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 four-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 2015

Recommended arrival in London Saturday, June 13, 2015
Program housing first available Saturday, June 13, 2015
On-site orientation Sunday, June 14, 2015
Classes start Monday, June 15, 2015
Classes end Thursday, July 16, 2015
Program housing last checkout date Saturday, July 18, 2015


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.)

Victorian Literature and Film
English 55 (1 c.u.) 

  • Taught by Paul Saint Amour     
  • Fulfills requirements: Humanities Elective, Cinema Studies Major and Minor Elective, English Sector  

This course introduces students to the literature of the Victorian period (1837 - 1901) through the aperture of adaptation. We'll pay special attention to the mingling of media in the nineteenth century: poems that channel song, prose essays that aspire to the condition of painting, and novels that absorb or represent elements of theater, phonography and photography. We'll dip into theories of transmedia adaptation. And of course we'll screen some of the great twentieth-century film and television adaptations of Victorian works by the likes of Brontë, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Stoker and Wilde.

Jane Austen
English 101 (1 c.u.)

  • Taught by Michael Gamer 
  • Fulfills requirements: Humanities Elective

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.

Modernist London
English 61/261 (1 c.u.) 

  • Taught by Paul Saint Amour      
  • Fulfills requirements: English Major Sector VI and 200-level seminar

Shakespeare, Victoria, the Blitz, mods versus rockers: your first associations with London may not be with modernism. But the city played host to some of the early twentieth century's most fascinating experimental movements in literature and the visual arts. This course will explore works by the Rhymer's Club, the Vorticists, the Imagists and Bloomsbury, while also tracing London's role as a node in modernism's transnational emergence and circulation. Works by Eliot, Forster, Lewis, Lowell, Pound, Woolf, Yeats and others; visits to architectural sites and exhibits of modernist visual art. Students taking the course as English 261 would do a research paper in addition to the other course work. 


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

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 2015: $7,520
  • Program Fee for Summer 2015: $2,900
    Includes accommodation with weekday breakfast, theatre tickets, cultural activities organized by the program, and administrative costs.

Information Sessions

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

All information sessions are located in Fisher-Bennett Hall, room 136.

  • Tuesday, November 11 at 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 10 at 5 p.m.


  • Early admission deadline: Friday, January 16, 2015
  • Rolling admissions continue until the program reaches capacity

Apply Now

Contact Information

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

Program Director
David Espey
University of Pennsylvania
Tel: (610) 664-5684

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