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.
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]
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.
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.
You’ll take two semesters of seminar-style courses in small groups, then apply your independent research skills developing your dissertation, with the supervision of academic staff. This is your chance to be creative; our breadth of expertise means we’re open to almost any area of interest. You will complete three compulsory courses and select a further three options from a wide range on offer.
Compulsory courses previously offered include:
Option courses previously offered include those listed below. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:
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.
This MA draws on the wide range and depth of research and teaching expertise in UCL History to give students the opportunity to choose modules relating to a variety of historical periods and locations. The programme offers advanced-level teaching by leading practitioners in a range of fields.
Students will be introduced to key historical concepts and theories. The core course offers a forum for such debates, and also provides students with the technical and intellectual apparatus to pursue their own research interests under expert guidance.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), between two and four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Optional modules will be finalised in Spring 2018. Please contact the department for more information. The following optional modules were available in 2017/18 and this is an indicative list only:
All students undertake an independent research project on a topic in History, which culminates in a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Some sessions will take place outside UCL in institutions such as the British Library, the National Archives, and the Institute of Historical Research. Students are assessed through written coursework, examination, and the dissertation.
Detailed module information
This programme not only provides an outstanding foundation for those hoping to undertake PhD research and pursue an academic career, but is also popular with students wishing to go into journalism, the civil service, business, museum and heritage and the education sector.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Debates, small group seminars and tutorials help students to acquire strong presentation and negotiation skills for their future careers. Likewise the analytical and research skills gained by students on this programme are highly valued by employers from a range of industries. There are many additional activities available, both within the department and the wider UCL community, to help students focus on employability skills whilst they are here, for example departmental careers talks and networking opportunities with history alumni.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL History enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.
The department is strongly committed to the intellectual development of all our students; if you come to UCL, you will receive individual supervision from leading historians.
Located in Bloomsbury, UCL History is just a few minutes' walk away from the exceptional resources of the British Library, the British Museum and the research institutes of the University of London, including the Warburg and the Institute of Historical Research. UCL is ideally located at the heart of various historical societies and academic communities.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: History
82% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
History at Winchester concentrates on different geographical scales of history, including local and global perspectives. It gives you the opportunity to engage with a range of approaches to the study of history, examining a range of historical subjects from ancient history to the present.
Start the course by exploring historical methods and research skills, followed by in-depth topic-based modules and the opportunity to devise and develop a specialist dissertation. The Approaches to the Past module, in the first semester, provides guidance on the different approaches to the study of history, including geographical scales of study and disciplinary approaches.
There are four core modules: Approaches to the Past, Research Methods and Skills, an Independent Study Presentation, and a dissertation. You also choose three special study modules from a long and varied list of options. Examples include Sport and Leisure in Victorian Britain; Reading and Writing the Holocaust: Historiography, Memory and Representation, 1945 to the Present; Public Health and Medicine in Modern Japan 1868–1952; and Female Agency and Rule in the Premodern Mediterranean 700–1700.
During the final summer of studies you write a 20,000-word dissertation, with specialist supervision. Research training for the dissertation is provided in a specialist module through a blend of electronic learning and face-to-face contact, which helps you complete a range of research tasks associated with the development of your dissertation. This leads to a Day Conference (Independent Study Presentation), in which you showcase your dissertation plans and their development, and debate themes in the study of history with external speakers.
Graduates of the course work in academia, teaching, archives, libraries, government and civil service, museums and conservation, as well as in a range of professions in the private sector, including financial consulting. The course provides a firm foundation for undertaking a postgraduate research degree or further training.
Graduates work in teaching, archives, libraries, government and civil service, museums and conservation. The programme provides a firm foundation for undertaking a postgraduate research degree or further training.
UK, EU, World
Students attend lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, a day conference and excursions. The teaching team is made up of highly respected and experienced researchers.
Teaching takes place: Evenings/ weekends, with some individual tutorials during the day.
Taught elements of the course take place on our King Alfred Campus (Winchester) or at our West Downs Campus (Winchester)
Assessment on the programme is largely by written assignments, usually a 4,000 word essay, and this applies to most modules. The dissertation is a substantial piece of independent research with full tutorial support. For this, students are required to write around 20,000 words on a subject of their choice covered by their study.
Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.
We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.
We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.
For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures
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:
The course offers a programme of study that is broad-ranging in terms of its coverage of a variety of areas of Europe since 1500, including Russia and the Soviet Union; medical history; Britain and Ireland; the British Empire and British foreign relations; the Mediterranean world; and US history since 1800. We have thematic and conceptual specialisms in social, political and cultural history; comparative and transnational histories; and the history of migrations and diasporas. If you join us you will be taught by leading authorities in these fields and will gain advanced level training in historical methods, theories and theory and ideas relevant to the study of this island’s past. Overall we provide an excellent foundation for further study; a bridge to new employment opportunities; and a fundamentally valuable cultural and educational experience. We work with local history and cultural sector practitioners from museums, archives, and libraries, and these people contribute to our programme and enhance your experience.
The MA comprises four taught modules of 120 credits and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme is taught by lectures, staff papers, seminar discussions and via student presentations.
The modules are:
Debates and Controversies (30 credit points). This module examines some of the major debates in Historical studies today. The debates and controversies chosen are not exhaustive but are instead exemplars of why historians over disagree over sources, methods, politics, and other factors, and why historical works can be so different. At the same time the module will respond to a diversity of student interests by offering students an opportunity to develop their own reading and historical insights.
Themes in History (30 credit points). This module offers students the opportunity to explore themes in History that draw upon areas of particular staff specialism and that will develop and deepen their knowledge and understand. Divided into three themes of four weeks each, each block will examine key questions, sources and approaches within a theme. We will offer 4-5 themes each cycle to enable a degree of choice within the module’s teaching and learning programme.
Research Methods for Historical Research (30 credit points). This module will provide students with the appropriate research skills necessary for study at postgraduate level, ranging from advanced usage of the library’s rich range of digitised primary sources to the exploitation of free sites and the development of a comprehensive and relevant bibliography for the dissertation. Sessions are designed to help students fit their emerging research question explicitly within the framework of available secondary and primary sources and to develop strategies for obtaining the most benefit possible from such resources. The module also allows students to practise and develop their oral presentation skills.
Special Topic in History (30 credit points). This module encourages focused study of one field of staff expertise. It is taught by individual consultation and a series of group sessions that encourage group support and shared reflection on the research process. Examined by an extended essay, the module will foster deep engagement with specifically related clusters of historical texts.
Dissertation (60 credit points). This module is an independent piece of research on an aspect of historical studies that interests you. Students set the agenda and are guided by some general sessions at the beginning and by individual supervision sessions throughout the semester. The final dissertation is approximately 15,000 words in length.
Full Time: Two modules per semester. Each taught module involves one two-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 5:15-7:15 pm. This is to facilitate attendance by those in full-time work. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
Part Time: One module per semester. Each taught module involves one two-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 5:15-7:15pm. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
Students graduating with the MA in History are well-prepared to undertake a variety of occupations. Some students will progress to doctoral research and academic careers. Others will become teachers or lecturers in further education. Not all MA graduates become teachers or university lecturers. Other options include work in libraries, archives, museums, or full-time work in research for charities, official organisations, government, etc. Others may go into marketing advertising, publishing, the civil service or politics. Our MA programmes have been known to help teachers advance their careers. Others pursue these degrees purely through interest and a love of the past. All graduate occupational outcomes are enhanced by a higher qualification such as this.