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Course content

The MLitt in American Studies is the only Masters programme in Scotland that provides an interdisciplinary focus on how the United States developed. Why did American culture, politics, and business become so dominant in the 19th and 20th centuries, and in what directions might it be headed in the 21st century?

Why this programme

◾The programme is linked to the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies, which hosts visiting speakers for seminars, conferences and other special events.
◾The Centre also welcomes applications for partial or full fees-only Gordon Scholarships in American Studies.
◾From early in the 17th century, Glasgow has been a gateway for economic, social, and cultural exchange between Scotland and North America. The University has been at the forefront of teaching and research in American history and literature since the late 19th century.
◾This programme draws upon a variety of academic fields such as literature, history, theology, music, history of art, politics, archaeology, anthropology and media studies.

Programme structure

You will take two core courses and choose three optional courses. The programme draws on a wide array of subject areas: literature, history, film and television studies, popular music, art history, religious studies, archaeology, and politics; to foster understanding of the overarching themes, as well as complexities, of American life.

The culmination of the MLitt in American Studies is your dissertation. You will choose a topic based on the breadth of perspectives that you have explored and conduct original primary source research. You will be supported in your research and writing by an assigned supervisor with expertise in your specific field of interest.

Core courses
◾Approaches to American studies
◾Topics and methods in American studies.

Core and optional courses

Core Courses


Approaches to American studies

An introduction to the different disciplinary approaches and methodologies for the study of North America, organized around a defining theme that is revised annually. Defining themes of the past have included American Identities, the Frontier and the American West, and Freedom. This core course also incorporates research training in American Studies, geared toward the requirements of the rest of the programme, especially the dissertation.

Topics and methods in American studies.

This course is based around the Hook Centre's series of visiting speakers - who are all leading national (and sometimes international) figures in American Studies. Students keep a notebook detailing their developing understanding of, and reflections upon, American Studies as an academic discipline throughout this series. They produce an essay at the end of the module, as well as participating fully in occasional seminars to discuss themes and issues raised by the series and to reflect upon these in light of readings of some 'classic' texts in American Studies.

Optional courses vary from year to year; they may include:
◾American counterculture
◾Thomas Paine as an enlightenment revolutionary
◾Media, war, and security
◾People of plenty: the politics of consumption in the US since 1890
◾History of critical writing on film and television
◾The American way of war
◾Poverty and inequality in the modern world
◾ American material culture
◾The Mind of the Contemporary American Novel


Courses available in recent years have included: American communities; The politics of race in America; Modernity and technology; American society and culture in the 1920s and 1930s; and, The Vietnam war in American history and culture; and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton and Dialogues of American Literary Modernism.

Career prospects

The skills you gain: critical, analytical, and written and oral communication skills, as well as the specific understanding of American history and culture; offer you a broad range of career choices.

The programme provides you with an excellent foundation to study for a PhD and to establish an academic career. Other graduates have used their specialist knowledge of America in their media, business and teaching careers.

Positions held by recent graduates include Teacher and Alumni and Development Officer.

Visit the American Studies - MLitt page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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