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

About IFSA-Butler's Engage London Program

  • Minimum GPA: 2.8 (4.0 scale)
  • Application deadlines: October 1 for spring semester (Jan-April)
    April 15 for fall semester (Sept-Dec)
  • Program advisor: Aimee Formo
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Program Snapshot


What Engage London has to offer

  • Live and study in the heart of London
  • Choose classes in three different tracks
  • Classes are small, interactive and academically
  • Round-the-clock support from resident staff
  • Field excursions to London sites are integrated into classes and give students a true London experience
  • The Exploring England: Community and Culture core course examines the cultural values of England and includes dynamic lectures, visits to cultural sites and discussions of the differences between the U.S. and U.K.
  • An optional, hands-on internship caters to individual academic interests and is a great way to enhance your resume and professional skills
  • University courses are taught by faculty from the
    prestigious Birkbeck, University of London
  • Participation in IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture model


  • Housing is with other program students in apartments
  • Students purchase or prepare their own meals


  • Courses are divided into three tracks, but students may mix and match courses from different tracks for maximum academic flexibility
  • Lecturers are Birkbeck faculty members or drawn from other colleges of the University of London
  • Students take an Exploring England course plus three electives
  • An optional internship replaces one elective

We look forward to working with you!


Program Curriculum

Where can I find the program curriculum?
All of the courses on offer are listed below. Click on the Tracks tab for full descriptions of each course, including prerequisites where applicable.

What courses are required?
All Engage London students take the Exploring England: Community and Culture core course. See below for a description of this course.

What other classes will I take?
Students choose three electives from the tracks below. Students who want to pursue an internship take two electives plus the internship.

What tracks are available?

  • International Business and Economics
  • Communications and Media Studies
  • Literature, Theatre and the Arts

Individual course descriptions can be found on the Tracks tab.

Can I take classes in more than one track?
Yes. You can focus on one track or mix and match courses from different tracks.

What courses are available in each track?
The following courses are available per track:

International Business and Economics
Globalisation and Regionalisation
International Business
Climate Change and Sustainable Business Practice
Sports Business Management

Communications and Media Studies
British and European Cinema
Media Forms and Institutions in Britain
Modern British Politics
Social Psychology
Modern British Society Since 1945
London: The Growth of a Modern World City

Literature, Theatre and the Arts
Modern Theatre and the London Stage
The Twentieth Century British Novel
London in Literature 1837-1984
Shakespeare in London
Aspects of Modern Art in London
British Art and Architecture in London

Exploring England: Community and Culture (required for all students)
This course focuses on helping you develop strong skill sets through direct, local engagement with the city of London, including team building, intercultural communication and critical analysis. Online, you'll get the resources to develop a personal digital archive of your study and internship experience and you'll be given a personal mentor to help you translate your experience into an account of how you have developed new competencies while living, studying and working in a different cultural context. Classes are held two hours a week for reading and discussion of cultural 'hot topics' (both at home and in London); and there will be weekly field trips, immersing you directly in London's rich and diverse cultural life, while giving you the opportunity to meet Londoners 'at home' in their community spaces to find out what really matters to them — and how it affects you.

An internship may be taken in lieu of one elective. The internship includes guidance and discussion designed to facilitate learning through the field assignment and to establish parameters for the related academic research project. Internships require 10 hours per week of on-site employment as well as a research project. The internship is usually incorporated into your weekly timetable of Monday-Thursday and must be taken for academic credit.

See the Internships tab for additional details on potential employers and areas of placement.

Course Restrictions

There are no course restrictions for this program.


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 for the Engage London program is 15 U.S. semester credit hours. The Exploring London core course is worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours, and each elective course is worth 4 U.S. semester credit hours.

How do I request the courses that I want?
Rank your top four elective choices, along with two alternate course choices, on the course preference form. If you plan to do an internship, this will replace one of your electives. You must take all courses for academic credit and 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 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.


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 in London. Please refer to your program calendar to review the exam period. IFSA-Butler does not permit students to reschedule any exams, request alternate assessments or arrange to have 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 in 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.

Exploring Community & Culture

 Student praise for C&C:

"We were able to discuss current issues while bringing information from our classes to the table. My friend from college was in another study abroad program and she was jealous because they didn't have a C&C."

"At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it, but it really helped me to see things from a different perspective. I am pretty sure I would not have gotten the same out of my time in London without doing the C&C."

IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture program (C&C) in London 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.

Exploring England: Community and Culture meets two hours per week and includes classroom discussion combined with field excursions designed to assist you in exploring the complexities and curiosities of London’s varied neighborhoods.

Students who have participated in the C&C in past semesters have found it a great way to explore and get to know London and, with their fellow students, to learn interculturally from their everyday experiences there.

The C&C course will be taught on Friday mornings from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. so as not to conflict with any Birkbeck courses.

Click here to view the C&C syllabus.


International Business and Economics

The following courses are available as part of the International Business and Economics track:

Globalisation and Regionalisation: 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.

Climate Change and Sustainable Business Practice: 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.

Communications and Media Studies

The following courses are available as part of the Communications and Media Studies track:

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:

  • The early days of film in Europe through the work of the Lumiere Brothers and George Melies.
  • Russian cinema in the period after the 1917 revolution, emphasizing the work of Eisenstein and Vertov.
  • German film production in the 1920s, with particular reference to what has come to be known as Expressionist cinema. The major director to be considered is Fritz Lang.
  • The French poetic realism of the 1930s and 1940s, particularly the work of Jean Cocteau.
  • British film and the way in which it has been influenced by the documentary realist tradition. Much of the film material to be shown will come from the 1940s, but there will also be a consideration of more recent film.

