Masters degrees in USA History explore the debated historical origins of the Unites United States of America, including the European colonisation of the Americas, and the prehistory history of the Native Americans.
Related subjects include Central American History and South American HistoryAmerican Studies and American Literature. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as History, Anthropology or Colonial Studies.
Courses in the History of the USA examine the contested heritages, cultures and demographics of American people: from the development of Native American society, to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, and the expansion of the American frontier in the 17th century.
Popular areas for postgraduate specialism (and dissertation research) include America’s declaration of independence, the slave trade and early years of the republic, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the terror attacks of 9/11. Within these areas, specialist topics and themes include women’s rights, race and identity, class and economic progression.
For example, you might analyse the women’s suffrage movement, and its impacts on gender equality in the USA. Or, you might research topics such as African American ancestry and heritage that continue to resonate within America’s modern history.
Careers in the field may include working as a historian on behalf of a heritage institution, roles in publishing and the media, or even public relations.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
Thanks to the possibility of building your own pathway within our MA programme, you can specialise in your preferred area.
You may continue your academic development with doctoral research, or pursue a career as a teacher, archivist, or in museums. Many of our students have specialised in local history and later progressed to jobs in the heritage and conservation sector.
In addition, your experience of individual research will help you to develop valuable transferable skills. You will have demonstrated your ability to understand and apply complex ideas; to collect and analyse large quantities of information; to manage your own time and motivate yourself; to construct reasoned and articulate arguments; and to reach carefully balanced judgements. This should equip you to embark upon a range of professional careers.
This programme is distinctive in its breadth and diversity, both chronologically and thematically. It draws on the wide range of American historical expertise available in the School. You will enrich your skills in independent research, critical analysis and presentations, and gain an in-depth understanding of the key topics and historiographical debates of this young nation’s dynamic past, spanning the American Revolution, the Cold War and the War on Terror.
You will attain a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable you to embark upon independent research at an advanced level in American history. The University of Edinburgh is home to one of the largest teams of American historians outside the United States, allowing us to provide courses and research supervision in a wide array of topics and time periods with world class expertise. The impressive combined resources of the University’s Main Library and the National Library of Scotland, home to one of the UK’s largest collections of Americana, will be on hand.
The compulsory courses are Historical Methodology; Historical Research: Skills and Sources; Themes in American Historiography.
Option courses previously available include: The Intellectual History of the American Revolution; Slavery in the British Atlantic World, 1650-1834; The American Civil War and Reconstruction; The Civil Rights Movement; Conservatism in the United States, c1930–c1990; The United States and the Vietnam War; The United States and the Cold War.
Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers.Those students interested in long-term academic careers consider the programme as preparation for a PhD.
The combination of specialised skills training courses and seminars, and the opportunity for independent research provides you with transferable skills that will be beneficial whatever path you choose. Graduates pursue work in related areas such as museums, policy think-tanks, national and international civil services, non-governmental organisations, galleries, libraries and historic trusts whilst others build on the transferable skills gained and enter areas as diverse as business, media, public administration and marketing.
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: