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  • Locations: Cambridge, United Kingdom; London, United Kingdom; Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Program Terms: Winter Break
  • Budget Sheets: Winter Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Hotel Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, General Public, Non-Degree Seeking Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Nursing, Social Work, Honors, Global and Community Health, Biology, Global Affairs, Health Administration, Integrative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Minimum GPA (Graduate): 3.0 Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Public Health in Great Britain: Past, Present and Future

United Kingdom, Winter 2020

London and hospital

This program runs every other year. It will be offered again in Winter 2020.

This course explores the ways in which political, social, and economic institutions and practices influence the history of disease, its understanding, and its control within the context of public health in the United Kingdom. We will examine the historical foundations of public health and epidemiology, visiting important locations such as the John Snow’s Broad Street pump, the Florence Nightingale Museum, Parliament, and several additional significant places. We will explore the differences and similarities in public health across three different cities in Great Britain – London, Cambridge and Oxford.  We will compare and contrast United States health care system with Britain’s National Health Service.  


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University. 

Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.


Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.

Anticipated Course Options*

  • Global and Community Health - GCH 491: Study Abroad in Public Health
  • Global and Community Health - GCH 591: Study Abroad in Public Health
*Subject to change. Course offerings will be finalized by the application deadline.

Program Dates*

January 2020


Sample Itinerary 

Day 1 Arrive in London and meet at the hotel for check in and unpacking. Welcome dinner.
Day 2 Topic: London and John Snow
A 2003 poll of British doctors voted 19th century Dr. John Snow the greatest doctor of all time. It was his pioneering techniques of mapping the spread of disease which led to among other things, the discovery that cholera is spread via contaminated water and food. His medical mapping techniques are the foundation of today's understanding of the spread of diseases such as AIDS. We take a 3 hour walking tour following in the steps of Dr. Snow as he tracked the 1849 cholera outbreak a long the River Thames and identified the offending water pump located on Broadwick Street. Your guide will also detail Dr. Snow's other work on calculating the correct dosage of ether and chloroform to be
successfully used in surgery. This afternoon we take relaxed look at St. Paul's Cathedral, the second largest in the world (St. Peters is first) and location for the funeral of Florence Nightingale. The cathedral has recently completed a multi million pound restoration.
Day 3 Visit: Hunterian Museum
See the foundations of modern medicine at work including an example of how Joseph Lister used Louis Pasteur’s Germ Theory of Disease to develop a practical solution to post-operative infections. The Hunterian Museum boasts unrivaled collections of human and non-human anatomical and pathological specimens, models, instruments, painting and sculptures that reveal the art and science of surgery from the 17th century to the present day.

Visit: British Museum, Living and Dying Exhibit
People throughout the world deal with the tough realities of life in many different ways. The displays in Room 24 explore different approaches to our shared challenges as human beings, focusing on how diverse cultures seek to maintain health and well-being. The new displays provide case studies on the theme "Living and Dying" using material from New Zealand, Ghana, the Solomon Islands, South America
and the North American Arctic. The displays consider different approaches to averting illness, danger and trouble, and investigate people's reliance on relationships - with each other, the animal kingdom, spiritual powers spirits and the world around us. Objects range from ancient gold artifacts and sculptures to a specially-commissioned art installation, Cradle to Grave by Pharmacopoeia.
Day 4 Free day
Day 5 Visit: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
This morning we meet with faculty and students at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London. The school's mission is to further the understanding and teaching of worldwide health through a combination of research, post graduate teaching and advanced training methods. The School's research addresses a range of specific topics covering both international and UK focused areas. The morning is dedicated to touring their facilities and discussing their work.

Visit: Florence Nightengale Museum
This afternoon we visit the Florence Nightingale Museum located in St. Thomas Hospital. Her leadership of the nursing team caring for British soldiers during the Crimean War is credited with saving the military from a medical disaster. But she was also a visionary health reformer and a master at public relations before the term PR even existed. At one time her popularity in Britain was second only to Queen Victoria.
Day 6 Topic: Midwifery in the UK
Visit to the Nursing and Midwifery Council
Day 7 Visit: Dean Street Clinic
Dean Street is an award winning HIV and sexual health NHS clinic in the heart of Soho. The 56 Dean Street clinic offers emergency appointments and convenient online services allow you to book a check-up in your own time or order a HIV home test. The clinic also offers talking therapies and exciting community engagement events to enhance well-being.

