This multidisciplinary MA comprises a broad range of specialist modules in the humanities and social sciences, bringing together the academic expertise of the institute with United States specialists from other UCL departments and University of London colleges. The programme's graduates have established careers in research, journalism, teaching and policy formulation and implementation in both government agencies and NGOs.
Students will develop analytical and critical perspectives on multidisciplinary aspects of US history, politics, cultural studies and international relations, depending on their chosen areas of specialisation. They will gain key research skills, enhance their capacity for oral and written presentation, and develop their knowledge of up-to-date scholarship and theoretical/conceptual debates in United States studies.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), five optional modules (75 credits), and the research dissertation (90 credits).
Please note: all optional modules are subject to availability.
Students choose five optional modules from a selection that includes the following:
Of the 75 optional module credits, students can choose a maximum of 30 credits from other departments or from other University of London colleges, subject to the Programme Director's approval.
All students write a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits) on a research topic of their choice linked to the subject area of one of their taught modules.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, presentations, research skills training, independent reading and research. Assessment is through written assignments (which may include essays, term papers and analytical exercises, depending on selected options), group and seminar presentations, and the dissertation.
Many of our Master's students undertake fieldwork in order to carry out research for their dissertation projects.
There may be travel costs associated with fieldwork. The institute has limited funds available to students to help towards the costs of fieldwork. These funds are awarded on a competitive basis on the criteria of academic performance to date, the quality of the research proposal and the importance of fieldwork for completing the research.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: United States Studies: History and Politics MA
Graduates of this programme will be well placed to use their skills and knowledge to find employment in government, business, journalism, finance and international NGOs, and teaching, or to engage in doctoral research in this field.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Our graduates enter a wide range of occupations, the most subject-specific becoming university lecturers in the UK and US. Students have drawn on broader skills of communication, research, and presentation developed through the programme to obtain posts in the civil service (mainly Foreign & Commonwealth Office), other public services, think tanks (such as the Henry Jackson Society), university administration, secondary school teaching, and management positions in the private sector. Those interested in careers in national government and think tanks have particular opportunities to interact and develop valuable networks through our rich US events programme.
The Institute of the Americas occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of the region in the UK, promoting, co-ordinating and providing a focus for research and postgraduate teaching on the Americas, including Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States.
The institute actively maintains and builds ties with cultural, diplomatic and business organisations with interests in the Americas, and provides resources to the wider academic community, serving and strengthening national networks of North Americanist, Latin Americanist and Caribbeanist scholars.
Students benefit from tuition by world-leading scholars in an academic environment at the cutting edge of research in the humanities and social sciences.
The MA in English and American Studies prepares students for undertaking further research in the discipline, but it is also aimed at those who wish to broaden and deepen their critical engagement with English and American literature and culture. The structure of the MA is flexible, which means that you can choose to combine your interests in English and American culture, or you can choose to focus more exclusively on one or the other . The division of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester provides a thriving environment, with its vibrant research culture, its close links to the Centre of New Writing, its involvement in the Manchester Literature Festival and its access to the world-class John Rylands research library.
While this MA offers you a range of exciting modules that are chronologically or geographically specific, all modules are informed by recent theoretical and historical developments that allow you to think about categories like `literature', `culture' and `history' in nuanced and fresh ways.
You can also choose 30 credits from our MA Modern and Contemporary Literature (subject to availability) to further extend the scope of your study.
In your first semester, you will choose 2 of 3 core modules (30 credits each), which will lay the groundwork for your coursework as well as preparing you to think about your dissertation. The core modules address questions that are at the heart of literary and cultural studies, and will give you conceptual tools relevant to all of the modules offered in the second semester.
In the second semester, you will choose 4 out of 6 modules, each of which is weighted at 15 credits, allowing you the choice of a greater number of courses. You diversify your engagement with the field with these courses, each of which tackles a range of periods and literary/cultural productions. Some of the courses offer you the chance to engage with the holdings of the John Rylands Library. Each focuses on a body of work, or on a topic or critical question, situated in a particular context. Students with an interest in American Studies take 6 modules in total, including, in semester one, the core course 'American Studies: Theories, Methods, Practice' plus the choice of one of the other core courses (as listed above).
Finally, students will write a 15,000-word dissertation, worth 60 credits, supervised by an academic member of staff.
Students are required to take 180 credits of units as listed above.
The list of units on offer will be updated annually. Students may also choose up to 30 credits worth of units from another MA programme in place of one of their optional units, subject to the approval of the Programme Director.
Students will also attend seminars on such topics as how to study at MA level, how to research and write a Master's thesis, and career options.
Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: [email protected]
American culture has often been seen as distinctive and unique, producing some of the world’s greatest writers and artists. This exciting and varied degree will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of American literature and its cultural context by looking at specific writers, genres or periods alongside drama, film and photography.
You’ll study core modules developing your research skills and questioning what it means to study literature today, and you’ll undertake an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice. You’ll also pursue some of the topics that suit your interests when you choose from a range of optional modules exploring different aspects of American literature and culture, from the 19th century to contemporary writing.
In addition, you’ll be able to broaden your understanding by choosing to take one of your options from the wide range of non-American modules in English Literature that we offer.
Leeds was the first university in Britain to establish a Chair in the field of American Literature. It’s an interest that we continue to uphold with staff researching topics such as American literary culture, masculinity and gender, American film, globalization, postcolonial literature, Jewish narratives and African-American writing. You’ll benefit from all of their expertise and develop your knowledge in our excellent research libraries – a stimulating environment in which to prepare for further study or gain valuable transferable skills.
