Study Abroad in London, England - University College London

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Study Abroad in London - UCL: Courses

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Full Curriculum Program

Choose up to 4 courses. AIFS students can select from an extensive range of courses in the UCL curriculum provided that prerequisites are met. To follow is a list of some of the courses that have been previously offered followed by the complete list of subject areas available. Please note not all subjects allow fall and/or spring entry and not all courses are available each semester. Some may be for full year students only.

For a full and current list of available courses contact the AIFS Admissions Officer.

University College London course numbers are shown in parentheses after the American equivalent. Students receive an official transcript from UCL upon successful completion of their program. Recommended U.S. credits are shown in parentheses.

The list below shows a range of popular courses offered in 2019/20. It is not exhaustive and you should note that these module options may change, be deleted or replaced. If you have very specific study needs or require confirmation of module availability for 2020/21, you are strongly advised to get in touch with your Admissions Officer before applying.


American Studies 346 (AMER0046) (4) Spring only
Protest Politics in the United States from the New Deal to Donald Trump

This module explores the history of the United States from the 1930s to the present day by examining the concept of ‘protest’ and its role in shaping the relationship between the state and its people. Students will be encouraged to think critically how grassroots movements have taken shape and developed, and also how elite forces have co-opted seemingly ‘popular’ ideas for their own ends; indeed, top down and bottom up social forces in the United States have often had a dialectical relationship. Movements based around efforts to liberate or gain rights for marginalised people have often revealed deep class and racial fissures in American society and have sometimes struggled to connect to each other.

American Studies 351 (AMER0051) (4)
The Making of Modern America: The United States since 1920

This module offers a critical introduction to United States history from the end of World War I to the present day. It is made up of four thematic sections which focus on: the state and political development; gender and sexuality; the US and the world; and race and ethnicity. Throughout, we will focus on historiographical questions that occupy scholars and interrogate change and continuity in political and social ideology during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Anthropology 204 (ANTH0004) (4) Fall only
Introductory Social Anthropology I

This module introduces students to the role of culture in defining humanity and how anthropologists study it, the role of politics in society, with principles and types of political organisation in both small and large-scale societies, and with aspects of religious belief and practice such as witchcraft, magic, belief and initiation.

It also considers the local and global integration of these societies. Readings (2-3 per week) are a mixture of book chapters and journal articles.

Anthropology 344 (ANTH0044) (4) Spring only
Human Behavioural Ecology

This module is about the evolution of behaviour in humans and examines how much of the variation in human behaviour can be understood in terms of maximising reproductive success in different ecological and social circumstances.

The module introduces classic theories of social evolution (kin selection, reciprocal altruism and indirect reciprocity). The module covers aspects of our behaviour and life history that have parallels in numerous species, as well as those that are (more or less) uniquely human (such as menopause) and discusses how cultural evolution has influenced our behaviour.

Art History/Architecture 351 (HART0051) (4)
Architecture and Modernity

Architecture today is dominated by international design firms that produce spectacular buildings across the world. But how did architecture become global?

This module asks how architectural knowledge and styles spread across continents during the past 150 years. We will confront how European colonialism exported architecture and urban planning to North Africa, the Middle East and India. How did the striking architecture of universal expositions transmit ideas about modernity? How did the so-called International Style of modernism spread through Europe, the United States, Japan, China and South America? Guided by the work of postcolonial theorists and historians, we will examine the reactions to an apparently global form of modern architecture in the 20th century. Ultimately, we ask if there is any room for regional difference in globalised architectural production?

Art History 212/213 (HART0012/13) (4)
Art In London 1600-1850
Specifically for non-History of Art majors. This module covers 17th and 18th century British, French and Netherlandish art focusing on objects in London’s galleries and museums.

The specific content of this module changes each year but the module aims to introduce students to aspects of 17th and 18th century British, Italian and Netherlandish art focusing on artists such as Caravaggio, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto and closely analysing works in institutions such as The British Museum, the National Gallery and the Soane Museum.

Economics 245 (ECON0045) (4) Spring only
Money and Banking
This module aims to enable students to apply both microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis to the assessment of current debates on financial and monetary issues.