Topic: The Role of Government
Meeting with officials from the Government Health Department to discuss future plans for the National Health Service. There is a current Parliamentary White Paper entitled "Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy for public health in England". We will have the opportunity to discuss this far reaching long-term vision for the future of public health in Britain.
Day 8 Day trip: Cambridge
A seat of academic learning since the 13th century, historically the population of Cambridge has suffered from the city's unfortunate location in the midst of low lying waterways and marshes of the surrounding Fenlands. Medieval Cambridge was crowded and susceptible to frequent outbreaks of the Plague, Typhoid, dysentery and other diseases borne from unsanitary conditions. Our walking tour of the city will include sites associated with the development of the city's improvement in public health such as St. John's College home to the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist which cared for the impoverished and elderly. In 1895 the city established a state of the art pumping station which was so successful, it remained in operation until 1968. Also see Old Addenbrookes Hospital which began with a staff of just six. Hobson's Conduit was constructed in the early 17th century and was revolutionary for its era, for the first time bringing fresh water into the city from nearby springs. Prior to this time the only liquid refreshment thought safe to drink was beer, hence the large number of breweries which survive even today. We visit the Public Bath house which offered personal hygiene facilities to the working classes. Finally we visit the home of bio-chemistry Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins whose breakthrough science in essence discovered vitamins. Twenty years later a fellow colleague Dr Elsie Widdowson oversaw the first ever compulsory addition of a substance to food, calcium to bread. She was also responsible for formulating war-time food rationing when ironically many say the British population was at its peak health living on a diet of vegetables, bread and potatoes. Late afternoon return to London.
Day 9 Topic: Sewers and Nursing
This morning we visit Crossness Pumping Station, constructed as part of the solution to London's "Big Stink" and the integral system of sewers commissioned by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. It was a system designed to combat the problem of raw sewage dumping into the River Thames. Typical of its time, the station itself was something of an art piece with ornate iron work built around a central Octagon. This afternoon we tour the Royal College of Nursing or the Queen's Nursing Institute. The RCN represents nurses and promotes the excellence of nursing practices and helps shape modern day public health policy. The Queens Nursing Institute is a charitable organization dedicated to improving the home bases nursing care.
Day 10 Visit: Houses of Parliament
House of Commons–Westminster Hall
We will follow in the footsteps of the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament; from the Queen’s Robing Room, through the Royal Gallery and Prince’s Chamber, into the majestic Lords Chamber. Tours then move on through Central Lobby, Members’ Lobby and one of the voting lobbies before entering the Commons Chamber, the scene of many lively debates.
Day 11 Travel to Oxford. Group dinner in one of Oxford's landmark pubs.
Day 12 Visit: Nuffield School of Public Health
Presentations on current UK public health interventions
Day 13 Visit: Bodleian Library
We will enjoy an extended tour of the world famous Bodleian Library, including Duke Humfrey's medieval library, and Radcliffe Camera. For Harry Potter fans, the Bodleian is the setting for the hospital wing in the movies. Afternoon free in Oxford.
Day 14 Return to London. Farewell dinner.
Day 15 Program end and departure for US.

* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Winter 2018: $4625

Winter 2020: coming September 2019

Included: Tuition for 3 credits, double and triple occupancy hotel accommodations, daily breakfast at hotel, some additional group meals, guided tours and excursions as described in itinerary, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, most meals, personal spending, required textbooks and/or course materials. *Note: Participants must arrange their own airfare once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by mid-October, 2019 in order to confirm your enrollment in the program. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by mid-November, 2019. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Refund and Cancellation Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Refund and Cancellation Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:



GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:


Application Opens:

August 2019

Application Deadline:

Early October, 2019


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Laura Poms
Name Dr. Laura Poms
Phone 703-993-9853

Global Education Office
Program Administrator

  Denise Elles-Mdahuar Photo
Name Denise Elles-Mdahaur
Phone 703-993-2155
  Make an appointment

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.