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Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

American Studies

UndergraduateBA (Hons)

Year of entry:
UCAS code: T701

What you'll study

Learn about the world’s leading superpower in detail. And spend a year experiencing the American college lifestyle through our extensive US exchange programme.

You’ll gain real-world experience on this course by spending your penultimate year studying abroad.

  • A foundation year boosts your skills and knowledge if you don't quite meet our academic entry requirements

First year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

Compulsory modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • American History – Birth of a Nation

    Discover the triumphs and tragedies of American history before 1900: The struggle for independence. The rise and fall of slavery. The winners and losers of westward expansion. And the growth of American industrial and political power on the world stage.

  • American History: the American Century

    This module surveys American history from the 1900s to Trump: a period when the United States came to dominate the world in political, economic, cultural and military terms. Analysing pivotal events, figures and themes, we'll seek to understand how and why the USA became the world's biggest superpower.

  • Transformative Texts of American Literature

    You'll study a selection of American novels, plays and poems that changed not only American literature but how we think about crucial social issues. You'll look at texts in their cultural contexts, examining their themes alongside song lyrics, interviews and social media.

  • American Film and Society

    You will explore the relationship between Hollywood cinema and American society from the 1930s to the present day, considering how films of different genres and periods have tackled themes such as race, gender, sexuality, class and disability.

  • America: in Theory

    ‘America in Theory’ provides an overview of critical theories that can enhance your understanding of culture, history, and society and offers the means to apply these ideas through discussion of case studies. For example, we explore feminist readings of American television programmes, and use critical race theories to examine Gangsta Rap.

Optional modules

Optional modules let you tailor the course to your interests. Please note, the availability of optional modules can vary each trimester. And some modules may require prior study (taking an earlier module, for example).

  • Passport Languages

    The Passport Foreign Language scheme provides you with the opportunity to develop your language skills. You can join a module to learn a new foreign language or to improve your existing language skills and intercultural competence. Languages include French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

  • American Revolutionary Readings

    You'll study some of the greatest works of American literature from the founding of the nation to the start of the 20th century. You'll examine these in the context of religion, folklore, women's rights, slavery and the birth of the modern city – producing new perspectives on classic novels and short stories.

Second year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

Compulsory modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • Introduction to the American Year Abroad

    This module helps to prepare you for your year abroad. It guides you through applying, demystifies the American university system, identifies and addresses your concerns, and broadens your cultural awareness of the US.

  • Contemporary America in Context

    This module considers the history behind each week's news stories. To debunk the myths of changing social and political events, we need to dive deeper to understand the narratives behind the news stories themselves.

Optional modules

Optional modules let you tailor the course to your interests. Please note, the availability of optional modules can vary each trimester. And some modules may require prior study (taking an earlier module, for example).

  • The Fire Next Time: From Slavery to Civil Rights

    Explore African-American history and culture from the arrival of the first kidnapped Africans to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. You'll think about freedom, citizenship, justice, protest and resistance while studying the work of Frederick Douglass, Ida Wells, W E B Du Bois and Fannie Lou Hamer.

  • US Cold War Culture: From Consensus to Dissent

    Understand how the Cold War shaped American culture, and how American Culture shaped the Cold War. You'll explore the impact of events such as the invention of the atomic bomb, McCarthyism and the Vietnam War on American film, media and society.

  • American Rebels: Reading 20th-Century US Counterculture

    You'll study the literature of US counterculture, centred around the social upheavals of the late 20th century. You'll read authors who cast off expectations of class, race, gender and literary form. And you'll explore the ways that they rebelled against their society through writing.

  • American Alternative Cinema

    This module examines and critically evaluates film practice beyond the Hollywood mainstream. You'll encounter alternative filmmaking practices such as 'exploitation cinema', 'trash cinema', 'cult cinema' and 'independent/underground cinema'. You will have the opportunity to study some of the most infamous examples of alternative cinema such as Pink Flamingos, Faster Pussycat!, Kill! Kill! and Bad Girls go to Hell.

  • American Animation History

    In this module, you'll develop a deeper understanding of the history of American animation by taking an in-depth look at the genre.

  • American Gothic

    You will immerse yourself in the darker side of American literature, examining the presence of a Gothic sensibility from the fiery preaching of the early Puritans to contemporary horror novels. You'll study a wide range of popular and literary fiction, exploring the terrors of haunted houses, alien monstrosities and insane protagonists in the specific American contexts in which they were produced.