It provides a basic understanding of the following: the principles of bank management and their changing character in recent decades; strategies adopted by banks to address risk, with particular reference to informational asymmetries; the economic theory of bank intermediation; the role of banking in the financial system and in the wider economy; banking regulation and government intervention in the banking sector; theories and debates on the role and effectiveness of monetary policy; monetary aggregates, exchange rates and inflation as targets of monetary policy, and the historical experience of UK monetary policy during the past three decades.

Economics 317 (ECON0017) (4)
Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
This module covers core concepts and methods of macroeconomics paying close attention to the relationship between theory and policy.

Prerequisites: Introductory Microeconomics; Introductory Macroeconomics

Film 246 (ELCS0046) (4) Spring only
Of, On and In London
In this module we look at local London as a destination for ‘tourist’ cinema, seeing the city through the eyes of filmmakers from countries around the world, including Denmark, Finland, Algeria, Nigeria, Canada, the United States, South Korea and China. Students are encouraged to discover the city through the stranger’s gaze, and to thematise the familiar and the strange in this urban context.

History 288 (HIST0288) (4)
Medieval History in London Collections
This module provides an introduction to Medieval history through visits to museums and medieval buildings in London.

History 381 (HIST0281) (4) Spring only
Queer Histories in Britain 1880s to the 1980s
This module sets out to answer a variety of questions:

  • How can we, and how should we, write the history of sex and sexuality?
  • How did the experiences of men or women who experienced sexual desire for members of the same sex change over the course of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
  • When did the idea of a homosexual, gay, lesbian, or queer identity appear in Britain?
  • What was the role of legal changes (homosexual acts between men in public or private were criminalised between 1885 and 1967) and of scientific knowledge in shaping identities and practices?

It looks at legal changes relating to homosexuality and the development of scientific thinking on the subject. It also looks at changing queer subcultures, sexual practices, and sexual identities in Britain from the 1880s to the 1980s, asking how practice related to identity, and charting the development of a self-conscious and proud gay identity.

History 371 (HIST0771) (4)
Gender and Sexuality in Transnational Perspective, 1850-1980
This module places gender and sexuality in a transnational framework, tracing the movement and exchange of ideas between different national contexts in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It will examine the role of social, political and intellectual networks, travel and literature in developing transnational concepts of gender and sexuality.

The module will invite us to consider the extent to which some of the key shifts in attitudes toward gender and sexual identities and practices in this period were the product of shared transnational movements and to explore the interrelationship of global and local factors in producing distinct regional interpretations of those movements.

Literature 233 (ELCS0033) (4) Fall only
Utopias and Dystopias in 20th-Century Literature
Through the study of some of the most controversial and celebrated examples of what may be termed as utopian, anti-utopian and dystopian literature this module will explore key elements of dystopian/anti-utopian literature from the twentieth century.

The module examines themes such as the control and manipulation of language, as well as religion, history and gender and considers the way in which the contemporary can be explored in an imagined future.

Politics/History 389 (HIST0789) (4) Spring only
Jewish-Muslim Relations in the Middle East
Jews and Muslims have lived alongside one another since the rise of Islam in the seventh century until today, along a rich spectrum of interaction, cohabitation and conflict. In the modern era, these relations have both flourished and been tested in new ways. Against the backdrop of early encounters, this module traces Jewish-Muslim relations within the broader history of the 19th- and 20th-century Middle East, concluding with contemporary relations in Europe and farther afield.

Political Science 301 (POLS0001) (4)
International Conflict and Cooperation
This module introduces students to the major theoretical traditions in International Relations (IR). It uses these different theoretical approaches to shed light on historical and current events in world politics. The module aims to link theory and the ‘real world’ by providing students with different lenses for understanding and explaining questions related to war(s), nuclear weapons, terrorism, globalization and environmental challenges.

It begins by discussing the theoretical approaches through which international relations scholars analyse world politics - including Realism, Liberalism, Marxism, Constructivism, and Feminism - reflecting on both their advantages and limitations. Focus is on the following questions: Why do states go to war with one another?; Why do some states maintain peace within their borders, while others have experienced long-lasting and bloody civil wars?; What are the causes of nuclear proliferation?; What are the causes of terrorism?; What is globalisation, and what are its effects?; How does free trade affect poverty?; What are the causes of regional integration?

