenge everything you thought you knew about books, reading, and writing. For this special “London edition,” we will focus on how cultural heritage has (and has not) been collected and exhibited in the city’s extraordinary libraries and museums. We’ll begin with the British Library, the largest national library in the world (and once part of the British Museum). We’ll explore the library’s rare treasures and learn how its staff use the latest technologies to make these important books accessible to a new generation of readers. At the same time, we’ll turn a critical, historical eye on the British Library as an institution, tracing its origins back to eighteenth-century imperialism and linguistic nationalism. How have Enlightenment values shaped what “counts” as literature? Who decides what texts are saved and read? With this history in hand, we’ll consider counter-archives where individuals have, over the centuries, saved what otherwise would have been lost. Roaming the back alleys of London, we’ll visit small zine libraries and collections of political ephemera. Throughout our discussions and site visits, we’ll keep an eye on the ethics of collecting cultural heritage and the passions that drive it. As a capstone assignment, students will collaborate on producing their own digital humanities project(s).

London Theater Experience

ENGL 1899 (1 c.u.)

  • Fulfills requirements: Sector 6 of the English Major, Sector III Arts & Letters of gen ed

London is one of the most exciting theatre centers in the world, and the focus of this course will be on live performance. We will attend theatrical productions 2-3 times a week, seeing a wide range of plays produced by companies such as the Royal National and the Globe, and staged in a variety of spaces, such as those in the mainstream of the West End (London's equivalent of Broadway), and in smaller, more experimental Fringe Theatres (what would be off-Broadway in New York City). Tickets will be arranged in advance. Readings for the class will range from plays to criticism and will include materials that a) prepare us to think and speak critically about theatre in general, and b) engage a range of specific perspectives on the particular productions we see. The class may be enhanced by visits from London theatre professionals occupying a range of positions (actors, designers, directors, etc.), and/or by field trips designed especially for this class.

London in the Movies

ENGL 1951 (1 c.u.)

  • Fulfills requirements: Sectors 2 & 6 of the English major

This course examines the central place of the city in the history of cinema, with a specific focus on London. Within this framework we will investigate the different dimensions of film form and the importance of historical and cultural contexts with special emphasis on themes of ideology, gender, race, and sexuality. Films to be discussed include Alfred Hitchock's 39 Steps (1935), Stephen Frears's My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and others.

Students are housed in a private student residence in London.

Tuition and fees are subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and may change without notice. Tuition and fees below reflect rates for 2023 or estimated rates for 2024. Rates for summer 2024 programs will be available in spring 2024.

  • Tuition for summer 2023: $5,012/c.u. General Fee: $432. Total: $10,456
  • Program fee for summer 2024: $4,300
    • Penn Summer Abroad deposits ($500) will be credited to students’ accounts when final program costs are posted
    • Includes administrative costs, accommodation including kitchen, and all group activities and excursions
    • Program fee does not include airfare

Download: Estimated Cost Sheet (PDF)

Penn Summer Abroad disclaimer

The running of all 2024 Penn Summer Abroad programs is dependent on approval from the Committee on Travel Risk Assessment (CTRA). Please be advised, CTRA approval may also be rescinded at any time prior to the running of the program. Programs may also be canceled independently of the CTRA process. Any of these scenarios would result in your summer 2024 Penn Summer Abroad Program not moving forward. All PSA students are strongly encouraged to consider the consequences if their summer 2024 program is canceled for any reason. Cancellations carry financial risks as well as academic risks, including the potential impact on academic progress.

Contact Information

For details about the program, courses, or location including academic advising, travel dates, housing, and orientation:

Whitney Trettien

Program Director
Whitney Trettien
Assistant Professor of English
University of Pennsylvania
Tel: (215) 898-7055

For assistance with the application, financial questions, pre-departure, or other general information:

Penn Summer Abroad Office

Penn Summer Abroad Office
College of Liberal and Professional Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Fisher-Bennett Hall, Room 101
3340 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104-3335
Tel: (215) 573-7016

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.