London College of General Studies Program

The London College of General Studies Program (CGS) provides a unique opportunity for first-semester CGS sophomores to study in London. Over the course of the 16-week program, students will take the CGS core curriculum along with one 4-credit elective and a 3-credit British culture course. Excursions to museums, and historical sites will complement the curriculum.

Program Curriculum

Week 1–Week 6

The first six weeks are spent taking a Natural Sciences, Humanities, and British Culture class. Note: Syllabi are for course approval and reference only. Students will receive up-to-date syllabi when their courses begin.

Students enroll in these courses:

CGS BC 201: British Culture and Identity (3 credits)

This course will compare British and American experiences of culture, the differences, similarities and cross-influences. The course will aim to make the maximum use of London as a primary source, from its libraries and collections, to its spaces of work and leisure. Weight. Syllabus

CGS HU 201: Humanities III (4)

History of Western Ethical Philosophy is a rigorous course in the history of Western ethical thought from Socrates through Nietzsche. The course also includes selected films and literary works that embody philosophical ideas or dramatize ethical dilemmas. Excerpts from primary texts are used throughout. Sullivan. Syllabus

CGS NS 201: Natural Science I (4)

The Origin and Evolution: There is probably no question more fundamental than ‘what is the origin of life’? In this course we look at the theory of chemical evolution and how it fits in to the broader theory of organic evolution and biodiversity. We will examine the properties of the major macromolecules such as lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and discuss why these properties are important in relation to evolution. Finally, we will consider how energy is transformed in living systems and utilized to drive the processes, which underpin life as we know it. By understanding the theory of chemical evolution you will be in a better position to evaluate alternative theories of the origin of life. Thompson. Syllabus

CGS SS 201: Social Science III (4)

Social Change and Modernization builds on the conceptual and historical materials of the freshman experience. The course centres on two case studies in rapid modernization: Russia and China. Russia, and the Soviet Union are considered as an example of revolutionary economic and social change, attention being paid to the way in which Marxist theories were translated into practise. This serves as the basis for a comparison with the problems of modernization in contemporary China. The roots of industrialism, the culture of non-Western peoples as it affects their responses to it, and the dramatic complexities of social change combine to challenge the students’ grasp of the problems facing the modern world. Tomes. Syllabus

Week 7–Week 15

In the last nine weeks, students continue their British Culture and Humanities classes along with a Social Science course and an elective, for a total of 19 Boston University credits.

Students have a one-week semester break in between the two phases.

CAS AH 381: London Architecture and Urbanism (4 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the history of London and its buildings. It is aimed at a wide audience, not architectural specialists, although some familiarity with British history is helpful. London’s architecture and urban development will be explored through the themes that shaped the physical characteristics of London as a world city, including mapping the city, the city as representation of national identity, navigating the ever-changing city, and a review of recent developments. The intention is to encourage students to develop their own historical map of the city’s architecture based upon their own experience. Donnellan. Syllabus

CAS EN 357: Modern British Drama: A Critic’s Perspective (4)

This course will provide a broad study of the major developments in British drama over the past 60 years; relate drama to the changes in British society; examine the work of specific writers in detail; stimulate critical analysis through written work and discussion; give practical information about how to write theatre reviews. Sierz. Syllabus

CAS EN 368: Seminar in Shakespeare Studies (4)

This course aims to provide the student with an appreciation of the nature of Shakespeare’s achievement through the study of four plays in class. Students will have the opportunity to gain an intimate understanding of the verbal and dramatic qualities of Shakespeare’s genius, and of the myriad ways in which meanings are expressed through the language, imagery, structure and dramatic possibilities of the works themselves through close critical reading of various sections of the plays studied. Syllabus

COM FT 317: British Cinema and Society (4)

This course offers a combined social history and technological survey of British film making since World War II. The selected films provide vivid points of departure for an understanding of how British society has evolved. The course surveys the changing nature of modern British culture and society, using the products of the British movie industry as the main source of evidence. Most films fall outside of the category of British films that have made an impact in the United States market. Students will witness the cinematic version of the “other side” of Britain. One of the main themes of this “other side” is social class, which sets the agenda for most of the themes explored in the class. Special attention is also given to the differences between cinematic and historical versions of such themes. Dodson. Syllabus

COM FT 344 European Cinema

This course is an examination of contemporary European cinema and asks the key question: what do national cinema products reveal about national identity, culture, and values?  The course will combine a study of the economics and cultural politics of national cinemas in Europe and their existence within a global marketplace of film. Through the study of film festivals, and the study of filmmakers and their films, students will have an opportunity to examine how minor cinemas evolve to be significant for national audiences and how these cinemas convey aspects of culture, language and social life across national boundaries.

CAS IR 392 / CAS HI 243: Britain & The European Question: The Confluence of History & Politics (4)

This course seeks to provide an overview of Britain’s relations with Europe between 1945 and 1992 in the context of on-going debates concerning national sovereignty and national modernization, losing an empire and maintaining a world role, and the ‘Special Relationship’ with the United States. Thornhill. Syllabus

CAS PO 223: Issues in Contemporary Politics (4)

(Formerly CAS PO 358.) Designed to place in context British/EU political and trade relations; crime, punishment, and social justice; race and nationalism; fascism and the extreme right today; feminism, sexuality, and women in politics; Anglo-American problems of public administration; and pressure groups, the police, and industrial relations. Sullivan. Syllabus

CAS IP101: The Global Learning Experience (1 credit)

All program participants have the opportunity to make the most of their semester abroad with The Global Learning Experience, a self-paced, Pass/Fail course with brief readings and experiential assignments that accompany them while living and studying in a country and culture different from their own. Students post their work, experiences and observations to an online platform to trace and articulate their achievements abroad from an academic, personal and professional standpoint. The course links students with the faculty instructors as well as peers studying on other BU Study Abroad programs around the world. Students earn one credit in addition to the total program credits mentioned below at no additional cost.

Program Details

  • Boston University first-semester sophomores only
  • All students must complete the 19-credit program
  • Admissions requirements for all programs
Program Dates
  • Fall Semester: Late August-mid-December

    Please note that this program is only offered during the fall semester.

    • Upon successful completion of the program, students earn nineteen Boston University credits. Students must enroll for a total of nineteen credits.
    Application Deadlines
    • Fall Semester: March 15 

    Notification of admissions begins after the application deadline.

    Download a description of the London College of General Studies Program.

    Program Faculty & Staff

    All Boston University London programs are administered in coordination with our Boston and London offices. In Boston, a program manager facilitates the admissions and pre-departure procedures, and maintains contact with students prior to their arrival in London. The Boston office also houses administrative personnel who are responsible for everyday operations. In London, the staff comprises a resident director as well as administrative, academic, and housing personnel.