About the Programme

This four-week summer course is offered by the Department of Linguistics and English Language, in collaboration with the Departments of History and of English and Creative Writing.

It is intended to introduce students from a range of majors to some current topics in the study of history, literature, and language. At the same time, it is intended to introduce students to practices of teaching and learning at a British university that might be unfamiliar to them, such as seminars and essay exams.

It focuses on ideas of place, because that topic has been particularly resonant for all these disciplines, leading us to see works of literature, historic events, and everyday language use in a new light. These topics should complement other courses that may be taken during the academic year, without overlapping or duplicating them. The focus on place also enables us to explore specific places in Lancaster and the region around it, through weekly field trips, and relate these places to the course topics.


Each student will have three large-group lectures each week, and two small-group discussions in seminars, held in the mornings over four days of the week. In addition, there will be weekly opportunities to meet the tutors to discuss the work. The lecture/seminar pattern is typical for a British university course. For further detail, see the weekly outline and suggested readings (some details may be modified each year).

Film Screenings

Each week a relevant film screening will accompany the reading; these will be shown during timetabled hours. This year features Julien Temple’s Pandaemonium, Brian Percival’s romantic North and South, Ben Elton’s poignantly comic Blackadder and Damien O’Donnell’s East is East.

Field trips

Field trips take place on Wednesdays and include Wordsworth’s house at Grasmere, Ruskin’s house at Coniston, a restored cotton mill, Manchester City Centre, the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays, and Pier Head and Albert Dock in Liverpool.


Each week social activities are planned in and around Lancaster and the University campus. These include afternoon tea at a vintage tea-room, a cricket lesson, typical British ‘pub-quiz’, a tour of Lancaster castle and surrounding historical pubs, and a final pot-luck dinner. There are also scheduled weekend trips (to Liverpool, Chester, the Lakes), which offer an opportunity to see more of England. These can also be tailored to include places which are of interest to this year’s students – let us know where you would like to go!


A variety of coursework assignments and an exam will mean students experience the different assessment methods typical of British universities.