Travel Course

Engl 372/Engl 372H: Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain travel course

Great Britain Spring 2018 with Prof. Rosanne Denhard
Active learning on campus & in England during our spring break travel component
(PREREQUISITES: ENGL 250; sophomore status or above; instructor's permission. 
Students pay travel fees.)

Travel Dates for Spring 2018:
Depart MCLA Friday morning, March 09; return to MCLA Monday evening, March 19


Crossing Millennium BridgeFrom plays to portraiture, music to museums, castles to cathedrals, and food to fashion, this course contextualizes the literary arts and their relationship with the visual and performing arts, studying all within the cultural and historical heritage of Great Britain.  Our wide chronological focus spans from the early medieval period of Anglo-Saxon culture through the 17th century period of the English Civil Wars through the Restoration.

Our Spring 2018 base location for the travel component: London, England—one of the world's great capital cities—with history, arts, and culture, and an intriguing mix of old and new.  London embodies global diversity in the 21st century.

This full-semester, 3-credit interdisciplinary course incorporates a Spring Break travel component to explore medieval and Renaissance British literature, history, and culture through on-site experiential learning and research.  On campus the class engages in extensive reading, writing, discussion, and research work; on-site during travel, we extend our learning.  

Group Photo

Throughout the travel component, the class experiences the cultures of medieval and early modern Britain—and their contemporary legacies—through exploration of landscapes and cityscapes.  In addition to our days in London, including active learning at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The National Portrait Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, numerous other sites, and traveling on the River Thames, the 2018 class traveled out of the city by train for a full-day visit to York—a city in North Yorkshire with a fascinating Roman, Viking, Medieval, and Renaissance heritage. Prof. Denhard designs the travel component as an integrated part of the full-semester course and works closely with the class to maximize experiential and collaborative learning both on campus and during travel.  Note: All events subject to considerations of overall safety, weather, scheduling availability, and transportation.


Tea Time in York

The Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain is well suited to students from all majors who have interests compatible with the course focus, commitment to collaboration and sustaining a positive group dynamic, and strong work habits.  This course is designed for mature and committed students and is cross-listed as an Honors course.  Please note that this course includes significant walking, stair-climbing, and a busy schedule during travel.  Students need to be energetic, have the ability to be attentive to surroundings, be able to follow oral and written instructions accurately, and have the capacity to respond with flexibility to unexpected situations during travel.  The more prepared you are in the “at home” phase of the course, the more you’ll be able to immerse comfortably and productively into the travel experience later in the semester. 

Within the English/Communications Department, the course may be taken as fulfillment of the “Texts in Contexts” requirement or as a departmental elective.  Interested students could also apply to use this course to fulfill the Core Capstone requirement. 

Globe Theatre

Travel Fee for 2018; $3,475. per MCLA student traveler.  This is the same price as 2016.

Participation is by permission of instructor only.

*Full payment schedule for Spring 2018 (Students make payments to Student Accounts Office):
$275. First payment at time of sign-up
Second payment due within three weeks of signup or no later than September 29
Note: signups may be extended if class group is not full by end of September.
Third payment by December 8
Fourth (final) payment by January 29

*All payments are considered non-refundable, except in the case of MCLA's cancellation of the entire trip, unless the student's place is taken by another paying traveler.  

Tower of London

Price for 2018 travel included: round-trip airfare (Albany, NY is our home airport) and travel to/from

Albany International Airport; rail passes and local transportation in England; 9 nights London hotel accommodations, including daily full breakfasts; daily lunch or dinner, including several special meals; airport snacks/light meals during travel days; all tickets for theatre/concerts/special events and admissions for museums, historic sites; guidebook & course materials; some fun “extras”; and a cushion for emergencies, unforeseen expenditures, and special opportunities.

Students Relaxing

Funding & Scholarships: 

Westminster Abbey, London

Travel Course Scholarships

Student Research & Creative Project/Travel Grants

Students from this course have successfully applied for these merit-based scholarships and research grants in the past.  Interested students should explore these options and then speak with Prof. Denhard as soon as possible upon committing to the course, since these opportunities are competitive and applications for the Travel Course Scholarships and Student Research & Creative Project Grants require faculty sponsorship/recommendations. 

Also, see Financial Aid Office for information on student loans and financial aid.

Prof. Denhard near Tower Bridge, London

Rosanne F. Denhard, Ph.D., Professor of English

English/Communications Department
Office: Mark Hopkins 103-C

Faculty Webpage

Special thanks to all of the students and alumni who have contributed content and photos over the years.  Additional photos by R. Denhard and C. Denhard.

