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The MA by Research in American Studies helps to develop an understanding of the forces that have moulded and continue to shape America, and helps us to make sense of our contemporary world. The comparative study of the history and culture of the United States addresses themes such as immigration, democracy, slavery, imperialism, multiculturalism, religion, the economy and, more recently, terrorism. These issues do not just concern the past; they are directly relevant to the world we live in.
The MA by Research in American Studies is ideal for those who want:
- an MA qualification in areas where taught programmes are not offered;
- the experience of a research degree without committing to a PhD at the outset.
Research proposals are invited on any topic in American Studies for which staff in the Department of Political and Cultural Studies can provide supervision. It is a good idea to enter into discussions about your research project in American Studies with the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor Roland Axtmann ([email protected]), before drawing up an initial proposal and starting the application process.
The Department of Political and Cultural Studies (PCS) boasts a dynamic research environment with a committed staff all of whom are research-active. Academic members of staff have a very considerable range of research interests on which we offer supervision for research degrees in American Studies.
An MA by Research in American Studies gives you the chance to pursue a major research project based around your own passions and interests in American Studies, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia. It will give you the freedom to explore a topic of your choosing and develop a methodology under the close supervision of two experienced academics but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes.
Typically as a student of the MA by Research in American Studies programme you will work closely with your supervisors, meeting them regularly, in many instances fortnightly, in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.
Students enrolled in the MA by Research American Studies are required to attend skills and training courses at College and University level. You may also be expected to give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and attend the postgraduate conference of the College of Arts and Humanities which is held in October.
At any one time, the department has over forty research students who work together with their supervisors on their projects.
In the area of American Studies, staff have expertise in the American Civil War; US foreign policy; the US ‘War on Drugs’; US politics and government; surveillance and urban America; American conservatism; the Spanish Civil War; American military history; the American West; New South; 20th century American literature, film and popular culture.
Discover more about the Department of Political and Cultural Studies:
Our MRes in History offers a research-rich master’s programme for those students wanting to develop specialist knowledge and scholarly techniques, as the first step on the path to doctoral research or research-related career paths. We offer a unique combination of focused expertise and applied historical experience in a friendly, supportive graduate environment.
On this course, you will work closely with members of our History staff, who have internationally-recognised expertise in a wide range of subjects, periods and geographical areas. The programme would suit students who already have a well-defined research interest, and the course will help you to work at that higher level, primarily via research. You will engage with a broad range of research methods relevant for advanced historical research.
You will be closely supported in your research journey through informed, innovative and expert supervision, and receive training for doctoral work, particularly in the field of history. However, this course will also prepare you for a wide range of professional careers that require advanced level research and communication skills. Your training will consist of study in relevant methodological processes for research, including language skills, palaeography, quantitative methods, data presentation, and oral history.
Using these skills, you will gain experience of applied historical research in a range of working environments, via a tailored research internship. Students on this course will prepare an original, extended research project, engaging critically and creatively with historical texts, objects and images as well as extant research in historiography and history.
As part of having the opportunity to contribute to the national and international research profile of the University, as a student on the MRes in History, you will have access to opportunities for co-operation and collaboration with related institutions in the UK.
The core module of the course is a 30,000 word dissertation. This is an intellectually-stimulating and challenging experience, representing substantial independent research into a topic in any period of history, approved in concert with an appointed supervisor. In this module, students will apply their advanced research skills developed on the rest of the course.
Another key module on the course is the Research Project. It will provide a link between your academic training and practical research in cultural institutions such as museums, libraries, archives or archaeological sites. The placement will further develop your skills in critical and historical analysis and interpretation, and allow you to see them in use in your chosen area of employment. Students will come to understand and critically evaluate the range of possible career opportunities associated with the professional application of historical research skills, within an institutional setting in the private or public sector.
Other modules are designed to provide you with opportunities to engage with primary documents, and to use these to develop your research skills. There is an emphasis in these optional modules on developing a historiographical understanding of the study of history in areas such as the politics of health in recent Britain; Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe; or in the History of the family.
This research-intensive masters is intended to develop key skills for those interested in further academic study, but it also provides excellent preparation for employment in the creative and heritage industries, e.g. publishing, museums and archives, the media, or in any sector that prizes effective research and communication skills.