Study Abroad at Birkbeck, University of London, England
About Birkbeck, University of London in England
We're so excited that you are thinking about studying abroad at Birkbeck, University of London with IFSA-Butler. London is a thriving, eclectic city and we're sure you're going to love studying there! In addition to small, interactive and academically-challenging courses, students at Birkbeck can also explore hundreds of hands-on internships that cater to their interests and abilities.
What Birkbeck has to offer
We look forward to working with you!
CoursesWhere can I find a list of courses that the university offers?
All of the courses on offer are listed below, along with their course descriptions. Course descriptions give you a good overview of topics covered during the course. Please note that you will have to fulfill any prerequisites listed in the course description.
What if I need to take a required course?
Please be aware that IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that your host university will offer a particular course, or that you will be allowed to take that particular course. However, if you need to take a required course, you may indicate that it is required on your course preference form. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor will communicate your needs to your host university.
Birkbeck, University of London Course Descriptions
Aspects of Modern Art in London: This course addresses the historical concept of modernity, avant-gardism, and theoretical criticism related to modernism. It examines the antecedents to modernism, including post-impressionism and surrealism. Examples are frequently drawn from works in London and surrounding areas.
Art and Architecture in London: This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of the changing nature of the patronage of arts in and around London through a study of some of the buildings and works of art produced between 1600 and 1830. The English cult of classicism in architecture is discussed through a study of the importance of the Grand Tour and the introduction and revivals of styles based on antiquity and their application to religious, domestic and public buildings. The importance of collections of works of art and the transmission of European styles in painting is considered, together with the emergence of a British school of painting and the establishment of the Royal Academy.
Business and Economics
Globalization: This course analyzes global developments and trends in economic activity. Key issues are the movements towards breaking down trade barriers, the globalization of trade and the role of organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) in this process, the role of technology in driving world economic and trade growth, the impact of the collapse of the Communist bloc on the global economy; the role of developing economies in the new economic order, and strategies of different individual regions in coping with globalization trends.
International Business: An introduction to the environment of international business, the nature and determinants of basic international business strategies and the structural arrangements that foster the successful operations of international business. The course includes: the conception, theories and practices of international management, multinational corporate structures, a survey of the increasingly interdependent nature of business, business environments other than the U.S., and the impact of the European Union on international business strategies.
Sustainability and Climate Change: This course analyzes the relationship between business strategy and the ecological environment. It examines the emergence of the environment as a policy issue for business and outlines effective strategies for addressing the business threats and opportunities posed. Topics include economic growth and sustainability, business response to environmental pressure groups, the European Union (EU) Fifth Environmental Action program, and green marketing and eco-labeling.
Sports Business Management: This course analyzes the economics and business management of professional sports leagues in the U.K. with particular reference to soccer leagues (with some reference to European soccer leagues and competitions where appropriate), focusing in particular on the factors that distinguish the sports industry from other types of industry.
English Literature and Drama
Modern Theatre and the London Stage: This course examines key modern dramatists and movements of late 19th and 20th century theatre in Britain and Europe to help students develop a critical understanding of major plays. Students examine text and performance, as well as the crafts involved in theatre production. The class examines directing, acting, sets, lighting, costumes, make-up and other elements. Performers and guest lecturers are invited to some sessions, and the course includes a backstage visit to a major London theatre.
The Twentieth Century British Novel: An introduction to some of the major novelists of the 20th century (D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell). Emphasis is on reading texts to identify the major characteristics of the modern writers within the wider social, political and cultural contexts of the first half of the twentieth century, especially the impact of World Wars I and II.
London in Literature: This course aims to give students an awareness of the variety of ways in which 19th and 20th century writers have responded to the subject of London. Students will explore a number of themes that link early Victorian reflections of the city to the work of a writer including: alienation, cultural change, loss of spiritual faith, class, and the "primitive" beneath the "civilized" city. The course also includes field trips to the east end of London to explore Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper territory, and to link this with contemporary popular culture.
Shakespeare in London:
This course introduces students to the plays of William Shakespeare and to the culture of theatrical performance, both now and in the Renaissance past. The course encourages students to read the plays in their contemporary context, considering the political and social circumstances in which these plays were produced. As well as looking closely at a number of Shakespeare's plays, this course will also introduce one comparative play from another Renaissance playwright, allowing students to make connections and contrasts between the work of Shakespeare and one his contemporaries. One of the opportunities offered on this course is to visit the reconstructed Globe theatre on the South Bank and to consider the differences between modern and Renaissance theatre space and experience.
The seminar programme will be devised by the incoming course tutor. However, classes might include: "The Tempest" and court drama "Richard II" and the cult of Elizabeth I "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and popular politics "Henry V" and censorship "The Merchant of Venice" and Jews in Renaissance London, and "Othello" and household service. ("Titus Andronicus' and Revenge Tragedy").
The class which introduces one other play, will complement another class on the course. So, for example, "The Tempest" would be taught in the week following one on Jonsonian masque. A class on John Webster or Thomas Kyd would be best followed by one on "Titus Andronicus." "The Merchant of Venice" would follow well from Christopher Marlowe's "Jew of Malta," etc.