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.

Modern British Politics: This course covers the history and functioning of political institutions and processes, the main issues in contemporary political controversies in British society, and the links between political and other institutions. Particular attention is paid to the impact of European community integration on the politics of present-day Britain.

Social Psychology: This course deals with the elements of social perception and cognition, communication, social influence, conformity, compliance, obedience, attitudes and persuasion, prejudice and discrimination, aggression, pro-social behavior, and group processes.

Modern British Society Since 1945: This course aims to give student a critical understanding of British society. Topics include the social structure and the relationship of classes, gender and race as reflected in the social institutions, changes in the family and in the patterns of work and leisure, and the policies of social control and welfare.

Literature, Theatre and the Arts

The following courses are available as part of the Literature, Theatre and the Arts track:

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.

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.

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 1837-1984: 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.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
Engage London students live in self-catered apartments in Paddington. Apartments have double and some 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.

Can I request a single room?
Single rooms are available only for students with special needs. If you have a special need that requires a single room, please let Aimee Formo know immediately.

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 for your term abroad, 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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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

Fall Payment Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due:
November 15

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: Students who wish to pursue the optional internship for this program will need to obtain a PBS Tier IV visa. Detailed instructions regarding U.K. visas will be sent to all students upon acceptance.

U.S. citizens studying in the U.K. for less than six months (180 days) and who are not planning to do an internship do not need to apply for a visa, but can instead enter the country as a student visitor at no cost. Student visitors are allowed to remain in the U.K. for up to six months but are not allowed to undertake any internship, paid work or unpaid volunteer activities.

Citizens of some countries may be required to obtain a student visa. If this applies to you, your IFSA-Butler program advisor will notify you.

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.

Financial Aid

IFSA-Butler’s general scholarship funds are available for Engage programs, and we offer several other innovative opportunities to help fund your Engage London experience. Our Up Front program allows you to bill immediate expenses such as airfare and the program deposit to your IFSA-Butler account and then use financial aid or our monthly payment option to pay for these expenses. In addition, our Work to Study grants pay IFSA-Butler students for various projects completed before or during their time abroad.

Don’t forget that federal financial aid such as Guaranteed Student Loans, Pell Grants and Parent/PLUS loans can usually apply toward study abroad. Ask your home campus financial aid office for details on transferring these funds to IFSA-Butler for your semester abroad, and don’t forget to also ask whether your state scholarships, 529 plan or home campus scholarships can be used to help pay for study abroad.

Meet Your Team

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

aimeeProgram Advisor Aimee Formo is here to assist with the application process and to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Aimee completed her graduate degrees in history and library science at Indiana University, and her undergraduate degree in history at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She studied abroad with R-MWC’s program at the University of Reading, where she focused on 19th century social reform movements. Aimee joined the IFSA-Butler team to aid students who want to study abroad and experience all that England has to offer. Aimee can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4253.

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 Director Lynne Alvarez.

abbyAcademic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.

Program Excursions

England Programs

Arrival and orientation

  • Airport pick-up for group flight travelers
  • 2- to 4-day orientation in London: Includes transportation, accommodation, activities such as historic walking tours of London and most meals
  • Introduction to British culture
  • Discussion of academic differences and expectations
  • IFSA-Butler staff walk students through everything from how to succeed academically to integrating socially in the host university
  • Welcome meal
  • Transportation to host university accommodation at conclusion of orientation


  • Lake District (northwest England) weekend for London students: Includes activities to engage the mind and body such as a hill walking tour that provides an overview of the history and geography of the region; mountain biking; gorge scrambling; canoeing; a night walk; and a Viking boat sailing trip that combines adventure with the history of Viking conquest of the British isles.
  • Optional weekend homestay with a British family

Academic workshops
IFSA-Butler organizes a number of in-person and online workshops designed to help students adjust to the U.K. university system. Topics include:

  • Essay Writing
  • Active Reading
  • Humanities for Science Majors
  • Exam Preparation
  • Resume Building

Co-curricular activities
IFSA-Butler offers a number of excursions that are designed to expose students to various aspects of British culture:

  • Mudlarking in London
  • Thames path walk
  • Visit to Olympic Park
  • Visit to Wembley Stadium
  • Visits to local museums and art galleries
  • Tech City tour
  • Vauxhall City Farm
  • States of Mind, a one-day event focusing on various aspects of the brain/personality
  • STEM careers workshop
  • Symphony Evening
  • Museum of Brands
  • Calisthenics
  • Q&A session at a London mosque

Other activities

  • Free hooded sweatshirt for each student
  • Farewell tea with a trip to Parliament

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


The Engage London program includes an optional internship that replaces one elective course. The minimum GPA required for participating in an internship is 3.0. The internship requires students to obtain a tier 4 visa, which will cost approximately $550 (as of January 2015). The internship duration is worth 4 U.S. semester credit hours.

Participating in an Engage internship involves a work assignment of two and a half days a week or a total of 15-16 hours per week. Students who register for the internship option should be prepared to make a full commitment to the internship program, as the opportunity is 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. Students who participate in the internship should also note that the mandatory Exploring Community & Culture course is taught on Friday mornings from 10:00-12:00, so they should not schedule any internship hours during this time.

Internship placements are available at a wide range of employers, including top U.S. companies, Parliament, fashion designers, British financial institutions, theatres, concert halls and prestigious media outlets. Internships cater to individual academic interests but are generally available in the following areas:

  • Accounting/Finance
  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Communications/Public Relations
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Exercise Science
  • History/Museum Studies
  • Marketing
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Theatre

An overseas coordinator arranges your placement, which may be 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 will charge a withdrawal fee of more than $1,200.

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.

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