Downton Abbey comes to Fairleigh: A special course on the hit television program

Madison, N.J. (November 12, 2014) — Addicted to the British drama series Downton Abbey? If you are, Fairleigh Dickinson University has just the thing for you. FDU is offering a unique, non-credit, eight-week class that will look at the many facets of this popular BBC period drama series. Beginning on February 9, 2015, and held at FDU’s Florham Campus in Madison, N.J., the course, “Experiencing Downton Abbey,” will examine the historical and cultural events of the first four seasons of the show as well as discuss the current season as it airs in the United States.
A scholarly frolic through “Downton Abbey,” the course will take an in-depth look at the period in which the series is based and cover world-changing events like the sinking of the Titanic and outbreak of World War I. The class will also look at what day-to-day life was like for the upper and lower classes in Britain, including work and leisure activities, as well as the fascinating history of Highclere Castle — the real Downton Abbey.
There will be a free open house with “afternoon tea” on Sunday, January 4, 2015, from 2 – 3 p.m. to introduce both the class and preview the American broadcast of season five of the series. The open house will be in Hartman Lounge in Hennessy Hall.
The course, “Experiencing Downton Abbey,” will start on Monday, February 9 and meet weekly from 7 p.m.– 8:30 p.m. through April 13 (no meeting on March 16). The non-credit class is open to all. Early bird registration for all eight sessions is $120 (price good through January 7th). After January 7th, the fee is $150.
To register for the open house or the course series, please contact Sharon Brueno at (973) 443-8570 or
The course will be taught by Judith Israel, an instructor in FDU’s Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning and a retired vice president for research services at Burrelle’s Information Services. Israel has also taught English at Morris County College and Chatham Junior High School. She holds an M.A. in English from New York University and an M.L.S. from Rutgers University. There will also be guest lecturers, from FDU, on various topics.
Broadcast by PBS in the United States, “Downton Abbey” has become the most watched PBS drama of all time. The show has been viewed by an estimated 120 million viewers in 200 countries and regions.
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus is located at 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940. For more information, contact instructor Judith Israel at Updated information will also be available at

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