London: The Growth of a Modern World City: This class looks at the history of London through the growth of its population, its buildings and its government. The course considers London's efforts to maintain its order and prevent disease in the city in the face of an explosion in its population and the existence of great wealth beside unremitting poverty. The role of the court and parliament in the city is explored, as well as the dependence of London society on the poor for its industrial and domestic labour and for the supply of food, drink, and consumer goods and services.
British and European Cinema: This course is composed of an introduction to the study of European cinema, concentrating on films from France, Germany, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom:
Media Forms and Institutions in Britain: Using television as a focus, this course examines a range of media forms and institutions in Britain, their inter-relationships, their European context, and their relationship with U.S. forms and institutions. The course also investigates the British print media, music industry and popular culture in national and global context. Organized around screenings, lectures, seminars, workshops, a student-led debate and a visit to the Museum of Moving Image, the course examines the institutional history of British broadcasting, representations and genres.
How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
What are the registration conditions?
What do I need to know about exams?
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
IFSA-Butler's Cultural Integration Program (CIP) at Birkbeck is designed to take students' study abroad experiences to another level. It encourages them to get the most out of their time abroad by blending intercultural learning with an exploration of the local community and local community groups. Selected activities will foster your intercultural learning through a series of on-site discussions and self-reflection. Through this program you will be encouraged to engage with the community in which you are living and question your own perspective of the world, while learning to appreciate similarities and differences between cultures and communities.
At Birkbeck, the CIP is a course that you can take either for 2 U.S. semester credit hours or as a cultural integration certificate program. The amount of work you do for the course will depend on whether you are seeking academic credit or just a certificate.
The CIP course will be a complementary addition to your four courses at Birkbeck. You will receive a total of 18 U.S. semester credit hours for the semester if you participate in the Cultural Integration course for academic credit. The course will meet every other week throughout the semester and will include opportunities to explore in-depth the many exciting neighborhoods of London.
Click here to download the CIP course syllabus.
Students who have participated in the CIP in past semesters have found it a great way to explore and get to know London and, with their fellow IFSA-Butler students, to learn interculturally from their everyday experiences there.
Please indicate on the CIP course enrollment form whether you intend to pursue the 2 credit option for the course, or if you want the certificate.
What are my housing options?
Is my housing included in the program fee?
Living and Studying in London, England
Dates & Fees
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Important: Once you are abroad, please verify the program end date with the department(s) in which you are studying. Ending dates may vary from department to department, and you will be expected to complete all course obligations prior to your departure. Program housing is available only until the program end date.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
In the United Kingdom, exams are taken under formal conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals. Exams must be taken where and when scheduled.
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Fall Payment Due: July 1
Program Fee Bills
† Housing Deposit
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
*Student Visa: Some students will be required to obtain a student visa for the U.K. These include all full year students, any student participating in an internship and citizens of certain countries. U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) can enter the country as a student visitor at no cost but are not allowed to undertake an internship, paid work or unpaid volunteer activities. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
To apply to the Birkbeck, University of London program, use our easy online application.
We must receive these forms before we can send your application to Birkbeck for an admissions decision. They can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail. Please submit these forms with the remainder of your program application.
If you have already started an application to the Birkbeck, University of London program, you can track which forms IFSA-Butler has received by logging into the student portal.
Meet Your TeamIFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in England.
Program Advisor Ashley Crow assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Ashley can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, extn. 3638. Ashley completed her undergraduate coursework at Drake University where she began a study abroad program with IFSA-Butler in Egypt during the spring of 2011. After political evacuation from Egypt, she continued her studies for 11 months in Morocco. While abroad, Ashley interned with Transparency Maroc, the local anti-corruption agency branch of Transparency International, and later interned with the Iowa International Center. Ashley currently advises students planning on studying abroad in England and the Middle East.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.
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Birkbeck offers an opportunity for students to participate in an intensive internship option. Some of the most common internships are in arts management, business, media and communications, and politics. Past interns have earned placements at top U.S. companies, Parliament, British financial institutions, fashion designers, theatres and concert halls and prestigious media outlets.
The minimum GPA required for participating in an internship is a 3.0. The internship duration is one semester and is worth 4 U.S. semester credit hours. The internship replaces one of your courses at Birkbeck.
Participating in a Birkbeck internship involves a work assignment of two and a half days a week or a minimum of 20 hours each week. Please note that work commitments will occur on Fridays. Students who register for the internship option must be prepared to make a full commitment to the internship program, as the opportunity is very time consuming. In addition to the weekly placement hours, students participating in the internship program will take a tutorial course comprised of four two-hour seminars and prepare a related academic research project that will be assessed by a Birkbeck faculty member. Your academic project carries most of the weight in determining your final grade.
An overseas coordinator arranges your placement, which is subject to a successful interview after your arrival in London. Please note that if you express interest in an internship placement and then decide to withdraw from the internship option, Birkbeck reserves the right to pass on any financial penalties to you.
To discuss the internship option more in depth, please call our office and speak with the Birkbeck program advisor.
Download an internship application from the Forms tab.
ScholarshipsStudents planning to study abroad at Birkbeck, University of London can apply for the Marcus Ames-Lewis Memorial Scholarship for $2,000. Download a scholarship application.