the-white-house

Undergraduate

BA American Studies

American Studies at Hull is ranked 1st in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction*, Teaching Quality and Student Experience.

Key information

Study mode

Full-time

Course length

4 years

Typical offer

112 points

A Level grades: BBC

UCAS code

T701

Choose an option

Start date

Course overview

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 this vibrant, unique nation, then we're the university for you.

Learn about the world’s leading superpower and spend a year experiencing American college life through our exchange programme.​

Our friendly, approachable academics are international experts in the field of American studies. You can specialise in history, literature or culture – just embrace the rich diversity of the subject.

With the extra confidence, independence and maturity that a year in America brings, you'll be a desirable candidate for all kinds of employers after graduation.

Once you’ve started your degree, if you choose not to spend a year overseas, you can switch over to the three year programme.

American Studies at Hull is ranked 1st in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction*, Teaching Quality and Student Experience‡.

Learn more about your course in our subject sessions

On-demand session

American Studies

american-studies-subject-session

Six reasons to study American Studies at Hull

  1. Hull is ranked 5th in the UK for American Studies
  2. Opt to spend a full year at a US university
  3. Extensive choice of US destinations
  4. UK pioneers in teaching American studies
  5. 1st in the UK for overall student satisfaction*
  6. 1st in the UK for academic support*

What you'll study

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.

First year modules

  • Compulsory

    American History: The American Experiment

    How did America become the superpower we know today? In many ways, it’s an unlikely story – and we need to go back thousands of years to understand the answer. In this module you’ll encounter the triumphs and tragedies of American history from before the arrival of white Europeans to the end of the nineteenth century. You’ll think about the huge changes – territorial expansion, immigration and urbanisation, slavery and its demise, the troubled evolution of American democracy, civil wars and revolutions – that transformed the continent in these centuries. 

    American Film and Society

    Trace the relationship between Hollywood cinema and US society, evaluating how films of different genres and time periods have tackled pressing ‘social problems’ ranging across race relations, women’s rights, masculinity, class, sexuality and environmental disasters.  Hollywood cinema isn’t just escapist entertainment…

    Transformative Texts in American Literature

    American authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Toni Morrison have defined the way we think about the country and the literature of the United States continues to stand out as exciting and vibrant in the twenty-first century. American stories surround us and themes like the American Dream, rugged individuality, and creating our own identity are globally celebrated and criticised. In this module we read and analyse classic and modern works of American literature and think about why they continue to be so compelling.

    American History: the American Century

    The term “American Century” designates the period when the world came to be dominated by the US, politically, economically and culturally. This module addresses how and why, as the 20th century progressed, America grew into a global player, arguably the world’s biggest superpower.

    Research Contemporary American Culture

    Discover the vibrant and exciting world of contemporary American pop culture. You’ll work in groups exploring the meanings and values of TV shows, music videos, sporting events, and social media memes.

    Picturing America: Art and Visual Culture

    Explore how American artists and designers have seen the nation through different eyes, whether celebrating its natural beauty and democratic values or decrying urban decay and persistent racial inequality. This module will introduce you to reading images and objects critically in relation to varied themes to decode meanings and values, whether in museum paintings or on record covers, by artists and designers of diverse backgrounds.

Second year modules

  • Compulsory

    Introduction to the American Year Abroad

    American pop culture is often seen as vibrant, exciting, but also superficial; ever-present and ever changing, but also as something which has a huge impact on the way the rest of the world perceives the USA. In this module, you’ll research the very latest cultural texts and phenomena and explore how they can best be approached from an academic perspective, developing skills as a cultural studies scholar which are fundamental to this degree.

    Contemporary America in Context

    You'll be introduced to contemporary news media in the US and consider the ways the media informs us about the US - both today and historically. Following the news carefully allows us to keep up to date with current affairs, form ideas and engage in discussions that will enable a more rapid adjustment to US student life.

  • Optional

    Mi Raza Primero! A Cultural Study of Mexican Americans in the 20th-21st Century

    Taking inspiration from the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, the Chicano Movement demanded a more inclusive curriculum and by the 1980s, Chicano Studies was more readily available across the US. Their unique experiences have given rise to some unique cultural texts in the 20th and 21st centuries that can only be understood alongside the distinct characteristics of Chicano history throughout this period.

    Reagan’s Polarised America; a Cultural Study of the USA in the 1980s

    Explore some of the most compelling debates in “recent” America, including disputes about the increasing power of the media and market, social and economic inequality, gender politics, immigration and ethnicity, sexualities, democracy and the “colour line.

    African American Art and Visual Culture

    Explore African American history and culture from the colonial period to the late 1960s. Focusing on the contested concepts of freedom and citizenship, you’ll consider the role of key thinkers and activists in articulating and galvanising the Black freedom struggle, and think about major scholarly debates over slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement. 

