Law, History, and Culture in the United Kingdom

Image of Cambridge, England
The University of Kansas Department of History and School of Law collaborate to bring you an enriching and insightful program focusing on the British Empire in the twentieth century, and historical approaches to Crime and Justice in Britain.
Location: London and Cambridge, England; Edinburgh, Scotland
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: HistoryGlobal Studies
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

The Law, History, and Culture in the United Kingdom program will not be offered for the Summer 2024 term. Current plans for 2025 include changes to the legal theme of the program, along with changes to the cities the program will visit, to tentatively include visits to Liverpool and Bristol, while discontinuing the visit to Edinburgh.

  • Study the growth and decline of the British Empire during the twentieth century as well as crime and punishment in Britain while in Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.
  • Students will get to tour the Scottish highlands, Oxford University, along with many other historical sites.

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 the growth and decline of the British Empire in the twentieth century, from a variety of perspectives from within the Empire. The shared and disparate regional histories and different approaches to crime and punishment within Britain will be examined in detail.


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.

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).


“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.


Depart U.S.: July 5
Arrive Edinburgh: July 6
Edinburgh to Cambridge: July 12
Cambridge to London: July 25
Return to U.S.: August 3

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 389/GIST 501: Conflict and Decline: The British Empire in the 20th Century 

This course examines the growth and decline of the British Empire during the twentieth century. Understand how Great Britain expanded empire while simultaneously repressing Irish nationalism during the first decades of the twentieth century. Follow diplomats, writers, scientists, and soldiers as they experience and explore the empire from Antarctica to India to Kenya, drawing complex conclusions about their role within it. Learn about the role of colonial soldiers in defending Great Britain during the First and Second World Wars. Engage with the process of decolonization and its legacies abroad and within Great Britain. Understand Britain’s role in international politics today. This course will explore the rise and decline of the British Empire over one century, plumbing the complexity of ideas and experiences that contribute to this thing called empire.

HIST 389/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 Edinburgh, Cambridge, and London. Daily continental breakfasts are included in Edinburgh and Cambridge. Students will be responsible for breakfast in London. Apart from four group dinners, students will be responsible for their own lunches and dinners.

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

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

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

Andrew Avery is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of History, where he researches the British Empire and Modern European history. His dissertation, “Land of the Midnight Sun: Antarctica and the British Empire, 1895 - Present” examines how the British government and other historical actors incorporated Antarctica into the empire through exploration, scientific research, and cultural depiction. He has traveled widely through the United Kingdom and western Europe.

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