Travel Course

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

Join Prof. Rosanne Denhard for travel to Great Britain in Spring 2018

About this course:

Crossing Millennium BridgeThis full-semester 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.  The 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 will span from the early medieval period of Anglo-Saxon culture through the 17th-century period of the English Civil Wars and the Restoration.  On campus the class engages in extensive reading, writing, discussion, and research work; on-site during travel, we extend our learning.  After returning to campus, we complete and polish our research projects and present our work.


Group Photo

This course is designed for mature and committed students.  A challenging, active-learning and research-oriented interdisciplinary course, the Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain is well suited to students from all majors who have interests compatible with the course, commitment to collaboration and a positive group dynamic, and strong work habits.    


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, museums, libraries, cathedrals, castles, historic sites, attendance at performing arts events, and participation in on-site research and workshops. 


Tea Time in York

Within the English/Communications major or minor the course may be taken as fulfillment of the Department's "Texts in Contexts" requirement or as a departmental elective.  In fulfillment of Honors Program criteria, this course may be taken for Honors credit.  Class size is limited to under 12 students for Spring 2018.  (PREREQUISITES: ENGL 250; sophomore status; instructor's permission. Students pay travel fee.)


Our Spring 2018 England base location for the travel component will be London, one of the world's great capital cities, with history, arts, and culture, and an intriguing mix of old and new. We will have four full-day trips by train out of London in order to experience a wide range of locations in which to explore and learn. In addition to our activity days in London, in 2018 our day trips will include: York--a city in North Yorkshire with a fascinating Roman, Viking, Medieval, and Renaissance heritage; the southern cathedral and market city of Canterbury; the medieval to modern university city of Cambridge; and the Tudor royal palace and grounds of Hampton Court in Surrey.

Globe Theatre

Travel Dates for Spring 2018:

Westminster Abbey, London

Departing MCLA Friday, March 09; returning Monday evening, March 19


Total Travel Fee for 2018 is $3,475. per MCLA student traveler. 
We cannot accommodate non-MCLA guests or alumni in 2018. 
Participation is by permission of instructor only.


*Full payment schedule for Spring 2018:
$   275. First payment at time of sign-up 
$1,000. Second payment due within three weeks of signup 

$1,000. Third payment by December 8
$ 1,200. 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. 


Price for 2018 travel includes: round-trip airfare (Albany, NY is our home airport); rail passes; 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; all tickets for theatre/concerts/special events and admissions for museums, historic sites, etc.; guidebook & course materials; some fun "extras"; and a cushion for emergencies, unforeseen expenditures, and special opportunities.

Tower of London

Prof. Denhard designs the travel as an integrated part of the course and works with the class to maximize experiential and collaborative learning both on campus and during travel. There will also be free time during travel for exploring on your own.

Students Relaxing

Funding & Scholarship Note: MCLA has a limited number of approximately $300. Student research/travel grants available by application for students with exceptional research project plans.  Students from this course have successfully applied for these research grants in the past. Interested students should speak with Prof. Denhard as soon as possible upon committing to the course.


Since Spring 2014: Travel Course Scholarships. More information to follow soon. See Financial Aid Office for information on student loans.


Please contact Prof. Denhard if you are interested in participating or would like more information.

Prof. Denhard near Tower Bridge, London
Rosanne F. Denhard, Ph.D., Professor English/Communications
Department Office: Mark Hopkins 103-C
Office Phone: 413-662-5195

Faculty Webpage

Special thanks to all of the students and alumni who have contributed photos over the years.

Learn More, See More

Prof. Denhard has designed a presentation documenting the course experience, including further descriptions, more student quotes, photographs, and selected abstracts of student research and creative projects.

Faculty Quote:

"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:

"It was a rewarding experience on all fronts, and prepared me for what may be a possible teaching assignment one day. 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, Spring 2012


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

Jesse McMillan
MCLA 2014
Teaching Assistant, Spring 2014


 "I learned the confidence and know-how in order to travel on my own.  Using the experience from the class, I've prepared a second trip to London, England and also to Ireland.  This implies creating an itinerary, but the ability to intellectually prepare myself by learning context before travel is the real benefit.  I am also using my return to London as an opportunity to revisit Westminster Abbey and other sites in order to deepen my connection and understanding further so that I may bring my project further, make it worth sharing at more conferences, and possibly even go on to publish."

Kimberly Domanico
MCLA 2013


"Finally it dawned on me: I would research both of the 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. This project felt almost too perfect: 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


"In England, I researched Medieval and Renaissance "common place books."  I incorporated on-site learning at historic sites/museums and archival library research.  Common place 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


"London was where my research really took off. At the National Portrait Gallery I was able to see the actual paintings of portraits I had only seen in books, a room filled with paintings of Elizabeth I from her coronation to her later life. When I finally found the portrait of Shakespeare it was a crowning moment. Being face-to-face with one of my biggest inspirations was very meaningful to me and during the visit I kept going back to his portrait just to look him in the eyes. . . 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, Elizabethan and England and it reinvigorate 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 Cardaropoli, MCLA 2012