Political Science 316 (POLS0016) (4)
British Politics
This module introduces students to the structure of the British political system and the functioning of British politics in practice. It starts by exploring the social foundations of politics in the UK, looking at the roles of various national identities and of class, gender, and ethnicity. It also gives a broad overview of the main institutions and players in the UK system, setting these within a comparative context. The course has a contemporary and practical flavour, taking full account of recent developments, including constitutional change, and using case studies and official documents to illustrate the roles of different actors in policy development.

Social Sciences 336 (SOCS0036) (4) Spring only
Sociology of Gender
This module focuses on conceptualising gender and how it plays a role in our everyday lives across the life-course. The module will take students through the various conceptualisations of gender and sex – what these terms mean – and the ways in which gender cross-cuts with other social and cultural identities, such as ‘race’, ethnicity, age, sexuality, class, and religion.

During the module, students will explore the impact of gender upon social structures, relationships and experiences, including sociology itself. They will learn to challenge ‘common sense’ understandings of gender using theoretical frameworks and drawing on empirical examples from across the world. The module will cover the following themes: Sex/gender debates; Femininities and masculinities; Gender and the public/private; Intersectionality and gender; Gendered bodies; Media and representation; Social movements tackling gender inequality; Transgender and intersex; Gender and (neo) colonialism; Gender in sociology.

Social Sciences/Health 333 (SOCS0033) (4) Fall only
Public Health in Context

This module will introduce students to public health, a discipline which seeks to prevent disease and promote the health of populations through the organised efforts of society.

Public Health addresses complex health and social problems that are influenced by social, cultural, political, global, environmental, organisational and economic factors. You will debate the definitions of public health, discovering its history, core functions, theories of change, and the range of essential services that can be provided. You will explore the value of theories of change such as transdisciplinary approaches and health systems thinking on the design, delivery and evaluation of public health services. In identifying the different methods of providing public health services to individuals, families, communities and societies, you will critically reflect on the implications of public health service delivery on health inequalities. These activities will help you develop practical skills and understanding of health needs assessment, epidemiology, disaster management, and community engagement.

Social Sciences/Health 344 (SOCS0044) (4) Spring only
Health, Wellbeing and Society

Health and wellbeing are vitally important—to individuals, their families, and society. This module aims to provide students with a single-module introduction to the science of Population Health/Epidemiology. This module is designed for Social Sciences students but may also be of interest to students in other fields; the aim is to be able to understand this area of science, without detailed mathematical/statistical focus.

The themes covered include the different (social and medical) approaches to defining health; the measurement and quantification of health in the population; sources of evidence in population health and epidemiological research; critically understanding this evidence; and a series of current research topics in health research (previous years: nature/nurture, mental wellbeing, addiction, cognitive development and decline, and obesity/physical activity).


Archaeology/History 284 (ARCL0084) (4)
Ancient Egypt in London

This module will study the history, archaeology, art, religion and people of ancient Egypt from the first developing civilisation of the Predynastic period through the age of the great pharaohs as represented in London museums.

Particular attention is given to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UCL and the British Museum. We will also investigate the historical foundation of London’s Egyptian collections via the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum and with a visit to the Soane Museum. The influence that ancient Egypt has had upon the monumental and funerary architecture of London will be explored during a tour of some of the surviving ‘Egyptianising’ buildings, monuments and Victorian cemeteries of London. The module is designed for study abroad students whose home Department is outside the Institute of Archaeology.

Archaeology/History 285 (ARCL0085) (4)
London Before the Great Fire

This module covers the origins of Roman London to the devastating fire of 1666, which destroyed the medieval city. It offers a unique opportunity to see some of the hidden, inaccessible or overlooked gems of London’s past.

It will also introduce students to the early history of the city they are currently living in and how the process of archaeology operates here. The module follows London’s history chronologically and each class will consist of a visit to a monument or area representing a particular aspect of London’s past, such as the remains of the Roman fort or the medieval guildhall. Classes will also be held in the Museum of London. This module is designed for study abroad students whose home department is outside the Institute of Archaeology, and no previous knowledge is necessary.

There is a limited enrolment on this course.

Chemistry 208 (CHEM0008) (4) Spring only
Basic Organic Chemistry
An introduction to organic chemistry. The module involves lectures, tutorials and laboratory work.

