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British Studies (Cluster)

The British Studies Cluster focuses on Britain’s former empire and the ongoing Commonwealth of Nations.

Cluster objectives include:

  • To provide an interdisciplinary home for graduate students across the university who are engaged in the study of Britain, past and present.
  • To initiate and to sponsor programs relating to Britain across campus and in Chicago.
  • To showcase Northwestern’s vibrant interdisciplinary community of scholars working on Britain and its imperial past.

Programs and events

There are many different ways for faculty and students to participate in the intellectual life of the cluster. Many events, such as our speaker series and workshops, are open to all members of the community. Graduate-level cluster seminars are open to graduate students across the university. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Who should apply?

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. Past participants have come from the following programs:

  • Art History
  • Comparative Literary Studies
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Musicology
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Theatre and Drama

How to apply

Prospective PhD students interested in participating in this cluster should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs.

Current students interested in participating in this cluster should contact Associate Professor Scott Sowerby at

Who to contact

Please contact the program director, listed below, with questions about this program. Or, explore the British Studies website for more information.

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.

To fulfill the requirements of the British Studies Cluster, students need to complete three graduate seminars that focus on an aspect of Britain. Common courses include:

  •     Modern Britain
  •     The British Empire
  •     The Drama of Victorian Society
  •     Dickens and Mayhew
  •     The Victorian Novel and Society
  •     Tudor-Stuart Britain
  •     Gender History
For more course information, please visit the British Studies website.