Cover Photo Image

JMU North of England Programme (NOEP)

Location

Chester, Durham, York, and Manchester, England

Program Description

The North of England Programme immerses students in the rich culture of this distinctive region within the UK, especially in History, Literature and Politics. It covers the entire period from the ancient world to 1997 with fairly even coverage of Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern periods. The many sites and museums we visit in the four cities in which we stay both reflect and augment the classroom experience.

General education and upper level courses are available. Students from all majors are welcome in NOEP.  

Amongst the highlights of NOEP are Hadrian's wall, Fountains Abbey, three cathedrals, walking the city walls of York and Chester, the Georgian splendour of Fairfax House and the glorious cuisine (yes, really!). In general, former NOEPi have particularly commented on their love of the very rich and varied architectural and artistic traditions. Come and enjoy the hospitality of the North and acquire life-long memories from NOEP 2018.

Location Description

NOEP 2018 visits the historic cities of Chester, Durham and York and the great post-industrial city of Manchester. All four reflect the history of the North over the centuries. Chester and York were Roman cities with legionary garrisons as well as important Medieval sites with great cathedrals, abbeys and city walls. Both enjoyed a renaissance in the elegant Georgian period. Durham was a major medieval fortress-city with a beautiful early Norman Cathedral. All three cities remain picturesquely lovely. Manchester was a Roman centre and later a market town which exploded in size to become the living heart of the Industrial Revolution. Its modern vibrancy and diversity continues to make the city a major cultural attraction.

Director

Stephen Chappell | chappesx@jmu.edu | History

Accommodations

Chester, Durham and Manchester accommodations are university housing with ready internet access.  In York, we stay in the beautiful Alcuin Lodge and the Hedley House Hotel.

Students have breakfasts included with accommodation and twenty pounds per day additionally for lunch and dinner. This is a generous allowance.  There are in addition several group meals in various settings.

Additional Items to Consider

Students who choose History 489 will write a research paper on the history or politics of Northern England.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to all majors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now

Application Deadline

Dates


All dates are tentative and subject to change

Courses

HIST 391: Travel Studies Seminar: The Life, History, and Culture Northern England - Mandatory for All Students (3 credits)

HUM 250: Foundations of Western Culture: The Ancient Mediterranean (3 credits)

HIST 271: The Ancient Mediterranean (3 credits)

ENG 302: Special Topics in Literature and Language: Literature in Northern England (3 credits)

HIST 489: Selected Topics in World History: Northern English History and Politics (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.

Cost

Student Testimonials

Jack Droesch (2017)

NOEP was my first time studying outside of the country, and everyone in the group I was in was also relatively foreign to me. Not only had i never taken a class with Dr. Chappell, but I had also exchanged very few words with most of the students in and out of a classroom setting. While this situation may intimidate most people (myself included), I am pleased to say that my experience from the trip was nothing short of extraordinary. The program takes you to stunning locations and gives enough freedom to explore the individual cities that you go to. From Durham to York, every city you go to presents a different feel, from big modern cities like Manchester to quaint historic cities like Chester. I especially enjoyed Hadrian's Wall, which gave a glimpse at Roman England as well as being a fun miniature hike with a breath taking view of the English country side. Dr. Chappell himself had high expectations for his classes, however he is more than willing to helping students in and out of the classroom, makes lectures enjoyable and fun, as well as just being a fantastic and charming man to have lunch with in your free time. As the trip progressed, you begin to do more outside of the classroom with the group and break that ignorance with one another. Soon you becomes comfortable with one another, getting dinner together, working on papers and exploring the English country side. In the end, the NOEP trip is what you make of it, and while you are on this grand adventure, you should seize every opportunity to explore and learn about the cities you are in, because they will make the trip all the better.

Jordan Green (2017)

The North of England Programme was a great, month long adventure that I will remember for the rest of my life! For those scared of having too much work and too little time to do it, you don't have to be worried about that on the Programme. All of the three cities we stayed in were beautiful in their own way, but where we stay is always walkable to the city center and the heart of the respective city's cultures. The food is delicious and the hospitality is fantastic, everybody was happy that we went into their shop or their restaurant or their museum. There is a good balance of work, play, and exploration and there are opportunities to learn and admire the beauty about everywhere you look. Hadrian's Wall and Fountains Abbey were just two of the many jaw-dropping sites we saw along this journey. I would certainly revisit all of the destinations we went too during the Programme, so I highly recommend it to any and all who are up to the challenge!

