BA single honours or in combination with another subject American Studies 2016/17

American Studies is a fascinating subject because the United States is one of the most diverse places in the world, with a rich history, a vibrant political culture, world-changing literature, film and arts, and, of course, global influence. Our programme allows students to study all of these aspects of American history and culture, and to explain the growth of the United States from thirteen small colonies to a superpower with President Barack Obama at its helm. American Studies is by its nature interdisciplinary, that is, we study history, politics, literature, film, and art all together in order to gain the fullest understanding of the United States.

This range of subject material enables students to gain not only a good degree, but a wide variety of skills, knowledge and experiences which are essential for employment after graduation. American Studies has a very friendly environment in which all of the staff are concerned, above all, with making the subject both enjoyable to study and useful for the future. As such, staff have developed a range of assessment approaches based around coursework, and there are no exams in American Studies.

The American Studies programme at Canterbury Christ Church University enjoys a very high reputation for quality. Our students, too, also rate the programme very highly, as the annual National Student Survey confirms.

American Studies students have several opportunities to study in the USA or Canada, thus greatly adding to their self-confidence, CV, and employability. Students can spend anything from a few weeks to a year abroad, with options including a short annual field trip to a major US city such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago; a summer school; or a semester or full year studying at a university in North America in Year 3. Find out more about study in North America here.

The American Studies Programme follows a pathway structure, allowing students to develop their knowledge of certain themes in American Studies over the three years. These pathways are structured by discipline, and students can choose between History, Race Relations, Politics, Foreign Policy, Film, Art and Literature, or mix and match courses from all pathways if they prefer. Students have the opportunity to study at a university in North America regardless of which one they take.

Year 1 consists of introductory courses for which you need no previous knowledge of the USA. Students are able to decide which aspects of American Studies they most enjoy and then, at the end of the year, they are able to choose their pathways for Years 2 and 3.

Students can choose from a range of modules, including US History, American Diplomacy, American Cinema, The American Dream, and American Art and Literature. These modules provide the foundations for more in-depth study in Years 2 and 3. Topics covered include the Contemporary Presidency, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, U.S. relations with Latin America and Canada, Modernist and Contemporary Literature, the Cinematic City and the Native American Red Power Movement.

Students also have the opportunity to develop their own interests in American Studies by taking on an Extended Essay in Year 2 and an Individual Study Project in Year 3. As well as allowing students to focus on an aspect of American Studies that particularly intrigues them, these projects allow students to develop research, organisation, analysis, and writing skills, as well as self-motivation and self-confidence.

Employers are looking for a variety of skills and attributes from graduates such as versatility, lateral thinking and the ability to work independently and as part of a team. All of these are developed through American Studies. Recent graduates have gone on to further study (e.g. an MA in American Studies or a PhD), and employment in social work, the media, tourism, management, and teaching, but there are few limits to what you can do with an American Studies degree. Students considering a career in primary or secondary teaching may wish to combine American Studies with a subject taught in schools such as History or English. American Studies is particularly useful for teaching History, English, Politics and Citizenship.

Transferable skills gained on your course:

  • Critical reasoning and analytical skills, including the capacity for solving problems and thinking creatively
  • Intellectual rigour and independence, including the ability to conduct detailed research
  • Ability to construct an argument and communicate findings in a clear and persuasive manner, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to work without direct supervision and manage time and priorities effectively
  • Ability to discuss ideas in groups, and to negotiate, question and summarise
  • Capacity to think objectively and approach problems and new situations with an open mind

Download a fact sheet with more information about your career options with American Studies.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules

A Single Honours student will take the first two courses and choose three more from the remaining four. A Combined Honours student will take the second course as either a 20 credit or 40 credit module and then choose another one or two from the list.

  • Divided by a Common Language: Culture and Society in the USA
  • A Story of American Freedom? The History of the United States from Pre-contact to the Present
  • The Invention of America: Texts and Contexts from 1607 to the Present
  • American Cinema Since 1950
  • Rise of the American Colossus: US Foreign Policy, 1898 to the Present
  • American Political Culture and the American Dream

Year 2 (Level 5) modules from September 2014

The precise number of modules to be offered will vary from year to year, but normally we would expect to offer around 7 or 8 standalone modules and the Extended Essay.

  • Extended Essay (linked to another Year 2 module)
  • Removal to Red Power: American Indian History 1830s-1950s
  • American Modernism 1880-1960
  • American Independent Cinema
  • Uneasy Neighbours: US Foreign Policy in Latin America
  • Political Concepts in 21st Century America
  • Atlantic Americas: Commerce, Domination, and Resistance in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800
  • Banned Books: A Literary History of the United States
  • The Beatles: Cultural Context and Critical Understanding

Year 3 (Level 6) modules from September 2015

The precise number of modules to be offered will vary from year to year, but normally we would expect to offer around 7 or 8 standalone modules and the Individual Study.

  • Individual Study (20 or 40 credits)
  • The Modern Black Freedom Movement
  • Contemporary Native America: Resurgence and Resistance since 1960
  • Contemporary American Literature and Culture
  • New Voices in Ethnic American Literatures
  • The Cinematic City
  • Instrument of Power: The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1947 to the Present
  • Politics, Identity, and US Foreign Policy
  • Blood, Terror and Belonging: Culture at American Borders
  • Medium and Message: American News and Media


The 2015/16 and 2016/17 annual tuition fees for this course are:

 UK/EUOverseas *



(placement year or year abroad)


UK/EU students who choose the full-time course with the Year in North America as an option will be charged a UK/EU tuition fee of £1,350 during that year.  Please note that Students studying with a Semester in North America will be charged the full £9,000 for that year, not the reduced fee rate.

Price on application




Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

UK/EU full-time tuition fees for this course are set in line with the current maximum regulated tuition fee levels permitted by the UK Government.

Overseas full-time tuition fees for this course may be subject to an annual inflationary increase in every year where the course lasts more than one year. 

*Overseas fee scholarships may be available for eligible students. For further information please contact or the International Office: .

**Full-time courses which have a Foundation Year 0 will have a 2015/16 and 2016/17 UK/EU tuition fee of £6,000 in Year 0.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet. 

Read the general principles which apply to courses at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Some categories of additional costs are always payable by the student, as set out in the general principles.  These include costs for own purchase text books; DBS / Health Checks (although some may be reimbursed); Professional Body registration; travel to other sites; Library Fees and Fines; Printing & Photocopying; and travel and accommodation / subsistence costs whilst on Placements or Exchange visits.

Learning and teaching techniques used on the programme include lectures, seminars and workshops (including student-led seminars and workshops held in classes and conducted on the University virtual learning environment), tutorials, reviews, reflective logs, document and artefact analyses, independent readings and investigations, bibliographical annotations, and students‘ self-directed learning.

Assessment techniques used on the programme include short and extended coursework assignments, timed essays, group and individual presentations and individual study. There are no exams in American Studies.

We encourage students to spend time abroad because we understand the importance of personal and academic growth during your university career. If you already know that you want to spend a year or a semester in the USA or Canada, you can apply through UCAS for that option. If you are unsure, you can apply in year 2 through our internal competition to study at one of our exchange partners in the USA or Canada as part of your degree. Please see this web page for further details.

Fact file

UCAS code

  • T700 American Studies
  • T703 American Studies (Semester in North America)
  • T792 American Studies (Year in North America)


  • 3 years full-time or 4 years full-time including a year in North America

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 29/07/2016 12:34:00