Penn-in-London, England

Dates | Courses | Housing | Tuition & Fees | Information Sessions | Apply |  Photos | Contact

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 attending theatre performances three nights a week, student also participate in excursions to historic and literary sites in and around London that are relevant to their courses: museums and monuments, homes of writers and artists, palaces and historic sites. Program-arranged housing and classes are located in central London.

Read an article written for the Office of the Provost about Alexander Atienza's experience in London.

Apply Now

Program Calendar 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016 Recommended arrival in London
Saturday, June 18, 2016 Saturday, June 18, 2016
Sunday, June 19, 2016 On-site orientation
Monday, June 20, 2016 Classes start
Thursday, July 21, 2016 Classes end
Saturday, July 23, 2016 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.

Note for students from other academic institutions: One Penn c.u. is generally considered to be equivalent to three semester hours when transferred to another institution.

London Theatre
English 68 (1 c.u.) 

  • Co-taught by Michael Billington and David Espey  
  • Fulfills requirements: Humanities Elective, English and Theatre Arts Major or Minor Elective

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.)

Jane Austen
English 101.950 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Michael Gamer     
  • Fulfills requirements:
    Sector 4: Literature of the long 18th-century (ca. 1640-1832) of the Standard Major
    Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
    Sector III: Arts & Letters of the College's General Education Curriculum

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 all these guises, reading five of Austen's novels 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. Among our activities outside the classroom will be a Jane Austen London excursion and a country walk either to Box Hill or (weather permitting) to Chawton House in Hampshire, where Austen wrote most of her fiction

Culture and Copyright 
English 105 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Peter Decherney

In this course, we look at the history of copyright law in Britain and the US, and we explore the ways that copyright has both responded to new media and driven art and entertainment. How, for example, is a new medium (printed books, photography, recorded music, film and the internet) defined in relation to existing media? How does the law accommodate shifting ideas and circumstances of authorship? What are the limits of fair use (US) and fair dealing (UK)? And how have writers, artists, engineers and creative industries responded to various changes in copyright law? A major focus of the course is the lessons of history for the current copyright debates over such issues as file sharing, the public domain and new technologies. Making use of our surroundings, we visit the locations where copyright began and was first practiced in eighteenth-century London..

Chaucer at Large
English 225 (1 c.u.) 

  • Fulfills requirements: Sector 3 of the English major, and pre-1700 or pre-1900 seminar

This course introduces students to medieval English literature and culture through an overview of Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry. We read a variety of courtly poems such as the Parliament of Fowls (birds get together to discuss love and policy), The Legend of Good Women (women from classical mythology air their complaints), The Book of the Duchess (Chaucer comforts a grieving knight), as well as a number of the Canterbury Tales including the bawdy Miller's Tale (a college student seduces his landlord's wife), the shocking Pardoner's Tale (a preacher confesses publicly that he is fraud), the disturbing Prioress's Tale (Jews ritually murder a Christian boy), and the notorious Clerk's Tale (a despotic lord marries a peasant girl…and then...). Some concerns of the course include the competing values of aristocratic culture, the relation between poetic genres and social class, Chaucer's historical and mythographic consciousness, his classical and continental inheritance (Dante, Petrarch, Ovid, Boethius), and the peculiarities of fourteenth-century authorship, reading and performance (translation, the status of English, manuscript traditions). Readings are in Middle English, and we spend some time on pronunciation and reading skills, as well as investigating Chaucerian "keywords" such as truth, pity, courtesy, imagination and intention.


Students are housed at a private student hostel located in central London with convenient public transport accessBreakfast and kitchen facilities are provided.

Tuition & Fees

Please note: Summer 2016 program fee will be posted in February 2016. The program fee amount and Estimated Cost Sheet below are for 2015. 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 2016: $7,820
  • Program Fee for Summer 2015: $2,900
    Includes accommodation with weekday breakfast, theatre tickets, cultural activities organized by the program, and administrative costs.
  • 2015 Estimated Cost Sheet

Information Sessions

Join the program team for an information session to learn more about the details of the Penn-in-London program.

  • Thursday, November 19 at 4:30 p.m., Williams room 421
  • Thursday, December 3 at 4 p.m. in the Fisher Bennett Faculty Lounge, room 135
  • Tuesday, January 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Fisher Bennett Faculty Lounge, room 135


The application for Penn Summer Abroad 2016 will be opening later this year.

  • Early admission deadline: Friday, January 15, 2015
  • Rolling admissions continue until the program reaches capacity


View photos from past Penn-in-London trips.

Apply Now

Contact Information

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

Program Director
Emily Steiner
University of Pennsylvania
Tel: (215)-898-7033

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

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