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  • Locations: London, United Kingdom; London, United Kingdom
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location London, England
Early Fall 2017
August 6- September 3, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $3,100
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Leaders Clarence Spigner (Program Director); Tory Brundage (Program Manager)
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 1, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Held throughout January and February. Contact Program Directors
  General Exploring race, history and British society as a context for understanding current day health disparities and health services, the Dark Empire is a four-week study abroad program based at the University of Greenwich, in Southeast London, England.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

Dark Empire, now in its 10th consecutive year, is a four-week Exploration Seminar based at the University of Greenwich, in Southeast London, England. We explore historical and contemporary factors responsible for the well-being (health) of Black and other racial and ethnic minorities in Britain with implications for diversity in America and the rest of the world. Non-whites now make-up about 10% of the UK’s 60.5 million residents but are roughly one-third of London’s 32 boroughs.

Guided by an African American professor with expertise in health and race-relations, among the issues covered are: The National Health Service, anti-immigration sentiment, urban (race) riots, Muslim fundamentalism among British-born youths, assimilation and acculturation factors all related to well-being. Interactive seminars, field trips, guided tours, guest lecturers, and participant-observation provide a cultural immersion toward a greater understanding of social determinants of health. An in-depth discussion of two prize-winning novels, White Teeth by Zadie Smith and Brick Lane by Monica Ali, address issues of multiculturalism in modern London. A 5-7page type-written double-space report from a choice of more than 40 health-related topics is due after returning to the states. The Notting Hill Carnival and the South Asian Mela festival occur in London at the time of the program.

Housing is at University of Greenwich’s Avery Hill Campus located adjacent to the 86-acre Avery Hill Park near the City of Eltham. Accommodations include private room with once-a-week change of towels and bed linen, plus full kitchen access and free internet service in each room. Classes are taught Monday-Thursday from 10:00am-3:00pm (1-hour lunch noon-1:00PM) at the University of Greenwich Maritime campus, a 20-minute bus ride (free inter-campus shuttle-bus) from the Avery Hill site. Each student is issued a Weekly Travel Pass good for throughout central London. Credits: a total of 5 for the seminar under HSERV 488.




London, England

Program Website


All students and the two on-site director and staff (Director Spigner and Program Staff Brundage) are housed at the University of Greenwich’s Avery Hill Campus. The campus is more suburban than urban and is within walking distance of downtown Eltham (about a mile) village. Just outside the front gate of the campus is a bus-stop with buses arriving every 15 minutes. A train station (Falconwood) is less than a one-half mile north through pleasant upper-class neighborhood. The other train station (Eltham Station) is about a two-mile bus trip through downtown Eltham. The closest train station is New Eltham, about a 15-minute walk southwest of the Avery Hill campus which shorter still through the back soccer fields and a middle class neighborhood. All trains take students directly to central London.

The dorms (or flats) at the Avery Hill campus were selected because they are safer, fully equipped, and cost less. Classes are taught at the more picturesque Maritime campus about a 15-20-minute bus ride located next to the River Thames. On the Avery Hill site, each student has private room with its own mini-refrigerator, free internet service, change of bed linen and towel once-a-week, access full kitchen, and 24/7 security guard services. The campus has a cafeteria, laundry, gym, ATM, public phone, with open access to computers. The 24/7 guards are stationed at the campus entrance gate and they also roam. The site was facilitated by the Director (Spigner) with the University of Greenwich Housing Authority. The local site coordinator is Senior Lecturer Carlos Moreno-Leguizamon who is a faculty member at the University of Greenwich’s Avery Hill campus.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

There really is no “ideal” student for our study abroad program. Dark Empire: Race, Health & Society in Britain, is purposely design for students at all academic levels. In the nine years since the program was initiated, freshmen, juniors, sophomores and seniors and even graduate students have participated. Dark Empire is about population health and incorporates multiple disciplines such as the Arts and Humanities (novels and popular culture), biology (genetics and the social constructions of race) and the social sciences (politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, immigration, history, philosophy, etc.). Students who desire careers in social work, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, journalism, communication, computer science and public health are drawn to this study abroad program. We attract students-of-color and many first generation immigrants and is purposely design to pull diverse students into the health sciences pipeline to prepare them for graduate study in fields such as Public Health, Medicine, Social Work, Nursing, Pharmacology, and Health Policy and Administration. The seminar ends with a special session entitled: “How to Apply to Graduate School,” where the Director and Staff impart their extensive knowledge about applying for graduate level education.

The pedagogic style in the dark Empire seminar is the Socratic Method, Content is not spoon-fed. Students are required to participate fully and each is selected based upon the quality of their applications, statement of purpose, and face-to-face interviews conducted jointly by the director and staff. Grading is concurrent and cumulative with the criteria fully spelled out in the syllabus and at several orientations. Each year since implementation since 2007, relevant topics were the racist murders of Stephen Lawrence having been brought to trial in 2012 and the Brexit vote in 2015 have been thoroughly discussed. The more than 50-page syllabus covers a historical timeline dating from the time of King Henry VIII to PM Theresa May, including a Cinema Guide of more than 50 British-based films and also more than 40 health topics of particular relevance. There is also extensive original glossary of British terms. Invited speakers are mostly from the University of Greenwich faculty and they provide copies of their slides and readings and are available for follow-up one-on-one interviews. The required 5-7-page report is due before the end of September in same year students return to the states.


5 Credits


HSERV 488 (5 credits)

Learning Goals: 

To analyze a different health system in an industrialize nation in terms of that system’s ability to deliver equal access to health care. This overarching goal will be reached by accomplishing three program objectives: (1) Explore the historical factors that help explain modern-day inequalities in health. (2) Explain the socially-constructed concepts that produce social, political and economic stratifications in health and well-being. (3) Recognized how such paradigm of health, such as the social determinants of health, are manifested in terms of inequalities.

Assessment of each student ability in having met the above learning goals will be the quality and substance of their participation as judged by how well their verbal and written responses were informed. By “informed” is meant the evidence of scholarliness as realized from them having actually read the syllabus, and the two novels, and the quality of their day-by-day seminar participation, and the quality of their 5-7page final paper.

Program Directors & Staff

Clarence Spigner, Department of Health Services, Program Director

Professor of Public Health, Department of Health Services, Director of Masters in Public Health Program. He also teaches in the Honors College and conducts research on the health of racial/ethnic minorities & disadvantage populations.

Tory Brundage, Department of Public Health, Graduate Student Academic Adviser for the School of Public Health’s Public Health Major

Also serves as the Outreach Coordinator, supporting students interested in one of the School of Public Health’s many graduate level programs.


Program Expenses

Cost: $3,100

Estimated Program Fee of $3,100, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $5-50/day – varies greatly depending on activities and preferences), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,100 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, two recommendations from a professor or TA (no formal letters of recommendation required though two character references are required to complete some survey questions as a part of the application), and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.