British Culture & Harry Potter

west highland railway

Photo courtesy of

Program Overview:

If you grew up fascinated by the magical world of Harry Potter, this program is for you!  Through a combination of travel, experiential learning and academic investigation, this course will explore the locations that inspired the Harry Potter novels and films.

During your time abroad you will:

  • Explore and experience through travel the cultural and historical locations in England and Scotland that inspired the Harry Potter series
  • Identify and assess the similarities and differences between the novels and films and the ways in which each drew inspiration from cultural sites in Great Britain
  • Develop critical thinking skills about complex social issues relating to inequality, race, and gender within the context of contemporary Great Britain.

Excursion Highlights:

  • Tour of London, including Harry Potter sites such as Westminster Underground, Houses of Parliament, Scotland Yard, King's Cross Station and many more!
  • Tour Warner Brothers Studios, where the films were made
  • Historic Lacock Village, still paved with cobblestones, where filmmakers shot scenes of Lily and James Potter's home, Professor Slughorn's house, and Professor Snape's classroom
  • Beautiful Gloucester Cathedral, film location for Hogwarts School
  • Suburban street entitled Picket Post Close, film location for the Dursleys' home
  • Oxford University tour, film location for key scenes of Hogwarts School
  • Historic Goathland Train Station, film location for Hogsmeade Station
  • Spectacular Durham Cathedral, film location for Professor McGonagall's classroom
  • The imposing Alnwick Castle and grounds, including a real broomstick flying lesson!
  • Tour of beautiful and historic Edinburgh, Scotland, J.K. Rowling's home town, including Harry Potter sites on the Royal Mile, at the Elephant Café (where Rowling wrote the first book), Balmoral Hotel (where she finished the final novel), Edinburgh Castle, the Museum of Scotland, and much more!
  • Tour of the West Coast of Scotland and Scottish Highlands, including film locations for Hagrid's hut, outdoor scenes of Hogwarts School, and the lake where Harry saw his stag Patronus
  • Ride the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mailaig, the scenic trip on the Hogwarts Express, crossing over the beautiful Glenfinnan stone bridge in the film

**This course is not licensed, endorsed or approved by, or affiliated with, Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling.

Academic Calendar:

June 3-24

Academic Focus:

Interdisciplinary Studies (ID) 370; satisfies Upper-Division General Education requirement in the Social Sciences (DD)


  • Class level:  first-year through graduate students are welcome; must have upper-division standing to earn DD General Education credit. Non-students may also attend (inquire for more details).
  • GPA:  2.75 and above; good academic standing to departure


3 units, ID 370 through Extended Learning.  Students who have already taken ID 370-12, Harry Potter course at Cal State San Marcos, are encouraged to also take the study abroad course and will earn course credit for both courses.


Shared rooms at various hotels throughout the cities visited

Estimated Cost:

$4,900* + Extended Learning Fees, estimated at $252

All fees include transportation in country, accommodation, daily breakfast, all excursions and medical insurance.  Airfare and personal expenditures NOT included in the program cost. 

*Based upon a program enrollment of 20 students.  Program price will be $5,200 for fewer than 20 enrolled students.

Some Useful Airfare Search Engines:

Please be sure to read the fine print concerning change fees, taxes, luggage restrictions, etc. before booking.  Whenever possible, book directly with an airline.

To Apply:

  1. Attend an information session led by Professor Pershing. See dates and times below.
  2. Print out the application below.  All application materials must be received by Monday, December 15, 2014,  along with your non-refundable $300 deposit to the Office of Global Education. Only cash, checks or money orders will be accepted.  Please make checks payable to CSUSM.
  3. Final payment of $4,600 is due on Monday, February 2, 2015 to the Office of Global Education.  If enrollment does not meet 20 students, an additional $300 will be required to run the program.  Please make checks payable to CSUSM.  The transcript fees through Extended Learning estimated at $252 will be billed to your student account some time in May.

  4. A mandatory pre-departure orientation will be held with Professor Pershing in early December 2014 to discuss arrival instructions and the upcoming course.  Proof of attendance will be recorded.

Harry Potter Summer 2015 Application:

Attend an Info Session:

  • Monday, November 17, 6:00-7:00 pm, Mark 205
  • Tuesday, November 18, 12:00-12:45pm, Mark 203
  • Wednesday, November 19, 12:00-12:45pm, Mark 205
  • Thursday, November 20, 6:00-7:00pm, Mark 203