David Heishman (2017)

The North of England Programme is easily one of the highlights of my time in college. It offers intellectually engaging courses that give context to the historic sites and regions that we visited. Being able to walk on walls that were originally constructed during Roman times gives a concept of age that we do not encounter in the US. We saw several pubs that were older than the United States. The courses came to life as we visited sites that we read about and were able to physically see what we had been studying, which was amazing. All three cities that we stayed in were varied and provided examples of both older historic cities (Chester and York) and large industrial cities (Manchester). The English countryside around Hadrian’s Wall and Fountain’s Abbey were serene and beautiful as were those sites themselves. The cultural immersion that we experienced while there was my favorite part of the program. We saw many grand and beautiful locations and buildings, but living for a month in English cities and getting to know some of the people and customs alone was well worth the trip. I highly recommend this program to anyone considering it.

Elena Hin (2017)

The North of England Programme was an absolutely wonderful experience, full of fun and educational experiences. The cities we visited had its own unique charms and were absolutely lovely. The people we met were welcoming, the food was absolutely amazing, and even the classes were fun. While the classes are work, there is plenty of free time to go exploring on your own/with your group. As lectures are in the morning, there's plenty of time to go exploring the cities before regrouping to go visit the museum/site of the day. The program manages to combine the best parts of traveling (visiting cool museums/historical sites and eating) with the ideal college experience (having lively discussions and educational, but enjoyable, lectures). It made the content we were learning and discussing so much more relevant to our lives — it really allowed for us to immerse ourselves into the culture while understanding the historical context. There's something particularly amazing about listening to a lecture about the historic city walls while actually standing on the walls. You really get to bond with your group, and there's a ton of things to do during the free weekends, even if you don't leave the city. Furthermore, as an IDLS major, being able to petition for both of my classes to count as my upper-level courses was also a major bonus! Dr. Chappell offers some amazing classes that aren't just for History majors — his English course is supposed to be phenomenal, and his lectures, in general, are holistic: focusing not just on the famous military leaders or politicians of the North, but also on its many authors, artists, and architects.

Nathaniel Mayo (2017)

The North of England Programme was an amazing trip. Each city we stayed in had its own unique feel, and while I do have my own personal favorite, I would gladly revisit each one. The food was amazing. The people were nice. The entire atmosphere of each city felt welcoming to everyone. My favorite part of the trip was undoubtedly Hadrian's Wall, which we took a day trip to see. The part of the wall we went up had a spectacular view of the countryside. While America has its own natural sites, Hadrian's Wall is like nothing I have ever seen. While in England, I was able to experience various cities through the day trips or site visits, that coincided with the lessons. The museums were all pertinent to what we were learning and would often emphasize what we discussed in class. This combination of lesson and trip really made the entire learning experience much more immersive and entertaining. I am glad that I took this chance for study abroad because going as a simple tourist would most likely have reduced the amount of cultural immersion I had. As a student I was able to learn why the people acted a certain way and this made the entire experience much better. There was time for personal weekend trips, but I stayed in the towns to get more time in the cities we were in. If I could go again I most certainly would.

Sarita Pergal (2017)

The North of England trip was an amazing adventure that I will always remember. The three cities, Chester, York, and Manchester are lovely cities with historic charm, filled with great local cuisine, nice people, and beautiful sights. To cobble stone streets, old buildings, ornate cathedrals, and breathtaking country sides, every moment was filled with rich culture. The outings we did as a group were fabulous. Among my favorites were Hadrian’s Wall and Fountains Abbey. These sighs truly felt like you were in another world. To continue, The trip was a great balance of work and fun. The classes on the trip were challenging, however their was plenty of time to do the course load and explore the cities-and even go on weekend trips to neighboring countries! When first considering the trip the history based course content was a concern of mine being an English major. While I was the only English Major, I never felt overwhelmed by the History course or felt like I had a disadvantage. As for the English course, the blending of literature and history was a really cool experience. It gave the novels more life and meaning, as I was more aware on what drove the authors to write their novels. Also, going to the Elizabeth Gaskell House in Manchester and Brontë Parsonage in Haworth were incredible experiences I won’t be soon forgetting. For being able to go to places you are learning about is an amazing experience and allows for the knowledge to soak in more. All in all, NOEP was an experience of a lifetime that I highly recommend for anyone interested in exploring the North of England and its history!

Maria Matlock (2016)

The North of England Program was such a wonderful experience, and offered an in-depth, immersive experience of British culture. The courses were really interesting, especially since we were able to see most of the sites associated with what we were learning about. Along with site walks, lectures, and tours, there is plenty of time to explore at your own pace and see all the north has to offer. While there is studying to be done, the program is more concerned with experiences and cultural immersion. Some of the greatest take-aways were sitting in unique pubs with colorful names, talking to locals or with the group, exploring the ruins of Fountains Abbey, and free weekend trips to Liverpool and Edinburgh. You’ll get to see many amazing things that few people do.  I certainly had an incredible journey that I will remember. I’d highly recommend to any history major, anyone interested in British culture, or people who love to explore.