A flavour of the material covered in this module is presented below:

Alkanes and Cycloalkanes. Conformation and dynamics of ethane, butane, and cyclohexane and their simple substituted derivatives. Free radical chlorination and radical chain mechanisms. Alcohols, Ethers and Epoxides. Relationship to water. Structure and hydrogen bonding in alcohols. Acidity of alcohols; alkoxide ions, Williamson ether synthesis. Basicity of alcohols; substitution and elimination reactions on protonated alcohols. Substitution and addition reactions with alcohol as nucleophile. Oxidation of alcohols. Inertness of ethers apart from autoxidation and strong-acid cleavage, but contrasting reactivity of epoxides. Use as solvents; crown ethers Aldehydes and Ketones.

Geography 322 (GEOG0022) (4) Spring only
Environment and Society
This module introduces students to the main ideas currently framing the environmental agenda in advanced economies, including sustainable development, the precautionary principle, environmental justice and overconsumption.

The module moves across three broad conceptual areas: Governance - drawing on debates about sustainable development, environmental governance and politics; Discourse - exploring the ways in which claims are made about who should govern as well as existing discourses around ecological modernisation; Practice - examining how more sustainable lifestyles might be promoted according to the various factors shaping contemporary consumption and the value in doing so.

Psychology 238 (PSYC0038) (4) Spring only
Introduction to Social and Business Psychology
This module aims to give non-psychology students an understanding of the theories, research and applications in current Business Psychology.

Module Topics include:

•     What is Business Psychology: an introduction.
•     Research Methods: advantages and disadvantages.
•     Selection Methods.
•     Personality at Work: trait predictors of work output.
•     Biodata Methods and their Limitations.
•     Work Attitudes and Values: whether they predict work behaviour.
•     Theories of Work Motivation: comparing and contrasting various theories.
•     Stress at Work: a critique of the theories, research and recommendations.
•     Learning and Training on the job: issues of efficacy and transferability.
•     Group Dynamics: inter- and intra-group behaviour.
•     Decision Making: individual vs. group decisions.
•     Leaders and Leadership: historical trends and current theories.
•     Working Abroad: culture shock and worker adjustment.

Psychology 316 (PSYC0016) (4) Spring only
Developmental Psychology
This module aims to give students an overview of child development from infancy to middle childhood.

It will examine module topics in contemporary research on cognitive development, and core topics in contemporary research on emotional and social development. 


Film 278 (ANTH0078) (4) Spring only
An Introduction to World Cinema

The module offers a comprehensive introduction to film history from 1895 to the present day and includes documentaries.

It aims to provide a global overview and therefore includes Hollywood as well as other major national traditions. A further purpose is to give students an insight into some of the important theories of film analysis that have been used in the last half century, as well as introducing them to a selection of the writers on cinema who really matter. Nine films will be screened in cinematic conditions and a further eleven will be watched alone by students.

Psychology 215 (BASC0015) (4) Fall only
Psychology in the Real World
This module takes an interdisciplinary view of psychology and sets leading experimental and theoretical results within real-world contexts. Its aim is to introduce students to the application of psychology in the real world and the consequences of misunderstandings in the public sphere as opposed to the resolution of problems in the laboratory. Students will be introduced to the use of psychology in business and industry, sport, public policy, education, the media and other areas of the real world. They will learn the difference between experimental aims and the public use of experimental data and to appreciate the challenges of how to communicate complex neuro-scientific data to the public.


Global Health 203 (GLBH0003) (4) Fall only
Health, Poverty and Development
This module provides students with an understanding of key issues in global development (such as poverty, aid and trade), combining perspectives from the fields of health, politics, economics, sociology and anthropology.

The module begins with debates around what “development” means, followed by analysis of fundamental processes that influence development outcomes - such as trade, industrialisation and aid. It introduces students to concepts such as poverty and famine and looks at their causes. The module also asks whether universal frameworks of human rights and international justice are relevant in today’s multipolar world, and whether they provide a guide for the interventions of global health actors.


Anatomy 201 (ANAT0001) (4) Fall only
Introduction to Anatomy and Development
This is an introductory module in human anatomy and embryology aimed at non-specialists. It will prepare students for more advanced modules that are offered in later years.

