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The Capitals and Cambridge: The Making of the United Kingdom

The Capitals and Cambridge: The Making of the United Kingdom
The University of Kansas Department of History and School of Law collaborate to bring you an enriching and insightful program focusing on how the similarities and differences in the home nations of the “Sceptred Isle” were fused into a new nation.
London and Cambridge, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Global Studies
Graduate Courses
Program Type: 
Fulfills KU Core 4.2
Open to non-KU Students
Faculty Led
  • Study the formation of the United Kingdom through history, globalization, crime and punishment at the London School of Economics, Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Cardiff universities.
  • Students will get to tour the Scottish highlands, the Roman town of Bath, Oxford University, along with many other historical sites.
Program Summary: 

The University of Kansas Department of History, Global and International Studies, and School of Law collaborate to bring you an enriching and insightful program focusing on how the similarities and differences in the home nations of the “Sceptred Isle” were fused into a new nation. The shared and disparate regional histories and different approaches to crime and punishment within Britain will be examined in detail.



“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” ~Samuel Johnson

London, a city of over 10 million people, traces its recorded history back to the Roman settlement of Londinium. Prior to the Norman invasion it had already become the largest settlement in England. Since 1066 it has served as the capital of England, and eventually Great Britain. Today it boasts over 250 museums, as well as more than three dozen theatres in just the West End district alone.

Cambridge and Cambridge University

The city of Cambridge surrounds the majestic buildings of the colleges of Cambridge University, a prestigious and world-renowned university, whose graduates, during an 800-year old history, include John Milton, Isaac Newton, and John Harvard (founder of Harvard University).


Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, home of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish seat of the British monarchy. UNESCO has named the city’s Old Town and New Town a World Heritage Site, and named the city as its first designated City of Literature. Students will have a front row seat to over 500 years of the city’s complex history and identity.


In 75 CE the Romans established a fort at the mouth of the River Taff. Just over one thousand years later the Norman king William I began work on Cardiff Castle within the walls of the old Roman fort. In the early 15th century Cardiff was burned by the leader of the Welsh Revolt, Owain Glyndŵr, but soon reclaimed its role as a busy port and political center. Cardiff was named the capital of Wales in 1955, and home to the National Assembly for Wales in 1998.


Depart U.S.: July 6
Arrive London: July 7
London to Cambridge: July 14
Cambridge to Edinburgh: July 20
Edinburgh to Cardiff: July 27
Cardiff to London: August 2
Return to U.S.: August 3

Academic Information: 

Students will take two 3-credit courses. Both courses complement those taught at KU in the Department of History and the School of Law. Classes are generally held in the mornings, with some days taken up with site visits to nearby locations relevant to the courses. Classes held every day Monday through Thursday with a 3-day weekend every week.

HIST 390/GIST 501: Boudocia to Brexit: The Making of the United Kingdom 

Examine the formation of early Britannia through the eyes of the Roman legionaries. See the making of the English nation at the court of Anglo-Saxon kings. Follow the paths of crusaders, witches, and outlaws during the middle ages. Learn the origins of one of the oldest monarchies and parliamentary democracies in the world. Study the character of the nation that halted the Nazi advance across Europe. Understand the British role in fighting communism, building the European Union, and finally its unmaking during the Brexit crisis. This course will outline the development of the United Kingdom in broad themes, over the course of two millennia, demonstrating how English, Scottish, and Welsh history combined to form one of the most unique nations with one of the richest historical traditions in the world.

HIST 390/GIST 501: Crime & Justice: The British Isles & Beyond

The world of sleuthing and crime in Britain has long fascinated an international audience since the age of Sherlock Holmes. This course examines infamous crimes and how society reacted to them, such as the notorious and still unsolved case of “Jack the Ripper.” Students will gain an understanding of the legal systems of England, Scotland, and Wales, while studying in the capital city of these principalities. Thematically the course focuses upon crime and punishment in Britain, highlighting the cultural responses to specific crimes as well as certain methods of punishment. It concludes with an examination of crimes and legalism that transcend national boundaries, such as human trafficking and human rights violations.

Courses will be supplemented with guest lectures by UK faculty. 


Students are housed in single and twin occupancy rooms in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Daily continental breakfasts are included in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Students will be responsible for breakfast in Cambridge. Apart from four group dinners, students will be responsible for their own lunches and dinners.

Life Abroad: 

Students will have the opportunity to explore London, Cambridge, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, and will have a great deal of free time included for cultural enrichment. This will include a guided tour of the Scottish Highlands, the historic Roman city of Bath, and Oxford University.


Open to undergraduate students from any accredited U.S. college or university.

Program Faculty: 

David Hill is a Ph.D. candidate and lecturer in the Department of History at KU. His research interests are late medieval Church and state relations in Britain as well as the development of Reformation ideas throughout Europe’s long sixteenth century. Specifically Hill’s dissertation examines the transformation of religious institutions and its effects upon English culture and politics during the tumultuous years of the Reformation. He has taught courses in Roman, medieval, and modern British history with a wide variety of themes.

Professor Elizabeth Cateforis joined the law school in 1999 as a supervising attorney in the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies. Prior to joining the faculty, she was an assistant appellate defender at the Kansas Appellate Defender Office for the five years following her graduation from law school. She received her bachelor's degree from Smith College and her law degree from the University of Kansas.

409A Green Hall


Deadlines Extended for Spring 2020 & Winter Break 2020 Programs !
List of Programs (PDF)

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