American Studies BA (Hons)

Our innovative and interdisciplinary programme in American Studies offers you the opportunity to study the literature, film, history, and popular culture of the United States. Taught by a range of specialists, you will be guided in the art of reading and analysing a variety of literary materials, visual texts, and historical sources that offer insight into America’s regional and global influences as well as its cultural and demographic diversity.

UCAS course code
York St John University
Course fees
2019 - 2020: Home & EU students: £9,250 per annum, International (non EU) students: £12,750 per annum
3 years full-time | Part-time options available on request
Study Abroad
Yes - see our study abroad web pages for more information
Start date
September 2019
Study options
Available with integrated Foundation Year
Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Course overview

American Studies introduces you to the varied culture, society and history of the USA. It offers an interesting inter-disciplinary approach, studying a range of history, film, literature and culture relevant to America and its global influence. This wide ranging approach provides the kind of broad-based education desired by today’s employers in both the private and public sectors. The cultural aspects make the subject especially valuable to those seeking careers in media, education and the arts.

American Studies is taught by a well-qualified team of experts, enjoying close connections with History, English, Film Studies and Media, pairing with these subjects within the Joint Honours Programme.

You will have the opportunity at Level 2 to spend a semester studying in America at colleges with which York St John University has enjoyed long term relationships, and which offer high quality education in a safe and friendly environment.

Never has the USA been as important as it is today, with the many challenges facing citizens of the 21st century, and the pervasive influence of American culture throughout the world. American Studies, therefore, gives an exciting insight into a subject of great contemporary relevance, whilst offering the experience of studying in a range of related academic disciplines.

Dr Wayne Johnson, Subject Director: History and American Studies

Course structure

Level 1

This exciting programme offers modules which are designed to develop your understanding of the history, society and culture of America.

American Foundations seeks to familiarise students with an introductory knowledge of American Studies by focussing on the key themes of the American experience, such as mission, freedom, the American Dream, the Melting Pot and multiculturalism, as well as using a range of contemporary sources such as Hollywood film.

Cinema and Society will introduce students to the analysis of film as historical evidence concerning cultural, social and political change in the USA as well as promote interdisciplinary skills relevant to American Studies.

America’s Century examines how the international history of the 20th Century was marked by the rise to global pre-eminence of a single super-power, the United States of America. The aim of this module is to examine the dynamic interaction between the USA and the international community; and to interrogate the concept of the 20th Century as ‘America’s Century’. It is designed as an introduction to America’s global role and its impact upon the contemporary world.

Level 2

Modules include:

The Making of Modern America aims to examine the political, social, economic, religious and cultural response of a rural nation undergoing rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and immigration. The module also aims to enable students to apply a range of analytical and critical tools to the study of the history and the culture of the period.

The Age of Anxiety: The USA, 1929-1960 is an interdisciplinary study of America under the impact of the depression, the Second World War, the Nuclear Age and the Cold War.

From Slavery to Freedom considers the experience of black Americans during the era of slavery and in the years following its abolition.

Film & the American Imagination explores the social, historical and cultural contexts in which the American landscape is represented in film.

Level 3

Modules include:

Anglo-American Relations explores the changing relationship between Britain and America since the early 20th century.

Nation Divided: The US Civil War examines the era of the American Civil War, in relation to its history and its contemporary representation in film and culture.

The Great Society: America in the 1960s & 1970s reflects on the pivotal decade of the 1960s, with reference to presidential power, popular protest and war.

The Conflict on the East Asian Mainland module looks at the major conflicts on the East Asian mainland in the 20th century.

Teaching & Assessment

Level 1

American Studies modules are adapted to the Supported Open Learning format, providing 36 hours class contact time per 20 credit module, together with appropriate tutorial support; supported open learning strategies range from Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) support to independent group work.

Assessments include: essays, portfolios, exams, film reviews, document and text-based analysis.

Level 2

Level 2 modules build on the foundation established at Level 1 by enabling you to further apply ideas and concepts. Modules will also deepen your knowledge and understand of the context of American Studies. Assessment continues to be based on a combination of coursework essays, reviews, timed assessment, research projects, portfolio and essays/exams to allow you to build upon those skills established at level 1.

You will engage in a greater level of analytical thinking and will be encouraged to embark upon, plan and execute work more autonomously and to take increasing responsibility for the process of your own learning.

Level 3

Level 3 modules enable you to take a higher degree of responsibility for the planning, direction and management of your own learning. You will be required to work with an enhanced degree of autonomy and independence.

The essay, essay/exam approach, together with the dissertation, is utilised to further your ability to develop and refine your skills. Assessments include: research paper, essay, timed assessment, a review, research file and final dissertation.

Programme specification

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.

Disability Advice

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of disability advice services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements


The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 - 112 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C / 4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Calculate your tariff points.

Personal statement

Essential criteria

As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example:

  • Previous study (including qualifications in history, literature and media)
  • An interest and enthusiasm for American cinema, media or television
  • An interest in the news and international relations

Valued criteria we are looking for

Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include:

  • Further study
  • Career plans
  • Interest in relevant documentaries
  • Other extra-curricular activities could include conference/lecture attendance or being a member of appropriate societies (e.g. film)
  • Reading of relevant journals, newspapers and magazines
  • An interest in American writers
  • Absorbing American culture for leisure
  • Strong candidates will also demonstrate transferrable skills such as time management and research ability.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships.

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.


Tuition fees

UK & EU 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Fees & Funding

Overseas 2019 / 20

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

International Fees & Funding

International students

We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. You can find out more on our International Pages about how you can study with us and what it’s like to live and learn in York, one of the UK’s most historic cities.

Unistats data for this course

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