This degree is also available as a part-time option.
In Semester 1 you’ll study a core module which will develop your understanding of research methods in literary study, as well as what it means to study literature and culture in the 21st century. You’ll also choose the first of your optional modules to explore topics that suit your interests in more depth.
You’ll then continue to pursue your interests in Semester 2, with two further optional modules. One of your optional modules can be from outside the programme, allowing you to explore topics from Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature to modernist or postcolonial writing.
Throughout the year, you’ll be working on your research project/dissertation, which allows you to research in depth a topic in American literature and culture of your choice. You’ll be able to submit this up to the deadline at the end of the course in September.
If you study this degree on a part-time basis, you’ll take the same number of modules over a longer period, meaning you take fewer modules in each year.
Most of your modules will be taught in small-group seminars, where you will discuss particular topics in each module with your tutor and the class. Independent study is also an important element of this course, allowing you to develop and then demonstrate valuable skills in independent research and analysis.
Most option modules are assessed by one 4,000 word essay. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.
This degree will allow you build on your knowledge and acquire transferable skills that are very attractive to employers.
You’ll have sophisticated research and analytical skills that allow you to consider complex information from different sources, and you’ll also be able to communicate and defend your views clearly either verbally or in writing. You’ll also be comfortable working independently or in a team and have good cultural awareness.
If you’re interested in pursuing further postgraduate study, this degree offers excellent preparation for PhD-level research through the dissertation and research methods modules. However, you’ll also have the skills to succeed in careers in publishing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, law and teaching.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study American Studies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
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:
As a leading global power, the United States and its foreign affairs have a significant impact upon international relations, both in terms of policy and academic scholarship.
This significance has grown in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent “war on terror” in ways that have been reflected in the development of the academic literature and in the increased level of interest in the subject area. With a high concentration of US Foreign Policy experts among PAIS academics, the department is in a unique position to bring cutting-edge, in-depth knowledge and discussion to postgraduate study in this field.
This programme focuses on US foreign policy in the context of national security as well as wider aspects of the country’s foreign policy and its impact in the areas of the economy, international relations, and particularly security. Some of the questions you will tackle include:
The suite of taught modules have been carefully constructed to take you on a series of journeys - from a discussion of American Studies itself as an approach, and then from the immediate localities, regions and borders of the United States, to the wider national and international settings. This will offer multi-perspective interpretations of the United States, internally, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world. You will engage in an inter-connected sequence of debates which will lead you to a greater understanding of the complexity of the United States as a cultural construct as well as a geographical and political entity.
The academic year is divided into three terms: term 1 (September –December); term 2 (January-March); term 3 (April to June). July and August is the period when you write up your dissertation.
All taught sessions take place in the evening, 4pm-7pm.
Full-time is two evenings per week / Part-time is one evening per week.
This degree offers a tightly integrated programme with a selection of modules that will enrich your research methods and approaches in the American Studies subject-area. Whilst concentrating on the core aspects of American Studies you will be encouraged to pursue your research through avenues of related subjects (History, Literature and Film) forming a holistic, yet inter-disciplinary, approach. The modules offered emphasise a cross-fertilisation of subject areas, promoting an international perspective towards America, such as global concerns and transnational considerations, thus shifting from the original constructs of America, ‘American uniqueness’ and ‘exceptionalism’ (Brian Edwards, Globalising American Studies, 2010).
This programme is, therefore, well-suited to those students who prefer diversity to the narrower focus of a single-subject Master’s degree.
The suite of taught modules have been carefully constructed to take you on a series of journeys - from a discussion of American Studies itself as an approach, and then from the immediate localities, regions and borders of the United States, to the wider national and international settings. This will offer multi-perspective interpretations of the United States, internally, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world.
You will engage in an inter-connected sequence of debates which will lead you to a greater understanding of the complexity of the United States as a cultural construct as well as a geographical and political entity.
Each module is worth 30 credits; you will take two modules per term.
American Studies has a historical, literary, cultural and evidence-based approach which requires wide, critical reading and intelligent synthesis of ideas and information. It requires you to construct arguments in writing. You will receive critical and constructive comments on your progress as an integral part of teaching and learning, through individual meetings with tutors, feedback on written work or specific coursework tutorials.
We place importance on presentations so, as a transferable skill, you will present seminar papers extensively throughout the course of your modules. These will be used as a basis for feedback and will then feed into your written work. These exercises will develop your critical abilities as well as widen your familiarity with, and confidence in handling, a range of sources, preparing you for the modules’ summative assessment stage, and the final dissertation.
This programme places a strong emphasis on the development of independent research and writing. The programme’s assessment strategies are designed to develop independent research skills; the ability to structure and write a sophisticated critical essay and longer academic monographs, and the opportunity to pursue your own intellectual interests within each module’s thematic scope.
Teaching and learning at postgraduate level differs from what you may have experienced at undergraduate level. Each week, small presentation groups lead/initiate the discussion of the topic. You will therefore bring to the table your own interpretation of the given material, working independently as well as in a group. The sessions will provide you with the opportunity to discuss your ideas in a safe and supportive environment.
Workload: 30 contact hours per taught module / 124 supported open learning hours (e.g. online documentation) per taught module / 146 independent study hours per taught module
Our Academic Support Team provides help in the following areas: study skills, written English, and research skills. Details on where to get support will be provided at the beginning of the course. In addition, you will meet regularly with an academic tutor, who is there in a pastoral capacity.
Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.
York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.