  • Cambridge
  • Cambridge
  • London
  • London
  • London
  • London
  • York stained glass window


Learn More, See More


On-Site Learning

Student Research and Creative Projects

Faculty Quote:

"2018 marks the tenth time I have taught and guided the Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain course since I first began designing the course in 2000.  Over the years the students and I have visited the English cities of London, York, Cambridge, Durham, and Canterbury, and Edinburgh, Scotland as our study sites.  Learning is always an adventure, but academic travel takes the concept of "adventure" to new places, new people, and new experiences. We study what is "old" in ways that bring the past to life in vivid detail and give us insight into our present and future.  The benefits are enormous."

Prof. Rosanne Denhard, English/Communications


Student Quotes:

My experience during my semester as a student in the course in 2016 had been the highlight of my academic career at MCLA and I could not wait for this new group of scholarly travelers to be afforded the same opportunity.  There was just something so special about going through the course and process again in the Teaching Assistant role.  Seeing the students’ projects from start to finish was one of the most rewarding things.  I do not know if I could ever truly express the magnitude this experience has had on my life. . .  I loved our group and watching everyone grow throughout the course. I know this role contributed to my growth as a person and I learned so much working under Prof. Denhard’s supervision during this experience. . .”

—KiLee Fortier, MCLA 2018
Teaching Assistant, 2018; Class member 2016

“This travel experience contained many of my firsts: my first time out of the country. . . the first time crossing the River Thames, first time walking through Shakespeare’s Globe--or at least the closest I can get to the true Globe. The first time on the London Eye, the first time visiting the V&A Museum, the National Theatre, York Minster, Westminster Abbey, the first time seeing the Big Ben clock tower. I say the first time for all of these because I do hope to go back again, ideally enough times so I lose track of how many times I see each of these. There were so many moments that left me in awe, such as York Minster. Not only were the intricate architecture and beautiful artwork breathtaking, but the energy of the space. . . Once we entered, I was reminded of a part of culture, both in England and back home, that valued faith, peace, and harmony.”

—Katlyn Breitenbach, MCLA 2020

“The travel being integrated with the course gave me a stronger appreciation for the experience. The portraiture lesson, for example, meant going into the National Portrait Gallery with a solid understanding of how to read a portrait that allowed for more immersion. One of the most interesting things about London was seeing how in some ways the city built itself around its history. England demonstrates a sense of tradition and appreciation for national history I find remarkable and admirable. . . Regarding my project, I put a great amount of research into writing Bound to the Heart, my historical novel. . . I knew I wanted to incorporate the hands-on component of the bookbinding project. I had a fair idea of the process, but the actual execution was another matter entirely. . . I am thankful I was able to receive the research grant. Receiving this sum made it easier for me to obtain the materials needed and boosted my confidence about this endeavor.”

—Aryel Brosnan, MCLA 2018

"The combination of the academic class and the travel component helped me greatly in becoming a more experienced scholar-traveler. Through this experience, I was able to recognize my capabilities and therefore give myself more confidence which will help me become a stronger student, citizen, and teacher in the years to come."

—Jesse McMillan, MCLA 2014
Teaching Assistant, 2014; Class member 2012

"Finally it dawned on me: I would research the two Elizabethan theatres we had visited, the reconstructed Globe and the still-struggling-to-be-preserved Rose, and compare and contrast their histories both in the time period and their reconstruction efforts in recent memory, and then I would create my own production of “The Tempest”.  The things which had driven me most passionately while I was in England fit neatly together to make the actual research portion of the course not a struggle, but an excitement. I had discovered a subject which captured me fully as a scholar, driving me on to do the work."

—Tyler Prendergast, MCLA 2013

"What I learned most about myself as a scholar-traveler is that there is always something more to learn. That's what I love about being a student: to be able to just keep learning. I'll never satiate my knowledge for things Shakespeare and Elizabethan England and it reinvigorates my need to learn as much I can about theatre and acting history. It is just another step in my desire to become a Theatre professor."

—Elizabeth “Lily” Cardaropoli, MCLA 2012

"It was a rewarding experience on all fronts. I was gratified to have this opportunity to travel to Great Britain once again and lend my experience to a fine class of students and a great professor. I learned a great deal on this trip and it has been one of the defining experiences of my college career."

—Alex Marshall, MCLA 2012
Teaching Assistant, 2012; Class member 2010

"In England, I researched Medieval and Renaissance "common place books."  Commonplace books, or miscellanies, were a way of compiling valued information: letters, recipes, prayers, scholarly work, etc.  In my archival research, I examined materials at the library of York Minster, the British Library, the archives at Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum."

—Lyndsay DeBord, MCLA 2008