    New York City in Culture

    With its skyscraper skyline, its streets and avenues, its subway, and its iconic park, New York is the perhaps most visually recognisable of all American cities, but it is also arguably the cultural capital of the nation. We look at multiple media formats from the 1890s to the present day, examining how expressed discrete meanings and values about life in this dramatically changing city, contribute in different ways to the variegated mythology of New York.

    Musical-Made America

    The musical is one of the most distinctive of American genres, yet also frequently the most under-valued. We’ll discover how Hollywood and Broadway musicals have long created spaces where the USA’s sexual, racial and political identities have not only been represented, but re-imagined in ‘utopian’ ways that are often implicitly critical of the failings and faultlines of American society.

    USA and UFOS: Science Fiction Society

    The ability of Science Fiction films to imagine and visualize ‘Other’ worlds has frequently provided an engaging, sophisticated backdrop for stories to talk about current issues in the real world. Despite the far flung settings and futuristic subjects, the best SF has ties to the here and now. Focusing on Hollywood cinema’s science fiction, from 1950s classics to more recent productions, this module investigates the ability of escapist entertainment to act as critical commentary on American society.

    America in Short

    Short stories, from Edgar Allan Poe to the latest online viral fiction, may be the quintessential American literary form. On this module, you'll take advantage of the short form to explore a huge variety of fiction, written in very different styles, and from a range of viewpoints encompassing the diversity of the United States.

    American Gothic

    The United States has often portrayed itself as a shining example of democracy and success. These ideals have not always worked out in practice, and a dark Gothic spectre haunts the American Dream. Authors from Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King have defined the way we think about the Gothic form with inventive and chilling stories that reveal the repressed parts of the American imagination. On this module, we widen the perspective to think about diverse manifestations of the Gothic by African American and Native American authors, and examine throughout what scares us and why.

    Remember the Ladies: Women in America

    Explore how concepts of femininity and womanhood have been constructed, imposed, contested, and remade over the course of American history, and consider in what ways, and for what reasons, women protested their position in society. We'll consider the changing legal, political, and social position of women in American society, through themes such as labour, politics and voting, family, education, health, and war. 

Year abroad modules

 You can spend a full year of study in the US, with over 30 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 modules

You can spend a full year of study in the US, with over 30 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.

  • Compulsory

    Dissertation (American Studies)

    The American Studies Dissertation is a complex, in-depth analysis of an aspect of American society, history, or culture. The dissertation is the point where you'll bring together all the skills and insights developed during your degree into a single project. You'll develop key skills that are sought after by employers, like in project management such as independent thinking, organisation and research.

  • Core

    The Globalisation of American Culture

    American cultural products have surrounded us for generations, and their influence is impossible to deny. Does this process mean that the world is becoming ‘Americanised’ and local traditions are being lost in the face of globalised US cultural imperialism? Explore fascinating global perspectives on the impact of television, sports, food, fashion, and more, and reflect on your own experiences. Are we all Americans now?

    The Civil War in American History and Culture

    Explore the American Civil War's seismic impact on US politics, society and culture. You'll learn about the conflict and its outcomes, as well as its continuing - and contested - legacy. 

  • Optional

    The Health of the Nation: Medicine in American History

    What does it mean to be sick in America? In this module, you’ll explore how ideas about the body, health, and sickness have changed throughout American history. Who has access to healthcare? How responsible should the federal government be for the physical and mental welfare of its citizens? Why have certain groups of people been ostracised and stigmatised because of their health status? 

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

    In American visual culture, images, still and moving, serve as both evidence and rhetoric—the camera is a witness and a weapon. We look at the ways that photographers and filmmakers have used documentary media to chronicle, comment upon, critique, and entertain American society. 

    Communists, Communes, and Communiques: Modern American Revolutionaries in the 20th Century

    Though the United States of America began with a revolution, the revolutionary movements of the Twentieth Century have been at odds with the modern nation’s model of democratic capitalism. Though unsuccessful, these efforts to transform America through revolutionary activism elaborated alternative visions of the ‘American Experiment’. In analysing the culture, strategies, and values of these organisations, we ask: how did revolutionaries diagnose America’s ills and what kinds of solution did they offer? 

    Queering America

    You might think that Pride started in the wake of the Stonewall riots of 1969, but in this module we’ll examine the many ways in which LGBT+ Americans have fought for their rights and to express their lives and experiences throughout US history. We’ll place emphasis on the film, art, poetry, journalism, television, music and other diverse artistic traditions that have forged what we might call America’s “queer culture” and assess its transformative impact. 

