United Kingdom


Politics and Political Economy in Britain


Program Overview

About York and Yorkshire

Program Faculty
Accommodations and Meals
General Summer Program Information
Eligibility and Application Procedures
Application Deadline


This six-credit program is an opportunity for students to study politics & political economy with a highly experienced British-American instructor in the North of England. The program will be based on the campus of the University of York, just outside one of the country’s most historic and beautiful towns. Two courses will be taught, meeting weekday mornings for brief lectures and longer seminar discussions. Guest speakers, site visits and research trips will be woven into the curriculum in the afternoons, allowing students to:

  • Learn from the political parties about their preparations for the May 2015 General Election, as well as from others working for change outside the political system.
  • Explore the politics of industrial history at, for example, a working 19th century water mill, a 300 meter deep coal mine museum, and a classic textiles town recently transformed into an upscale arts center featuring the work of local painter David Hockney.
  • Hear about the politics of British identity from local organizers of Britain’s ever-changing immigrant communities and those who portray new arrivals from Eastern Europe as a threat.
  • Visit the farming communities that inspired classic English literature and now debate the alternative merits of ‘fracking’ for new natural gas and turning their fields over to wind-turbines.
  • Learn about the triangular trade with America of slaves, cotton, sugar, and manufactures—and visit the home of country’s leading anti-slavery campaigner.
  • Learn how the great manufacturing cities of Manchester and Leeds reinvented themselves as sites of cultural and media production—and have given the world some of the best popular (and obscure) music of the past forty years.  

In short, Yorkshire’s remarkable economic and political history and its people’s adaptation to a post-industrial, multi-cultural world means this is an excellent place to understand Britain—as well as offering striking points of comparison for Americans in a post-imperial, globalized world.


York is a small city of 150,000 people in the North of England, with two leading universities and significant tourist appeal. It has been inhabited since Roman times and is home to the York Minster, a finely preserved cathedral; a mediaeval street-scape and city walls; excellent Roman and Viking antiquities; and the River Ouse. Its famous chocolate manufacturers were also Quakers who were great social reformers and activists. In addition to its many historic sites, York’s cobblestone streets are lined with numerous shops, cafés, pubs, and street entertainers, creating a lively atmosphere, especially during the summer months.  And in a special tribute to its most famous cyclist, Bradley Wiggins, it will play host to the opening stages of the great French bicycle race, the Tour de France.

Welcome to York SignYork downtownYork Minster

Yorkshire occupies a profound place in British identity. It is familiar to movie audiences for its beautiful rural landscapes (Wuthering Heights, All Creatures Great and Small, Harry Potter, The Trip) and of course as a site of gritty class warfare (The Full Monty, Brassed Off). Music fans will know of its contributions to alternative, dance, and popular music alike (Joy Division, Gang of Four, New Order, Arctic Monkeys). It has produced some of the country’s greatest painters and sculptors (Hockney, Moore). And it has a rich comedy tradition.  

Yorkshire’s major cities—Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, and Hull—are within a short distance of York. Formerly global giants of manufacturing and trade, they have struggled with the same economic challenges as Pittsburgh, Trenton, and Philadelphia. They were sites of incredible economic innovation, wealth, decline, and poverty. Some have recovered better than others. They are extremely diverse places with longstanding communities originating in Britain’s former colonies in the Caribbean and Indian sub-continent and newcomers from Africa and Eastern Europe, including Roma families who now struggle to adapt.

These economic and social changes have produced the rich politics and culture that are the program’s subject.

The University of York, where the program will be housed, is comprised of two campuses, each approximately 20 minutes by bus from York’s city center. A bus pass will be included in the student program fee. York is approximately two-and-a-half hours from London by train.

University of York Campus


Students will enroll in the following two courses for a total of six credits. The courses will reflect the instructor’s academic expertise and be enriched by the local opportunities available in the North of England. Students can expect the program courses to have significantly smaller enrollments than the course equivalents taught on Main Campus. 

Political Science 3212 | British Government and Politics (3 credits)
This intensive, upper-level course explores British politics from a base in the North of England. The emphasis is on the major political-institutional and behavioral aspects of U.K. politics, with a British-American comparative perspective throughout. Guest speakers and field trips will allow students to ‘immerse’ themselves in the country’s politics. Guest speakers will include representatives of the major political parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, U.K. Independence Party), economic groups (Trade Unions Congress, Confederation of British Industry, Chamber of Commerce) and other groups (Electoral Reform Society, Liberty, Muslim Council). Although there are no pre-requisites for this course, students with no prior knowledge of British politics, history, or institutions will be required to consult a standard country-based comparative politics text for background prior to the start of the program.

