Study Abroad Opportunities

The English Department encourages and supports study abroad for majors and concentrators, wherever their interests may take them. Two programs offer particular benefits to English students, described below.

We will also work with students who elect to study elsewhere, including places where English is not the language of instruction, to develop a plan of study that will meet the department's distribution and other requirements. If you have questions, you should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) at an early stage of your planning. 


The Richmond B. Williams Traveling Fellowship

The department’s Williams Fellowship supports summer research projects requiring foreign travel, with grants of up to $6000.00.

The competition is open to any Columbia College junior majoring in English and Comparative Literature. 

Recipients of the award must undertake a significant piece of independent scholarship based on their research in the senior year – either as an independent study, or as part of the Senior Essay program. 

The application consists of:

(1) A completed application form, which includes the name of a faculty member who has agreed to sponsor the project (note: your faculty sponsor should also be, in principle, willing to advise your writing project the following year), and the names of two additional faculty who are willing to be contacted by the selection committee for further references

(2) A detailed proposal of no more than two pages single-spaced.  This proposal should include the intellectual rationale for the research project, the particular sites and sources that you plan to visit and consult, and a breakdown of your estimated budget. 

(3) A current transcript (including courses currently in progress, via SSOL).

(4) A completed School Sponsorship Application

(5) Applications are due by April 12th, 2024. Please email application submissions to [email protected].

Note: It is highly recommended that applicants review Columbia’s Undergraduate International Travel Policy before and during the application process.

Examples of Past Proposals:


The Columbia University in London Program, under the direction of Columbia's Department of English and Comparative Literature, is in partnership with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). The program is offered in the fall term and is open to Columbia and Barnard undergraduates from all disciplines.

One faculty member from Columbia's English and Comparative Literature department leads the program. That faculty member crafts and teaches a version of the program's Global Seminar, London as Literature, that draws upon their areas of expertise. The Global Seminar gives students the opportunity to study and contextualize literary texts in their immediate geographical and cultural settings. This allows students not only to deepen their understanding of the works, but also the city itself

In addition to the Columbia-taught Global Seminar, students enroll in two or three QMUL courses. QMUL offers coursework across a broad range of disciplines, including physical and natural sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.

A full course load for the Columbia University in London Program is 16 points, which is equal to approximately four courses. All students are required to enroll in the Columbia Global Seminar. To complete your academic program, you select courses from Queen Mary University of London's (QMUL) expansive course offerings.

Fall 2023 Global Seminar 

The exact topic of the Global Seminar rotates depending on the Columbia faculty member who is teaching for that particular term.

The Fall 2023 Global Seminar will be:

London as Literature: The Early Modern City with Professor Alan Stewart. 4 points.

This undergraduate seminar course examines the ways in which early modern London portrayed itself: at the public amphitheater and private indoor theaters, in civic and royal rituals, and in popular pamphlet literature. Throughout the course, we will be engaging with the spatial realities of early modern London, working with the interactive online Map of Early Modern London. We will explore how key sites of the capital (the Royal Exchange, the Guildhall, the Thames, Covent Garden, the theatres) came to hold meaning for Londoners, and in so doing, we will examine how London’s sense of itself came to be shaped its relationship with the crown, with the country, with commerce, with foreigners, and so on. The course covers key events of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; texts studied will include plays and other theatrical events, pamphlet literature, and maps, as well as some contemporary scholarly work. Students will be required to produce a final paper that traces the history and some literary representations of a single London site.

The course will include visits to important historical sites in London and Westminster (St Paul’s Cathedral, Covent Garden, Whitehall) as well as the Museum of London, the Museum of London-Docklands, and Guildhall Art Gallery. If possible, the syllabus will be adapted to include one play being staged at London’s Globe Theatre, and one being staged at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre, to give students a sense of two of the main stages of early modern London, the open amphitheater and the indoor playhouse.

For Columbia students, this course may count towards the following English major requirements: pre-1800, British, drama/theatre/film.

Previous Seminars

Previous seminars have included:

  • Fall 2022: London: Fictional and Real with Professor Edward Mendelson.
  • Fall 2019: Creating Shakespeare with Professor James Shapiro.
  • Fall 2018: London in Postcolonial Fiction with Professor Jennifer Wenzel.
  • Fall 2017: London Theater from 1590 to 2017 with Professor Jean Howard
  • Fall 2016: Reading London: English Literature and Its Archive with Professor Molly Murray.

Queen Mary University of London Course Offerings

A unique feature of this program is the opportunity to experience the British university system. While at Queen Mary University of London, students will study alongside matriculated QMUL students.

To explore QMUL's module offerings (i.e. course offerings), please visit the QMUL Directory of Modules. You should filter by Associate Modules, which are those which are open to visiting students. This page of the QMUL website will help you understand more about taking coursework at QMUL as a visiting student.

Academic Schedule

The Columbia Global Seminar is held once a week, usually on Tuesdays. Course excursions occur Tuesday evening and/or Wednesday afternoon/evening. Timetables for local university courses are scheduled by Queen Mary University of London.


  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in good academic and disciplinary standing at Columbia University or Barnard College
  • Must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • All qualified students are welcome to apply for the program. Students do not need to major in English and Comparative Literature, but they should demonstrate the motivation to study the topic taught in the global seminar.
How to Apply:

Visit the program page on the Columbia Global Engagement website, which will prompt applicants to create a short profile. Once a profile is created, applicants will see a checklist of items to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter of recommendation from someone who has taught you at the university level who can attest to your academic skills
  • Official transcript(s)

For more information, please visit the Columbia in London Program page on the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement website. The program page contains a more comprehensive overview of the program, as well as information financial considerations, life in London, and resources for accepted students.