Shelby Hudson (2016)

The North of England Program was a wonderful experience. The program is filled with many tours of interesting sites, historical buildings, and museums. Along with these tours, there are of course classes involved in the trip, as it is a study abroad trip, but a large focus of these classes and the program as a whole is on experiences. Whether it was climbing Hadrian’s Wall, going to a pub called the One Eyed Rat with the group, travelling to Dublin and Edinburgh on the weekends, or attending Evensong at York Minster, I certainly had a lot of experiences that I will never forget. You don’t need to be history major to have a great time and learn a lot from NOEP. I am an Idls, Middle School Education Major and I had a great time. The trip is what you make of it, and I highly recommend anyone who is interested in history, England, or just experiencing life abroad to sign up for this program.

Kian Pritchett (2016)

The North of England Programme was an enjoyable and educational experience. I really liked how the places we visited were rich in culture and history. There is plenty of time to explore and discover a little history on your own from the people in the area. All of the museums selected for the trip are engaging and unique. My favorite was the Chester Military Museum, but there were plenty of other kinds such as the Silk Museum and multiple art galleries. The detailed lectures for the classes are well supported by the museums, and there are some lectures that happen during walks of the city walls. Also included in the trip are Fountains Abbey and Hadrian’s Wall, which really show the beauty that rural England has to offer. There are also multiple churches and cathedrals to visit, as well as pubs and shops. As for living accommodations and cuisine, look forward to excellence at the Alcuin Lodge in York and bakeries in every city and town. There is also plenty of opportunity for the occasional pint. Overall, I had a wonderful experience exploring England and learning about a country rich in history. It was clear that Dr. Chappell put time and effort into planning a well-rounded, educational, and extraordinary trip for 2016, and I am sure he will put forth the same effort in the coming years.

Cooper O'Neil (2015)

For anyone with reservations about this trip, I would seriously recommend that you sign up, especially if you've never traveled abroad before. You'll meet some lovely people, see some amazing places, and eat some delicious food. I'll stress that the idea that British food isn't good is just utterly false, especially if you like bacon. Moving on though, the free weekends also provide great opportunities to travel to major cities around the UK such as Dublin, Edinburgh, and London (I even sacrificed the better part of a day in London to go and tour the Warner Brother'sStudios Harry Potter back lot, which was fantastic). Anyway, sign up for the program! You will not regret it.

Andrew Sabo (2015)

Being a part of the North of England program this past summer was such an amazing experience. You get to learn about the history in the places that it took place, and go to museums and sites where artifacts showcasing it are held. Another amazing part about this trip is the fact that the people you go with become some what of tight knit family. I am still friends with all of the people that I went with on this trip, and we even get brunch and dinner together at least once a month. But perhaps one of the greatest parts of this trip is that you get to know Dr. Chappell on a more personal level than if you took him for a class in Harrisonburg. Now don’t think that this trip is all learning and writing papers we still managed to have a lot of fun. Whether it be in our free time in the cities we stayed in, or our weekend adventures in Dublin, Edinburgh, or London, either way it was a blast and I wish I was able to go on this trip again.

James Hays (2015)

Dr. Chappell's North of England Program is a great experience. In my time in England, amazing experiences were had exploring centuries-old sites, becoming educated (first hand) in local cultures, and absorbing the nation's long and rich history. In your time in England, you will dine on such delicacies as cheese, sausage rolls, and proper English bacon. This is especially true in the beautiful northern city of York; her streets have no want of bakeries. Bakeries where, I might add, you can easily buy a very filling lunch for less than four pounds ($6)! From the North of England Program I gained a newfound appreciation for my own country as well as for Britain, and I cannot wait to visit again some day. Go! Apply! Eat cheese! And remember: God save the Queen!

Nick Marfurt-Levy (2015)

I truly enjoyed my visit, it was all really cool. Between the people, the food, the culture, and the sights I could not have asked for a better time. The classes were straightforward and often tied to our sightseeing this brought our learning into reality. Our group was pretty small (8) and we quickly all became friends, during our one month there I got to know all of them pretty well and we still keep in touch. If you are on the fence about going, do yourself a favor and go for it. You will not regret it.

Shannon Hutchins (2015)

What a blast! Being a part of JMU’s 2015 North of England Program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In the four weeks that encompass the program you learn a lot, see a lot, and experience a lot. The month long crash course to English history and culture was intense and tiring at times, but in the end it was worth it. The program may seem a bit pricy on paper, but the opportunities you encounter on the program don’t happen every day. The insider exclusives you get make it worth every penny. Accommodations throughout the trip are nice and of good quality. The amount of museums, cathedrals, churches, and heritage sites are aplenty. You don’t even need to be a history buff to appreciate everything the cities and the country has to offer, but it does help!

