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Courses: In the summer 2021 term, undergraduate courses in Arts & Sciences, Wharton, Weitzman School of Design, and School of Engineering & Applied Sciences will be delivered 100% online.
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London, England

Due to safety concerns and travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic, all Penn Summer Abroad programs will be suspended for summer 2021. Please note, this decision applies to Penn Summer Abroad only.
Summer Abroad - London, England

This program offers students the opportunity to study literature, theatre, art, and culture in one of the most diverse urban centers of the world. Students elect two courses from those offered:

  • The London Theatre Experience
  • Jane Austen
  • The Cultures of Collecting

There are a number of excursions during our five weeks, and all students are provided with tickets to all theatre performances whether they elect the Penn Theatre course or not.

Early admission deadline

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Rolling admissions continue until the program reaches capacity

Final application deadline

Monday, April 15, 2019

Join us for an information session to learn more about the program:

Date Time Location
Thursday, November 21 12-1 p.m. FBH 135
Wednesday, December 11 6:30-7:30 p.m. FBH 135
Monday, January 20 5-6 p.m. TBD
Saturday, June 20, 2020 Morning arrival in London
Saturday, June 20, 2020 Program housing check-in
Saturday, June 20, 2020 On-site orientation
Monday, June 22, 2020 Classes start
Thursday, July 23, 2020 Classes end
Saturday, July 25, 2020 Program housing last checkout date

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.

The Cultures of Collecting

ENGL 034 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Whitney Trettien
  • Fulfills requirement: Sector 4 of the College’s General Requirement, Humanities and Social Science and Sectors 1 and 6 of English Major

In this course, we’ll examine the chaos of memories contained in London’s extraordinary libraries. We’ll begin with the British Library, the largest national library in the world and the fount from which much literary research today springs. Working directly with early printed books and literary manuscripts, we’ll explore the Library’s rare treasures and learn how its staff uses 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 the institution’s 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, taking a different view on the chaos of memories. Throughout our discussions and site visits, we’ll keep an eye on the ethics of collecting and the passions that drive it. Students will collaborate on producing their own digital collection and through that process gain experience in planning, implementing, and coding a digital humanities project. 

Jane Austen

ENGL 101 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Michael Gamer
  • Fulfills requirement: Sector 3 of the College’s General Requirement, Arts and Letters and Sectors 2, 4 or 5 of English Major

At once acutely aware of popular culture and a product of it, Jane Austen read and wrote in popular forms, from epistolary fiction to Gothic horror to realism to raucous satire to popular theater. We'll survey her in most if not all of these guises, reading five of Austen's works during our time in London, including Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. On the way, we'll pay special attention to Austen's achievement as an innovator within the larger history of the novel. To that end, we'll focus on her experiments with form, voice, genre, and geography—particularly the relationship between country and city and the role that specific parts of London play in her novels. Among our activities outside the classroom will be (weather permitting) to Chawton House in Hampshire, where Austen wrote most of her fiction.

The London Theater Experience

ENGL 103 (1 c.u.)

  • Fulfills requirement: Sector 3 of the College’s General Requirement, Arts and Letters and Sector 6 of English Major

London is one of the most exciting theater 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, the Royal Court, and the Royal Shakespeare and staged in spaces such as those as well as in the West End (London's equivalent of Broadway) and in Fringe Theaters (what would be off-Broadway in New York City). Every Thursday we will be joined by Times theatre critic Samantha Marlowe, who will lead those sessions and share her knowledge as a theatre critic and practitioner. Tickets will be arranged in advance. Readings for the class will consist of responses to plays and productions. The class may also participate in field trips to other sites of theatrical interest, such as the Royal National Theatre and the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

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.

Please use 2019 costs listed below as general estimates only.

  • Tuition for summer 2019: $8,784
  • Program fee for summer 2019: $2,800
    • Penn Summer Abroad deposits ($500) will be credited to students’ accounts when final program costs are posted
    • Includes administrative costs, student accommodations, theatre tickets and cultural activities

Payment is due according to Penn’s Student Registration and Financial Services billing schedule.

Contact Information

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

Program Director 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) 898-7326

*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.