If you enjoy history, politics, international relations, literature, and film, and are looking to gain a wide set of skills, I would highly recommend this course.



America is distinct among modern countries because of the stories it tells about itself; as the land of the free, and as a site of endless possibilities.

A degree in American Studies asks you to uncover the stories that are not being told and to interrogate the world’s superpower using a variety of disciplinary approaches.

Our academics are leading researchers in American Cinema, History, Literature, and Politics and we bring our expert knowledge to bear in challenging and rewarding classes.

Why study American Studies?

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 and film, and global influence. In this programme – which encompasses BA American Studies Single Honours and BA American Studies Combined Honours – you will learn about the history, culture, and politics of the United States.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 88-112 UCAS Tariff points.

More information about entry requirements.

UCAS Points

All about the course

The American Studies programme is designed to allow you as much diversity and flexibility as possible. As such, it follows a Strand structure through Years 1, 2 and 3. You will choose between four disciplinary Strands – in film studies, history, literature, and politics – and a fifth interdisciplinary strand in American Studies, with a focus on skills and graduate attributes.

Students will be able to choose from a selection of modules at Year 2 and from still more choices at Year 3 (although some modules may not run each year).

You will be able to follow Strands (and groups of Strands) from beginning to end, or you can “mix-and-match” modules from across the Strands. The course is designed on a pyramid structure, with Year 1 providing the foundation, or base, and Year 6 the specialisation, or peak. Year 2 is designed to “bridge the gap” by consolidating the knowledge gained at Level 1 and confirming that you have the required knowledge and skills before you specialise in Year 3.

Subject to availability, you will also be able to take certain modules validated within the History, English Literature, and Film, Radio and Television Studies Programmes.

This pyramid structure is designed to support students for success by offering an evolution of academic and graduate skills that progress as you do. The architecture of the programme is designed so that you can excel at each level of study and progress in measurable ways across each of the three levels.

Module information

Please note that the list of optional modules and their availability may be subject to change. We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. 

In Year One combined honours students will take three core modules. These modules differ depending on the combining subject. They have been set to meet the learning needs of the combined honours subject and align with the specific combination. You can see the list of core modules for each combination here.

Core/optional modules

How you’ll learn

In a typical semester, you will be taking three modules. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will typically have between 9 and 12 contact hours per week.

Seminars in smaller groups will enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures. In addition, you will meet with your academic personal tutor.

Styles of teaching, and contact hours, depend on the option modules you select.

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2022.

American Studies students are expected to undertake independent research and reading outside of their classroom time. Through the library they will have access to all the relevant books for each module, as well as a wealth of digital resources. Core learning resources will be made available through each module’s Virtual Learning Environment, or “Blackboard”.

Your overall workload typically consists of 9 to 12 contact hours during semester time. In addition you will undertake 15 to 18 hours of independent research alongside workshops and one to one supervision sessions. If you choose to undertake a field trip to the United States, average contact time rises considerably.

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

All our team members hold doctoral and teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You can find out more about the current teaching on our Meet the Team webpage. You should note members of the teaching team might change. 

Postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching and assessing some modules. However, the permanent programme team teach the vast majority of lectures and seminars.

American Studies provides intellectual flexibility to design your own course of study across disciplines and to learn from a decolonised curriculum that explores the histories and cultures of marginalised peoples.

Althea Legal-MillerProgramme Director

How you’ll be assessed

Single Honours American Studies is assessed almost entirely by coursework. Different modules will have different types of coursework, depending on what best suits a particular topic or discipline, but most modules will be assessed by a combination of essays, presentations, and shorter portfolio assignments.

Study in North America

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.

Extended essay and dissertation

In second year, you will have the opportunity to produce an Extended Essay, a 5,000 word research project of your own devising that is linked to a module that you have studied. In third year, the dissertation gives you even more freedom, allowing you to work with your supervisor to create an original research question, for which you will produce a 10,000 word response.

Your future career

Employers are looking for a variety of skills and attributes from graduates such as versatility, critical thinking and the ability to work independently and as part of a team. All of these are developed in our American Studies course. Recent graduates have gone on to further study, 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. If you are considering a career in primary or secondary teaching, you may wish to combine American Studies with a subject taught in schools such as History or English. We also offer tailor-made workshops on employability and graduate skills as part of your degree.

There are many opportunities to work and gain experience alongside your studies which help you gain the valuable skills employers are looking for.


Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

of our American Studies students were in jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their course.

Combination courses

Combined UCAS Codes

Course UCAS Code Placement Year
Applied Criminology MT97 -
Business Management TN71 T7N2
Drama WT47 -
Education Studies XT37 -
English Language Q3TR -
English Literature TQ73 -
Events Planning NT88 -
Film, Radio and Television TW76 -
History TV71 -
International Relations LT2T -
Marketing TN75 T7N6
Media and Communications TP73 -
Politics LT27 -
Sociology T704 -
Sport and Exercise Science CT67 -
Tourism Studies TN78 -


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time £9,250 £13,000
Full-time - year abroad £1,385 N/A
Part-time £4,625 N/A

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

Please read the 2020/21 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2020/21 tuition fees and year on year fee increases.

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3 years

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