Some of my particular favorites of the 2015 trip were the historical sites that we visited. Fountains Abbey was, and still is, the most amazing place I have ever been to. The large monastic ruin will literally render you speechless. If I ever return to England it is definitely on the list of places to revisit. Another impressive site was Hadrian’s Wall. To be honest, the wall itself is a little disappointing after seeing Fountains Abbey, but the surrounding landscape really puts everything into perspective. The rolling English countryside was a true beauty to behold. In both instances you’re not just seeing history, you’re experiencing it. Anyone can read about all the places you visit on the trip, but to actually walk those same corridors, streets, and stone walls is another matter entirely.

Another perk to the program is having free weekends. I travelled to Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, as did most of the other group members. Having that free time really allowed me to

branch out of my comfort zone and maximize my time in the UK. As a word of advice, you can systematically plan your weekends, but stuff will happen and your hard work will collapse right in front of you. For example, I had the misfortune of losing my phone while in Dublin. I got it back eventually, but it’s just one instance of where my thorough planning went to waste. Coordinating your weekend plans with fellow group members is advisable. After all, the buddy system is good to practice while abroad.

My time in England has definitely helped me grow as a student and a person. The experience alone has proved to be tremendously insightful. In the process of learning about England I learned a lot about myself. Having never left the US before, JMU’s NOEP has given me the travel bug and I hope to continue traversing the globe. The program was a truly a one of a kind experience. Being led around Northern England by a true Yorkshireman made it all the more authentic and worthwhile. If I could do the program again, I would sign up in a heartbeat! Lastly, contrary to the stereotype, it doesn't rain every day in England!

Adam Guggenberger (2014)

The North of England Program provided me with a street level experience and the beginning of a more complete view of the North of England than I could have ever hoped for had I attempted to make this trip on my own. During the day the lectures and the walks allowed me to better understand the unique story of each city's past and to recognize each city's role in the history of the North of England. At night the small and intimate nature of the cities allowed me to better understand each city’s present and to recognize the North of England’s role in the modern world.

Emerson Tedder (2014)

My experiences with the 2014 Summer Abroad program in the North of England allowed me to explore myself and history as never before. As it was my first time out of the country, it felt exhilarating to adventure directly into ancient history (from playing hide and go seek in Roman ruins dating from first century AD to walking along Hadrian's wall) while being able to literally walk through medieval history several times over (magnificent cathedrals, city walls, cobblestoned ground) to then rejoin contemporary life for a delightful dinner and late night wanderings in the refreshing Northern English air. Even the museums in England far outbested any I have been to in America- for example, the Viking museum in York had an exhibit that took us through a recreated Viking village in a moving cart on a track that resembled a slow moving indoor rollercoaster ride, complete with realistic animatrons and sound effects. Dr. Chappell has the unique experience of an NOEP instructor in that he actually comes from York itself- therefore, he had some truly wonderful connections and knowledge only a local could have, which led to meeting some interesting people with even more interesting stories (think of an elderly Mother Superior who played with the Queen as a small child and a very funny story involving the Chippendales, and you might get a small picture of what I mean.) That said, I can honestly say my experience with the North of England provided me with a greater sense of personal independence, strengthened my longing for historical understanding, and further encouraged my interest in museum studies and traveling.

Jessica McEvoy (2014)

This trip was an incredible experience. It was the first time I ever travelled abroad, but it was a spectacular and enlightening journey to another country. Being able to be in and near buildings that are centuries old is something that simply cannot be beat. The knowledge you can gain from these classes surpasses that which you learn in class (which alone is a lot of information), from the range of people and time periods that you are able to experience in a short 4 week stint.

Have fun, meet new people, absorb as much as you can, and remember to do your homework (Especially the 400 level class – don’t let the research paper sneak up on you).

Jenn Richards (2014)

The North of England Programme was a wonderful experience to cap off my undergraduate career. The opportunity to see and live in the cities of Chester, York, and Durham allowed me to experience a culture and history that I had had little interaction with and enjoyed immensely. I recommend this program to anyone who is interested in history and/or English culture.

Taren Vail (2014)

Deciding to participate in the North of England Study Abroad Program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Studying abroad really pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a person. This program is particularly amazing because Dr. Chappell is incredibly knowledgeable about the area and its history, but also grew up in the area and knows the ins and outs of the culture and the people. You can't beat an experience like that!

Back to Top