Penn-in-London, England

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Delve into the world of British theatre, literature, and film in this ancient yet very modern metropolis.

All courses in this five-week intensive program offer University of Pennsylvania credits. In addition to a wide variety of theatre performances, the program includes group excursions to cultural sites. Program-arranged housing and classes are located in the Notting Hill neighborhood of central London.

Program Calendar 2014

Arrive in London Saturday, June 14, 2014
On-site Orientation Sunday, June 15, 2014
Classes Start Monday, June 16, 2014
Classes End Thursday, July 17, 2014
Depart London Saturday, July 19, 2014
(check-out by noon)

Course Information

All students register for a total of two course units (CUs). 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.

Note for Visiting Students: One course unit (CU) is generally considered to be equivalent to three semester hours when Penn coursework is transferred to another institution.


The English Novel in London

Fulfills Sector 5 of the English major.
Taught by Deborah Burnham, University of Pennsylvania

Novelists have been endlessly fascinated by the appeal of this great city. In this short survey of the short novel, we'll explore this fascination in several books that show how the vibrant and sometimes dangerous city life shapes, or mis-shapes, the characters' experience. Readings will likely include: Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and a London-based detective story. Students may also see portions of some films. Course requirements include brief discussion questions for each text, and a longer final project, due after the end of the course.

British Cinema
This course fulfills Sector 6 of the English major's core requirement; Cinema Studies elective.
Taught by David Espey, University of Pennsylvania

British movies provide dramatic insights into British culture and history. Each week, we'll view and discuss two or three modern and contemporary films about subjects from Shakespeare to royalty to the British Empire to London of the singing '60s to immigrants in London today. Our focus will be on class and racial distinctions, gender roles, cinematic techniques, literary adaptations, film genres, and performance. We'll also visit local sites of cinematic interest and consider in what ways the movies represent British society. Coursework will include a film journal and brief final essays.

London Theatre Experience
This course fulfills Sector 6 of the English major; Theatre Studies elective.
Taught by Michael Gamer, University of Pennsylvania

London is one of the most exciting theatre centers in the world, and the focus of this course will be on live performance. The “London Theatre Experience” will provide an incomparable opportunity to learn about a wide range of dramatic forms, acting styles, theatrical conventions, and performance spaces. We will attend three performances each week, produced by companies such as the Royal National, the Royal Court, and Shakespeare’s Globe; we will also see a diverse selection of pieces staged in the historic theatres of the West End (London’s equivalent of Broadway) and in Fringe Theatres, smaller and sometimes “converted” spaces in pubs, warehouses, and even out-of-doors (London’s version of “off-” and “off-off-” Broadway). Class meetings will consist primarily of discussions about the productions we have seen; once each week, Michael Billington, distinguished theatre critic for the Guardian newspaper, will lead the conversation. (Note: Tickets and tours will be arranged in advance; costs are covered by program fee.)

The English Short Story
This course fulfills Sector III of the General Education Requirement and Sector 6 of the English major.
Taught by Deborah Burnham, University of Pennsylvania

A selective survey of modern and contemporary British short fiction. We'll start with turn-of-the-century writers like Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, and Joseph Conrad, and continue through D.H. Lawrence and Graham Greene to contemporary writers like Allen Sillitoe, Angela Carter, and Ian McEwan. We'll also look at Irish writers like James Joyce, as well as Asian and African writers who set their fiction in Great Britain. We'll consider the structure as well as the appeal of short fiction and the various subjects it treats: loss of innocence, rite of passage, adventure, crime, social justice, religious belief, class, sexuality, racial difference, satire, or fantasy. We'll make use of our London location whenever possible. Course requirements will include brief reading notes for each assignment, and a longer paper, due after the end of the course.


Students are housed at a private student hostel located in the attractive neighborhood of Notting Hill on the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees are subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and may change without notice.

  • Tuition for Summer 2014: $7,228 ($3,614 per CU)
  • Program Fee for London 2014: $2,860
    Includes accommodation with weekday breakfast, theatre tickets, cultural activities organized by the program and administrative costs.
  • Click here to view the Penn-in-London 2014 Estimated Cost Sheet.

Information Sessions

Information sessions for Penn Summer Abroad 2015 will be scheduled shortly. Please contact the Penn Summer Abroad office with any program-related questions at


The application for Penn Summer Abroad 2015 will be opening later this year.

Contact Information

Program Director
for details about the program, courses, or location including academic advising, travel dates, housing and orientation

Professor Michael Gamer
Department of English
University of Pennsylvania
Tel: 215-620-9765

Penn Summer Abroad Office
for assistance with application, financial questions, pre-departure, or other general information

Penn Summer Abroad
College of Liberal & Professional Studies (LPS)
University of Pennsylvania
3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335
Tel: 215-746-7075
Fax: 215-573-2053