Cultural Studies: Cambridge

Discover one of the oldest and most famous university cities in the world. Human settlements existed on the present site of the City of Cambridge well before the Romans built a fortified camp on the current Castle Hill, and the city has housed a university since the early 13th century. Starting from a handful of scholars fleeing judicial persecution in Oxford, the university has since grown to dominate the town and establish itself as one of the leading centers of teaching and learning in the world. This course takes a look at both the physical university - the beautiful buildings and grounds of its colleges - and also at the university as an intellectual institution, as a place in which philosophical, political, economic and scientific ideas that have revolutionized our world were born.

Topics include:

  • History of Cambridge and Cambridge University
  • Structure and functioning of the university
  • Architecture of the colleges, university, and city churches
  • Cambridge scientists: Newton, Darwin, Turing and more
  • Cambridge philosophers: Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein and more
  • Cambridge poets: Milton, Wordsworth, Hughes and more

This course is dedicated to the memory of Jim Council (1929-2010), Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Senior Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and UMGC Collegiate Associate Professor, who created the course and taught it for eight years.

Tentative Course Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday)

1500-1700Orientation meeting at hotel; introduction to Cambridge and the university

Day 2 (Sunday)

0930-1200Lectures and discussions: The town before the university; Cambridge from the beginnings to the Civil War
1400-1500Walking tour: Great St. Mary's Church
1500-1700Walking tour: Senate House, St. Bene't's Church, the Round Church

Day 3 (Monday)

0930-1200Lectures and discussions: Cambridge from 1700 to the present
1400-1500Walking tour: Castle Mount, St. Peter's Church
1500-1700Wakling tour: Magdalene and St. John's Colleges

Day 4 (Tuesday)

1000-1230Walking tour: Jesus and Sidney Sussex Colleges
1400-1700Walking tour: Queens' and King's Colleges
1730-1830Optional: Evensong in King's College Chapel

Day 5 (Wednesday)

0930-1200Lectures and discussions: Cambridge poets; the nature and purpose of university education
1400-1700Walking tour: Downing and Pembroke Colleges

Day 6 (Thursday)

1000-1200Walking tour: Sidgwick Site and Selwyn College
1400-1700Walking tour: The Fitzwilliam Museum; Corpus Christi and Emmanuel Colleges

Day 7 (Friday)

0930-1200Lectures and discussions: Cambridge philosophers
1400-1700Research for class presentations

Day 8 (Saturday)

0930-1200Class presentations
AfternoonPunting from Trinity College

Accommodation and Transportation

For your convenience, UMUC coordinates the hotel and excursion arrangements for a flat fee of $650 per student per field study course. This fee will be charged to your student account and covers seven nights of lodging (double occupancy room), as well as local transportation costs and entry to all excursions. Single rooms are available upon request for an additional fee of $200.

The $650 fee does not include travel to and from the city where the course is held. Students must make their own travel arrangements to the course.

Textbooks and Course Materials

Textbooks can be ordered through webText Europe - a secure, online textbook service designed to make your textbook ordering quick and simple. You can also receive on-site assistance from your local program coordinator. For a detailed listing of required textbooks and early reading assignments, please see the current course syllabus found in the schedule.

Registration Details

You may register for the 3 credit field study course with your local program coordinator or online at MyUMGC. Tuition assistance or financial aid can be applied toward tuition costs. For more information, contact the UMGC Field Study Office at CIV +49-(0)631-534-800, or e-mail

Before completing your travel plans, please verify with your local program coordinator or the Field Study Office at UMGC Europe Headquarters that the course will be held as scheduled. If you drop/withdraw from a field study course after the registration deadline, you will be charged a fee of $100.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How is a field study course different from a regular course?
A field study course packs all of the 48 contact-hours of other courses into seven adventure-filled days on location, so you can earn three credits in 5 weeks. In addition, rather than taking place in an education center, a field study course takes place in a historical European city where the subject being studied has its roots. You will visit historical sites and museums as well as participate in lectures that bring it all together for a one-of-a-kind learning experience.

The on-site portion of field study courses are also scheduled during registration weeks, so they shouldn't interfere with your other courses.

For more information, please visit the Field Study Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

Helpful Hints

Before you leave:

  • Contact your travel agency concerning insurance coverage for cancellations.
  • Contact your health insurance company for information concerning coverage at your destination.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of your destination country.
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination.
  • Obtain city maps for your destination.
  • Leave contact information with people at home who may need to reach you during the course.
  • Make sure your legal affairs are in order and leave a short-term power of attorney with someone you trust.
  • Make two photocopies of your passport and the contents of your wallet--leave one copy at home, and bring the other with you.

For more information, please visit the Field Study Resources page.