  • Understanding America

    This module will provide you with a general introduction to the political culture and institutions of the United States, and the environment in which those institutions operate. You'll learn about the USA’s international role and behaviour and the complex relationship between the domestic and international aspects of American politics.

  • New York City in Culture

    New York is the perhaps most visually recognisable of all American cities, but is also arguably the cultural capital of the nation, and has been home and inspiration to countless great artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers. This module takes an interdisciplinary look at New York as the setting and subject of many works of different media and genres.

  • America's Wars in Asia

    The USA fought four major wars in Eastern Asia during the twentieth century: the Philippine-American War 1899-1902, the Pacific War 1941-45, the Korean War 1950-53 and the Vietnam War 1965-72. More recently, it has become involved in military ventures in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    This module looks back over the troubled relationship between Asia and the USA from the perspective of the key concepts that have influenced US foreign policy in the 20th century.

Year abroad

American Studies at Hull has the largest exchange programme in the UK. You can spend a full year of study in the US, with 45 campuses to choose from – ranging from California, New York and Maine to Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

You study six modules determined by the choices available at your host university, with no restrictions on subject matter, and write a reflective research report on your experiences.

Final year

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

Compulsory modules

Core and compulsory modules are fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes for your course and must be studied.

  • Dissertation (American Studies)

    The dissertation is the culmination of the American Studies degree. It is a year-long module that involves extensive research and consultation in the preparation of a large-format essay - a complex, in-depth analysis of an aspect of American society, history, or culture.

  • The Globalisation of American Culture: International Perspectives on America as a Cultural Superpower

    Is the world simply becoming ever more 'Americanised'? Or can countries and peoples resist the USA’s 'cultural imperialism'? This module explores the impact of Americanisation, examining how cultures have appropriated, transformed, rejected, embraced and imagined America. You'll also consider the influence it has had on your own identity.

Optional modules

Optional modules let you tailor the course to your interests. Please note, the availability of optional modules can vary each trimester. And some modules may require prior study (taking an earlier module, for example).

  • ​“Mi Raza Primero!” Mexican-American History and Culture​

    This module explores the crucial role that Chicanas and Chicanos (the term for Mexican-Americans born in the US) have played in US history and culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. You'll analyse several topics and themes, using a different cultural text each week. For example, you might discuss novels by Sandra Cisneros, poetry and memoir by Luis J Rodriguez, the murals of San Diego's Chicano Park, photography and art by Harry Gamboa Jr, or films like Mi Vida Loca and American Me.

  • Post-9/11 Literature of the US

    Explore how literature responded to and made sense of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11 2001. You will look at how writers experiment with literary form and represent marginalised voices to raise questions about who gets to tell the story of 9/11 and its aftermath.

  • Conspiracy: the Paranoid Style in American Politics, Culture and Society

    Were the Moon landings faked? Was President Obama really born in the USA? Who killed JFK? Such questions, once the product of a paranoid fringe, now play a defining role in American political life. You'll study the history of conspiracy theories in the US and their impact on American politics and society.

  • American History by Hollywood

    From D W Griffith’s 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation onwards, Hollywood filmmakers have drawn upon the history of the United States as a bountiful source of stories, characters and adventures. Exploring cinematic representations of events such as the American Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement, and figures from Abraham Lincoln to Jesse James, this module compares Hollywood’s version of history with what historical courses say ‘really’ happened in the past.

  • Doin’ Time: American Prison Culture of the 20th and 21st Centuries

    This module explores one of the world's largest prison systems and the cultural responses it has spawned. You'll get an overview of the key debates and concepts in American prison studies, and you'll study new cultural and pop-cultural formats that you might not have encountered before. We'll discuss incarcerated gangster rappers, poetry from Guantanamo Bay and The Shawshank Redemption, as well as visiting a local prison.

  • Disney Studies

    This module looks at the history and impact of the Disney Studios and the Walt Disney Company.

  • Crossing the Line: Frontiers in the Literature of America

    Explore literary representations of border regions in the Americas. You'll examine how cultural exchange, interaction and migration have shaped the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by reading texts that cross lines between cultures and produce new ways of thinking about national identities.

  • The Civil War in American History and Culture

    This module explores the seismic impact of the American Civil War on US politics, society and culture. Besides learning about the conflict and its outcomes, you'll consider its continuing and contested legacy, from the representation of Abraham Lincoln in film to the debate over Confederate monuments.

