MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. Programs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Study Abroad at Birkbeck, University of London, England

About Birkbeck, University of London in England

  • Minimum GPA: 2.8 (4.0 scale)
  • Length of program: 8 weeks
  • Application deadline: February 15
  • Program advisor: Aimee Formo
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Program Snapshot


We're so excited that you are thinking about a summer study abroad experience 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 courses with a focus on London and the U.K., students at Birkbeck can also take advantage of hands-on internships.

What Birkbeck has to offer

  • An exciting curriculum developed especially for American students and based at a world-class teaching and research institution
  • Academically challenging courses that focus on London and the U.K.
  • Students are taught in Gordon Square, once occupied by the novelist Virginia Woolf and the economist John Maynard Keynes
  • Part of the University of London, so students can use the University of London Union's excellent facilities
  • Set in the Bloomsbury area of central London, the hub of the University of London federation and famous for its literary, intellectual and artistic history
  • Close to Covent Garden shopping and Soho's great nightlife


  • Housing is in student apartments in west central London
  • Students purchase or prepare their own meals


  • Lecturers are Birkbeck faculty members or drawn from other colleges of the University of London
  • Most courses take advantage of London as a "living laboratory"
  • Students take two courses, or one course and an internship
  • Internships available for credit

We look forward to working with you!



What courses are available?
All of the courses on offer are listed below, along with brief descriptions.

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 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.

How many courses do I take?
Students enroll in two courses. Students who opt for an internship will take one course along with the internship placement.

Birkbeck, University of London Summer Courses

British 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.

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.

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.

London: Growth of a Modern World City: This class looks at the history of London through the growth of its population, buildings and government. The course considers London's efforts to maintain 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.

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.

An internship may be taken in lieu of one taught course. The internship includes guidance and discussion designed to facilitate learning through the field assignment and to establish parameters for the related academic research project. The internship must be taken for academic credit.

Course Restrictions

There are no course restrictions for this program.


How many courses am I able to take, and how do I determine U.S. semester credit hours?
You must enroll in a full course load as defined by IFSA-Butler. A full course load at Birkbeck is two courses, worth 8 U.S. semester credits for the summer. If you plan to do an internship, this will count as one of your  courses. You must take all courses for academic credit, and must complete all coursework and exams in order to obtain credit on the Butler University transcript.


What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full Birkbeck course load as determined by IFSA-Butler. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. You are not allowed to register for online, distance education or hybrid courses.

You should also be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home institution or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.

The course preference form is not a registration form; it is a guideline to let your host university know which courses you are interested in taking abroad. You should discuss your course selections with your academic advisor at your home institution and have several backup choices in mind. Neither you nor the university is bound by your selections, and you will not officially register for courses until you arrive on campus.


What do I need to know about exams?
Because of the differences in the academic systems, you will not know your exam schedule until after you arrive at your host university. Please refer to your program calendar to review the exam period for your host university. Your host university's policies do not permit you to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler cannot assist you in conducting an academic record appeal for the course in which you made this arrangement. You will need to complete and submit all academic work prior to departing the program.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you have returned to the U.S., your home university will receive a Butler University transcript with the credit you earned at Birkbeck, University of London. The Butler University transcript will report the equivalent U.S. semester credit hours and letter grades. We also will send an official transcript to your permanent address.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
Students live in self-catered apartments in Paddington. Apartments have double and triple rooms, the majority with ensuite bathrooms. Apartments have communal kitchens and living areas, and graduate residents (GRs) living in the building are available to help with questions or problems.


Students purchase or prepare their own meals.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation at the university while classes are in session. You will be responsible for the cost of your meals and any commuting costs you may incur. Your housing fee includes the cost of accommodation during university breaks.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
No. Summer students do not pay housing deposits.

Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

Location Info

Living and Studying in London, England

About London
Population: 9 million
Location: Southeast England

City features

  • One of the most cosmopolitan, hip cities in the world, with an atmosphere of excitement and sophistication
  • A major global city with remarkable cultural, historic, artistic, political and intellectual offerings
  • Home to many universities scattered throughout different neighborhoods, each with its own atmosphere and attractions
  • A diverse population with more than 300 languages spoken within the city
  • One of the world's leading business and financial centers

Do more!

  • Use London's excellent transportation links to explore continental Europe
  • Take advantage of Britain's extensive rail system to visit other areas of the U.K.
  • Take a break from the constant bustle of London and experience the beautiful and historic regions of England

Visit London 
London On Line
London Net
Time Out: London
London Town
London Transport

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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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.

Program Fees

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What's included in our England program fees
Expense calculator

Summer Payment Due: May 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services and housing. Students who opt for independent housing will not be charged the housing component of the program fee.

Housing is in student apartments in central London. The housing component of our program fee includes daily breakfast.

† Housing Deposit
Students in summer programs do not pay the $300 housing deposit.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

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. Meals are estimated based on the cost of a weekly standard grocery shop with one or two meals out.  If you plan to eat out once a day or more, we recommend using a higher estimate.  If you have dietary restrictions or follow a specific diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic, etc), you may also wish to budget more due to the higher cost of specialty food items.

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 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 paid work or unpaid volunteer activities, including an internship. 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.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in London:

emmaProgram Advisor Emma Diebold assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Emma completed her undergraduate degree in Geography: Travel & Tourism at Ball State University. She went abroad with the BSU Geography Department to Eastern and Central Europe and has enjoyed personal travels to several destinations including Belgium, France, Ireland, Peru, Ecuador and The Bahamas. Emma joined the IFSA- Butler team to aid students who want to explore the world and advises students planning to study abroad in England. Emma can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4258.


altStudent Accounts Coordinator Angelita Shaffer assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Angelita can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4221.

altStudent & 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.

Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident directors. Click here to read more about Resident Directors Lynne Alvarez and Andrew Williams.

altUpon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record appeals. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. She also has taken doctoral courses at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:

Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students


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 replaces one of your courses at Birkbeck.

Institute for Study Abroad, Alliance For Global Education and MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. are registered marks of the Institute for Study Abroad, Inc.