The module will cover topographical anatomy of the nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and digestive system. It will also cover introductory developmental biology and stem cell biology. An optional dissecting room class is included. The module will be taught by lectures and practical classes. At the end of the module, students are expected to be able to describe and compare the principal structures of major human organs and systems, and discuss the anatomical basis of the circulation and the nervous systems, and discuss the anatomical basis for actions such as breathing and digestion. Students will also be expected to become familiar with the rudiments of embryonic development.

Biology 203 (BIOL0003) (4) Spring only
Introduction to Genetics
This module offers an introduction to the genetics of a variety of organisms from peas to humans. Topics include Mendelism, linkage, genetic ratios, linkage maps, chromosomes, mitochondrial inheritance, mutation, quantitative genetics, family structure, evolutionary genetics and natural selection.  It aims to introduce modern genetics in a specifically non-molecular context in the hope that students will see that molecular biology has the potential to answer larger and more important questions rather than simply being an end in itself.

Biology 205 (BIOL0005) (4)
Fundamentals of Biology

The module is designed to introduce students with a primary interest in whole organism biology to fundamental chemical principles and experimental approaches to studying how they underpin living systems

The module takes a biology rather than a chemistry-led approach to the subject. Each section of the course will introduce students to a specific topic in biology (biology and water, biology and colour, biology and ageing) before going on to explore the underlying chemical principles.

Pharmacy 207 (PHAR0007) (4)
Introductory Pharmacology

This module is suitable for life science students whose main field of study is not pharmacology but who require a good understanding of the subject. It provides a substantive knowledge of the actions and uses of a range of important drugs and important themes in pharmacology.

On completion of the module, students will be able to give knowledgeable accounts of the following topics:
Receptor/transduction mechanisms, Basic pharmacokinetics, Drug action in the peripheral nervous system (pns) and on tissues innervated by the pns, Drug action in the cardiovascular, renal and respiratory systems, Drug action in inflammation, Pharmacological control of fertility, Drug action on neurotransmission mechanisms with particular consideration of drug use in schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, general anaesthesia and analgesia, Drug abuse.


Business 351 (MSIN0051) (4) Spring only
Business in the Digital Age

This module aims to introduce the aspects of e-Business that present new opportunities for business development and to exemplify e-Business through illustrative case studies.

What business models are more efficient for online businesses? How are prices set online? What are advantages and disadvantages of different payment methods? Why do some auction bidders behave irrationally? How can online content be protected? Finally, what challenges does Web 2.0 bring?

Management 203 (MSIN0003) (4) Spring only
Communication and Behaviour in Organizations

This module investigates the contribution of the behavioural sciences to our understanding of how organisations function, emphasising how an understanding of individual and group behaviour can improve both the quality of working life and the effectiveness of organisations.

The course begins by zooming in on individual differences and how they affect our behaviour at work: the way we perceive things, our attitudes, and our personalities. Then reviewing group behavior will focus on what happens when individuals function, perform and interact with each other as part of a group. This part will cover issues of conflict, team diversity, and how to structure teams engaged in tasks requiring various levels of interdependence. Building on the previous sections, the final part will explore topics related to leadership, creativity, innovation, and culture at both the individual and organisational level of analysis.

Management 248 (MSIN0048) (4)
Understanding Management

An introduction to the core principles and models of management theory. Topics covered include organisational behaviour, strategic management, human resource management and management across cultures. May be taken in the Fall Term (MSIN6001A) or the Spring Term (MSIN6001B).

The module is delivered through lectures and seminars, using case studies and activities based on readings from the textbook. Assessment is through a group presentation and a group case study analysis. There is also an end-of-year exam with essay style questions.


Biochemical Engineering
Biological Sciences
Biomedical Sciences
Chemical Engineering
Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering Computer Science
Earth Sciences
Electronic and Electrical Engineering
English Language and Literature
European and International Social and Political Studies
European Languages, Culture and Society Fine Art
Global Health
Greek and Latin
Hebrew and Jewish Studies
History and Philosophy Science
History of Art
Infection and Immunity
Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mechanical Engineering
Molecular Biosciences
Physics and Astronomy
Political Science and International Relations Population Health
Project Management for Construction Psychology
Psychology and Language Sciences Slavonic and East European Studies Social Sciences
Statistical Sciences
The Americas


AIFS students at UCL are each assigned a tutor who works with them to help them through the semester, to adjust to the UK academic system and to optimize their learning experience.

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