  • Telling the Truth: American Documentary Culture from the Muckrakers to Fake News

    Explore how photographers and filmmakers have documented American society from the early 20th century to the present day. It's an interdisciplinary module with a visual culture focus that looks at documentary texts in many formats, including newspapers, magazines, films, photography, books, websites and social media.

"I also wanted to travel to America for a year, and this course offered me both the British University experience and the American College experience."

Connie Fredrickson Watch Video

"To me, it was a no-brainer. You offer me a course where I get to learn about America and go there... I thought, this is it."

Hannah Townsend Watch Video

More about this course

The Civil War. The Cold War. Hollywood. Disney. Trump and his Tweets. There's nowhere in the world quite like the USA. And if you're fascinated by every aspect of this vibrant, diverse country, then we're the university for you.

  • Some universities only offer a single trimester in the USA. Not us. Spend a full year abroad at one of 30-plus university campuses - from New York to North Carolina, California to Kansas.
  • Ranked fourth in the UK for American studies, with 97% overall student satisfaction (2018 National Student Survey, HEIs).
  • Tailor your degree to suit your own interests and career aspirations with a wide range of modules
  • Our expert academics have been pioneering American studies teaching for more than 50 years

Our friendly, approachable academics are international experts in the field of American studies. You can specialise in history, literature or culture, if you choose – but we encourage you to embrace the rich diversity of American studies. With the extra confidence, independence and maturity that spending a year in America brings, you'll be a desirable candidate for all kinds of employers after you graduate.

Teaching and learning

Throughout your degree, you’re expected to study for 1,200 hours per year. That’s based on 200 hours per 20 credit module. And it includes scheduled hours, time spent on placement and independent study. How this time’s divided among each of these varies each year and depends on the course and modules you study.

Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions. The types of scheduled lessons you’ll have depend on the course you study.

Placement hours typically include time spent on a work placement, studying abroad, or field trips.

Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently. This typically involves coursework, assignments, reading, preparing presentations and exam revision.

Assessment
Written
Practical
Coursework

First year

9%

91%

Second year

16%

84%

Year abroad

100%

Final year

8%

92%


Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Our teaching staff

Where you'll study

The location below may not be the exact location of all modules on your timetable. The buildings you'll be taught in can vary each year and depend on the modules you study.

Click to view on Google Maps
Hull Campus

Click to view directions on Google Maps

One of the largest exchange programmes in the UK, offering a full year of US study and more than 30 destinations.

Find out more

Hull pioneered American Studies in the UK and boasts one of the finest collections of resources.

Entry requirements

2019 Tariff points: 120 points. Points can be from any qualification on the UCAS tariff, but must include at least 80 points from 

  • A levels
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • CACHE Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Scottish Highers
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma
  • or a combination of appropriate Level 3 qualifications

UCAS has changed the way that qualifications earn points under the Tariff system. Please click here to work out your estimated points and to find out more about how the University of Hull considers qualifications.

Alternative qualifications 

  • IB Diploma: 30 points
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass with 45 credits at merit

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations shown above. Please contact the University’s Admissions Service for individual guidance.

International students

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. For other English language proficiency qualifications acceptable by this University, please click here.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

Fees and funding

  • Home/EU: £9,250 per year*
  • International: £14,000 per year

*The amount you pay may increase each year, in line with inflation - but capped to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course, and UK students can take out a maintenance loan of up to £8,700 to cover living costs.

Substantial discounts are available for International students.  

More information on fees can be found in the Money section of the website.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme (including registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examination).

There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary.

  • Books (you’ll have access to books from your module reading lists in the library, but you may want to buy your own copies
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (including travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (including travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want to buy your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

Future prospects

Graduates with the skill, imagination and the confidence that comes with spending a year abroad are much in demand. Our students enter an increasing range of careers including teaching, broadcasting, screenwriting, journalism, finance, PR, marketing, law, politics, the charity sector and publishing.

Because our students are encouraged to be flexible and develop skills across a range of subjects they find several doors are open to them. We have even produced authors, actors, massage therapists and football executives. One of our recent graduates won a fully funded prestigious scholarship to the University of Wyoming.

Some of our alumni can be found in senior positions in the American Embassy and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; another is the President of the Foundation for International Education.

Many of our graduates go on to pursue postgraduate study in America or the UK, and many have gone on to pursue noteworthy academic careers. We are currently developing an MA in Cultural Studies for which our graduates would be well suited, and we also offer PhD and MPhil options in American studies. Find out more about our research degrees here.