    America Censored

    While the First Amendment of the US Constitution has protected freedom of speech and expression since 1791, US history is nevertheless replete with examples of censorship.  In this module, you’ll explore diverse battles to control and regulate, from the teaching of evolution in American schools to the current debates about ‘cancel culture’. And through studying what those in power sought to suppress, we’ll recover the voices of those who have often been marginalised in American society.

    American Rebels: Reading 20th-Century US Counterculture

    The Beat Generation. The Summer of Love. The hippies. The rebellion of Americans against the social norms of society continues to fascinate and inspire across the generations. What, though, does it mean to reject conformity? What other kinds of rebellions, against racism, sexism, or homophobia, might we think about at the same time? Explore the breadth and diversity of the American counterculture through reading some of the most revolutionary writing to be published. 

    Crossing the Line: Frontiers in the Literature of America

    The United States is often portrayed as an exceptional nation. On this module, you will explore perspectives from authors that challenge notions of cultural separateness and analyse the importance of symbolic boundaries such as the Western frontier, as well as the immigrant experience in the US.

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

    On this module, you'll analyse a range of cultural texts to understand and explain the complexity of the American prison system in the 20th /21st centuries. We explore the American “Prison Industrial Complex” in terms of race, gender, class, economics and politics. The prison system – as represented in texts varying from The Shawshank Redemption to Poems from Guantanamo – is used to better comprehend the broader sociology of the US.

    The African American Experience in the Post Civil Rights Era

    Though the years following the Civil Rights Movement in many ways offered dramatic new opportunities to African Americans, their hopes and aspirations for equality were oftentimes dashed. They have faced numerous new problems brought about by – among other factors – striking changes in the political and economic structure of America over the past five decades. Furthermore, this vastly changed social landscape has spawned a number of intense racial discourses and intriguing pop-cultural texts that have proved to be both extremely popular and extremely contentious. 

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

How you'll study

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.

Overall workload

If you’re enrolled on a full-time programme of study, you’ll be expected to complete about 40 hours of academic work each week.

How you’ll learn

Indicative assessment proportions

100%
  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

If you’re enrolled on a full-time programme of study, you’ll be expected to complete about 40 hours of academic work each week.

How you’ll learn

Indicative assessment proportions

100%
  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

If you’re enrolled on a full-time programme of study, you’ll be expected to complete about 40 hours of academic work each week.

How you’ll learn

Indicative assessment proportions

100%
  • Coursework

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

Overall workload

If you’re enrolled on a full-time programme of study, you’ll be expected to complete about 40 hours of academic work each week.

How you’ll learn

Indicative assessment proportions

100%
  • Coursework

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

Connie_Fredrickson_American_Studies
Connie Fredrickson American Studies

Why I chose American Studies at Hull

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Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A level grades BBC

  • BTEC grades DMM

  • Points required 112

Work out your estimated points

Don't meet our requirements?

We offer a Foundation Year to boost your skills and knowledge – it’s a great way to make your way into higher education.

Switch to the foundation year

Points can be from any qualifications 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

Alternative qualifications

  • IB Diploma: 28 points
  • Pass Access to HE Diploma overall with a minimum of 112 UCAS tariff points

Worried you don’t quite meet our entry requirements?

We consider experience and qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations above.

But it’s not just about the grades – we’ll look at your whole application. We want to know what makes you tick, and about your previous experience, so make sure that you complete your personal statement.

If you have any questions, our admissions team will be happy to help.

Don't meet our requirements?

We offer a Foundation Year to boost your skills and knowledge – it’s a great way to make your way into higher education.

Switch to the foundation year

If you require a 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. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

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.

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Take a tour of the facilities

American Studies students enjoy 24/7 access to the recently-restored Brynmor Jones Library which contains more than a million books.

Fees and funding

UK

£9,250 per year*

EU/International

£15,400 per year

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

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course and a maintenance loan of up to £9,978 to cover living costs.

Substantial discounts are available for International students.  

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

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. 

An affordable city for students

From bills, to meals, to pints – you’ll find that your money goes a lot further in Hull.

Your future prospects

  • Broadcasting
  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Law
  • Public Relations
  • Politics

Spending a full year in America will boost your confidence, independence and maturity - desirable attributes for all kinds of employers.

The cultural awareness and transferable skills you’ll pick up will help you develop as a person and be useful in a variety of roles.

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.

Open Day at University of Hull

Ready to apply?

You can apply for this course through UCAS. As well as providing your academic qualifications, you’ll be able to showcase your skills, qualities and passion for the subject.

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This. Is. Hull.

A place where we stand up to kings, do deals with the world and take a wrecking ball to the slave trade. A place where culture stands out and the phone boxes are a different colour. A place where we're free-thinking, independent and proud of it.

*National Student Survey (NSS) 2022, HEIs only

† Complete University Guide League Table 2023

‡ The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023