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London, England

Program Description

This course will explore drama from the Age of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) alongside representations of Queen Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603), two of the most prominent individuals of the English Renaissance. Our residence in London, where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, will offer unparalleled insight into his writings. Our three-week schedule includes three performances of Shakespeare plays which we will attend as a group.

Our course will incorporate excursions to Stratford, where Shakespeare was born; Kenilworth Castle, where Elizabeth witnessed specially prepared dramatic entertainments; Cambridge, an essential backdrop for understanding Shakespeare’s flattery of the Tudor dynasty in Richard III, and Oxford, where Elizabeth visited twice during her reign. Our study will also include a private exhibition Lambeth Palace Library, which holds rare early printed copies of books that shaped Shakespeare's plays. We will visit Shakespeare's London neighborhood of the Blackfriars and other London settings which shaped Shakespeare’s plays, including the site of the first known performance of Twelfth Night. Outings will include Shakespeare’s Bankside, the theatre district of Tudor London; the archaeological ruins of the Rose and Curtain theatres, where his plays were performed; the Tower of London, where Queen Elizabeth was imprisoned during the reign of her half-sister Mary; Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth is buried; the Tudor palace of Hampton Court, where Elizabeth resided; and more. A long weekend at mid-program will allow students time to travel, or to explore London or the surrounding region.

"Not only do you get to explore the castles of England, attend the plays that shaped sixteenth-century London, and walk in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I herself, but you also get to experience what it means to be fully immersed in a literary culture, one that prides and prioritizes reading and storytelling. Prior to going on this trip, I was not a huge Shakespeare fan (a shocking thing for an English major to admit). However, Dr. Rankin really made Shakespeare, his plays, and his life come alive for me in the best way possible and really gave me a new perspective on his works. This program is one that offers to show you how stories are crafted and told, and how those same stories live on in modern London today. I had the absolute time of my life on this program and would absolutely recommend to anyone who is looking for a similar experience!"

-2019 Student Testimonial

Location Description

The cultural resources of London include the British Museum, National Gallery, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, West End theaters, New Globe Theater, and much more.

Oxford and Cambridge are like treasure chests filled with architectural gems that exemplify every English building style from the eleventh century onward.

Cambridge is home to the Fitzwilliam Museum, one of the best collections of antiquities and modern art in western Europe.

Oxford is home to the Ashmolean Museum, the oldest museum in Great Britain, which houses a collection of antiquities, old masters, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and more; the Museum of the History of Science, which preserves an incomparable collection of antique astronomical and scientific instruments, including considerable resources dating from Shakespeare's lifetime; and the Pitt Rivers Museum, which is one of the paramount ethnographic collections in the world. Participants may visit the medieval Divinity School, which is one of the buildings at the Bodleian Library, and the dining hall at Christ Church College. The Harry Potter movies employed them respectively as the sanatorium and dining hall at Hogwarts School. At Oxford we will also have a demonstration of printing on hand-operated presses of the kind which printed Shakespeare's plays.


Mark Rankin | | English


Accommodations will be provided at College Hall, a residence of the University of London. This centrally located dormitory offers furnished en suite rooms with internet access and access to mini kitchens and laundry facilities. Students will lodge in single en suite rooms, with the exception of the overnight to Stratford-upon-Avon, when they will lodge in shared double rooms. Housing accommodations are centrally located and public transportation is easily accessible.

Students will be allocated a weekly meal stipend that will cover approximately 14 meals per week. 

Additional Items to Consider

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors

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 ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

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


Program Closed

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ENG 320L: Shakespeare on the Page and Stage in London (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.


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