Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Semester Programs: Britain

Narrow, winding streets. Ancient timbered houses so old they're protected by a conservation order. And no cars. This is the center of York, the host city for Calvin's semester in Britain. The city's layers of history—almost 2000 years worth—will be a constant source of intrigue as you study at York St. John University, located right in the heart of it all.

No matter what major you're pursuing—business, communication, education, English, film, history, information technology, sport and exercise or religion—you'll find classes to take at York St. John University.


You must be of sophomore status and have 2.5 GPA or higher to study in York.


The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The price for the Britain semester will include:

  • Tuition, room and board; students will receive a weekly stipend to cover all meals while in the program
  • Round-trip airfare from Grand Rapids to the program site
  • Administrative fee
  • Program excursions

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: books, insurance (required), passport, personal spending money and personal travel.

This price may change due to fluctuations in the rate of the dollar against the British pound.


You will stay in your own dorm room on the campus of York St. John University for the semester.


Each student will take four courses while in York. All students take these two courses taught by the Calvin program director during the Spring 2016 semester:

STBR XXX History of Theology in Britain

This course will examine the history of Christian theology in the British Isles. From the early evangelization of Britain through the rise of the Church of England in the Reformation period to the theological shifts in secularized contemporary Britain, this course will study how the key themes of Christian belief have been understood in distinctive ways in the British churches and by key British theologians. Attention will be paid to ways in which broader theological trends were appropriated in the British context and to the role of prominent British theologians in the unfolding of the broader Christian theological story.

3 semester hours, Theological Foundations II core credit—possibly Theological Foundations I or Biblical Foundations II core credit; Historical Theology credit for Religion major; Theological Studies credit for Religion minor
STBR 312 Society, Culture, and Church in Modern Britain

This course will study modern British culture in historical perspective. On the one hand, we will explore British culture in general. In addition to examining the nature of historical and cultural change, this part of the course will enable us to ask what can learn about ourselves as we study other historical periods and encounter people from different cultures. On the other hand, we will also examine the changing place of Christianity in British society over the two centuries. This part of the course will focus on the church culture of late-Victorian England, the response of British churches to the two world wars, and ways in which churches have engaged the increasingly secularized and pluralistic social realities in Britain. For both of these dimensions of the course, we will take regular excursions around Britain and learn from expert guides and local historians. We will use landscapes, cities, historic sites, churches, castles, football pitches, country houses, and theatres as primary texts, in addition to course readings.

4 semester hours, Global and Historical Studies core course and CCE credit

Two more courses may be chosen from York St. John University's course (or "module") list. Choose modules available during "SEM2". One credit will be awarded for every five credits earned in a York St. John module (e.g. a 20 credit course will earn you 4 Calvin credits).

Please note: The grades from the two courses taught by the Calvin instructor will factor into your GPA. The grades for the two courses taken at YSJ will be listed on your transcript, but will not be calculated into your GPA. Grades below "C" will not be accepted for credit for the YSJ courses.

You may also want to consider taking HIST 225: The History of England, which is offered every fall semester, in order to prepare for the semester.


The application deadline for the Spring 2016 Semester is September 28, 2015. To apply for the program, please follow the directions to apply through our Horizons online system at this link.

Guest students may apply for this program.


Program Director, Spring 2015
2015 - Bill Romanowski, CAS
(616) 526-8527

Past and Future Program Directors
2010 - Dean Ward, English
2011 - Ken Bratt, Classics
2012 - Brian Bolt, HPERDS
2013 - Scott VanderLinde, Economics
2014 - Susan Felch, English
2015 - Bill Romanowski, CAS
2016 - Matt Lundberg
2017 - Susan Felch, English



More about York

Location: York is in the middle of England, halfway between London and Scotland. A two-hour train ride will take you to either place.

Population: 191,800

History: Founded by the Romans as Eboracum in AD 71. Ruled by the Angles and conquered by Vikings before becoming a prosperous city of trade in the early middle ages.

York St. John University

Student body: 6,400 students

Academics: programs in the arts, business and communications, education and theology, and health and life sciences.


The city of York is located in the middle of a larger region called Yorkshire, an area of picturesque moorlands and valleys, with dramatic limestone scenes to the north, lush, sprawling meadows to the south and coastline landscapes to the east.


The program includes excursions to historical and cultural sites in cities like London, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh and Manchester.

You may also travel on your own, and may wish to do so on your 3-week-long spring break.