Political Science 2000 | Special Topics: British Capitalism – Political Economy and History (3 credits)
Cross-listed with Economics 3580 | Special Topics: British Capitalism - Political Economy & History and History 2400 | Special Topics (European History Focus): British Capitalism -  Political Economy & History

This intensive course explores British political economy from a base in the North of England, with content specifically centered on the U.K. model and with comparisons to the U.S. economy. The approach is historical, focusing on changing inter-relationships between the U.K. state, major social and political forces, and the structural and institutional dynamics of the U.K. economy. Guest speakers and field trips will allow students to see first-hand how industrial and post-industrial development shaped and were, in turn, shaped by the British people and their political leaders. Guest speakers from local business, labor and civic groups will help students understand contemporary issues. Site visits specifically for this course will include local historical sites such as Thwaite Mills, Armley Mills, Kirkstall Abbey, National Mining Museum, and Saltaire as well as museums such as the People’s History Museum in Manchester and Hull Maritime Museum.

Temple undergraduate students who successfully complete this program automatically satisfy the World Society (GG) requirement of GenEd.


In addition to the field trips integrated with each course, the group will travel together to London for the final two days of the program. During this time, students will visit sites relevant to the program such as the Houses of Parliament.

London Houses of Parliament


Both courses will be taught by Dr. Alistair Howard, an Associate Professor (Instructional) in Temple University’s Political Science Department. Dr. Howard has also taught at Temple’s Fox School of Business and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government. He earned a doctorate in politics from George Washington University (2005) and his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of Oxford (Hertford College, 1988). Dr. Howard specializes in comparative political economy and public policy in liberal market economies such as Britain and the U.S. His current research interests are the uses of international comparative argument in political discourse.

Dr. Howard is committed to student learning. He was a Faculty Fellow at Temple’s Teaching and Learning Center and has taught graduate students in the Teaching in Higher Education Certificate. He also has experience outside the academy.  Prior to graduate school, Dr. Howard was an energy policy analyst in Washington, D.C. for Tokyo Electric Power Company and a contract researcher for National Council of La Raza.  He is a dual-national and was born in Leeds.

Students will be housed on the University of York’s East Campus in flats accommodating approximately 10 students each. Within the flat, each student will have a single bedroom with a bathroom. A shared kitchen will be available for student use. Students may also purchase food from the canteen on the East Campus or from the supermarket or small food outlets on the West Campus, which is about a 20 minute walk or short bus ride from East Campus. The nearby village of Heslington also has a few local pubs that serve reasonably priced food. York’s city center offers a wide variety of dining options.





Undergraduate (6 credits)

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Pennsylvania Resident


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York Fee**



University Services Fee



Required Health



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Personal Expenses






Round-Trip Airfare





All estimated costs are subject to change. They should be used as a guideline only. Accepted students will receive detailed cost information as soon as it is available after the application deadline.

*Per university policy, Temple students who are considered “upper division” are charged additional tuition ($21 per credit) in the summer. “Upper division” is defined as an undergraduate student with a minimum of 60 earned credits, regardless of how obtained. This policy does not affect non-Temple students.

**The York Fee includes housing at the University of York, housing during the excursion to London, local program-related travel, a York city bus pass, a University of York library card, and a few group meals. Please note that this fee is an estimate and will be updated.

***This estimate is for an outbound flight from Philadelphia to Manchester (U.K.) with a return flight from London (U.K.) to Philadelphia.  

In addition to the items above, students should budget money for personal travel and any additional personal expenses.

2014 CALENDAR (Summer II)

Dates are tentative and subject to change


  Departure for Manchester

July 4

  Arrival in Manchester

July 5

  Program Ends in London

August 17




Please see General Summer Information to read about pre-departure information and orientation; passports and visas; scholarships; costs and payment policies; accreditation; and transfer of credits.


Please see Eligibility and Application Procedures for program eligibility, application requirements, and application procedures that apply to all summer programs. In addition, for the U.K. program, the following is required:

  • A typed statement (recommended length of 500 words) describing your expectations and interests regarding this program, as well as any relevant background in the subject area, and specify what you ultimately hope to gain from the study abroad experience. Applicants are asked to complete this statement within the application.  
  • Students with no prior knowledge of British politics, history, or institutions will be required to consult a standard country-based comparative politics text for background prior to the start of the program.




For additional information, please contact Dr. Alistair Howard; Department of Political Science; Temple University;


Education Abroad; 215-204-0720;