American Studies and History BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:TV71
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:American Studies and History
UCAS code
UCAS code
TV71
Qualification
American Studies and History | BA Jt Hons
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB
Required subjects
history at A level
IB score
32 (5 in history at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
20 
 

This course may still be open to international applicants for 2016 entry. Please visit our international pages for details of courses and application procedures from now until the end of August.

Overview

This course gives you the opportunity to examine key periods, debates and ideas within American history and world history such as American foreign policy, war, political protest and slavery, among many other topics.
Read full overview

This course gives you the opportunity to examine key periods, debates and ideas within American history and world history. In American and Canadian studies, you will examine issues surrounding American foreign policy, war, political protest, slavery, the penal system and the US presidency, among many other topics. The history side is broad, both in chronology (spanning from 500 CE to the present) and in areas covered, allowing you to focus on the periods of history that interest you most.

At the beginning of year two, you may apply to transfer to a four-year degree course with a year abroad, depending on availability of places and academic performance.

Year one 

Your American Studies core modules introduce you to the key themes, issues and events in American history from the pre-colonial period to the present day. You will also take the multidisciplinary Approaches to American Culture modules which explore cultural forms such as painting, photography, film and music in historical and social context. The history core is Learning History, a skill- and methodology-based module. The emphasis is on reflecting on the nature of history as a discipline and developing the skills required for the writing and debating of history.

Year two

You will broaden and deepen your understanding of both disciplines. We offer a Key Text in Social and Political Thought module, and a range of modules allow you to focus on certain periods, events, authors and texts.

The core element in History is provided by the Contemporary World since 1945, which deals not just with global developments, political and economic, social and cultural, environmental and demographic, but also explores key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live. In addition, you will be able to select more specific optional modules from an extensive menu, covering an extremely wide chronological and geographical range.

International study year 

Students registered for the four-year programme will attend a major North American university for one year.

Final year

You will continue and extend the process of specialisation, submitting a dissertation on a subject of your choice, choosing from a range of advanced-level modules and continuing to engage with the historiography in various debates, taking a critical approach to the use of primary source material.

More information

See also the Department of History.
 

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including history at A level. 

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC HND/HNC
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  
 

Modules


Typical Year One Modules

Compulsory

American History 1: 1607-1900

You will be provided with a broad introduction to the history of the United States of America, from its colonial origins to the end of the nineteenth century. You'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.

 
American History 2: 1900-Present Day
You’ll examine the history of the United States in the twentieth century, assessing changes and developments in the lives of the American people who have faced the challenges of prosperity, depression, war, liberal reform, political conservatism, minority protests, multicultural awareness, and international power. Around 4 hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.
 
Approaches to American Culture 1: An Introduction
This module aims to introduce students to some of the key facets of American culture across a broad historical range. The emphasis will be on texts and cultural artefacts beyond those encountered in the core modules on American Literature and American History. In this respect we are likely to focus on a variety of forms, which may include music, painting, cinema, television and various genres of writing. We will concentrate on important and influential cultural forms, demonstrating and exploring connections made across different time periods and, in particular, with developments in contemporary America. Ideally the module will help to open up ways for the students to move between different parts of the undergraduate programme, while also encouraging them to think critically about some of the assumptions that they bring to the subject. You will spend around 3 hours per week in seminars and lectures.
 
Approaches to American Culture 2: Developing Themes and Perspectives
This module aims to introduce students to some of the key facets of American culture across a broad historical range. The emphasis will be on texts and cultural artefacts beyond those encountered in the core modules on American Literature and American History. In this respect we are likely to focus on a variety of forms, which may include music, painting, cinema, television and various genres of writing. We will concentrate on important and influential cultural forms, demonstrating and exploring connections made across different time periods and, in particular, with developments in contemporary America. Ideally the module will help to open up ways for the students to move between different parts of the undergraduate programme, while also encouraging them to think critically about some of the assumptions that they bring to the subject.  You will spend around 3 hours per week in seminars and lectures.
 
Learning History

This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of the functions served by engagement with the past. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

 
Introduction to Early Modern History
This module introduces students to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between c.1500 and 1789. Students will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
 
Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1789-1945

In the first semester the module provides a chronology of modern history from 1789 to 1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two world wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

 

Optional

Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500

This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week. 

 
From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500-1789

This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
 


Typical Year Two Modules

Compulsory

The Contemporary World since 1945

The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East; the module also looks at key political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces, with students spending five hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
Key Texts in Social and Political Thought

From its colonial past to its present status as a global superpower, American history has been riven with debates about society and politics. This module will reconstruct these debates by analysing key texts in the history of American political and social thought, from the settlement period to the present. You will be introduced to debates over such perennial issues as religion, race, class, capitalism, gender, sexuality, and war, as they arose in different periods. We will use primary sources to probe and interpret these debates, and show how they continue to shape American society and politics in the present. For this module you will spend around four hours per week in lectures, seminars and workshops.

 


Optional

America in the 1960s

You will be introduced to debates surrounding the thought, culture and politics of America in the 1960s by examining the reflection of key issues in intellectual documents, from political speeches to acid-rock music, film documentaries to manifestoes. If you study this module you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
The CIA and US Foreign Policy, 1945-2008

You will examine the role played by the Central Intelligence Agency in the development and implementation of US foreign policy from 1945 to the present, considering its contribution in terms of both intelligence analysis and covert operations, from the Cold War to the war on terror. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars in this module.

 
Beyond Chaps and Maps: Themes in American Foreign Policy

In this module, you’ll consider the way that US foreign policy has been influenced by a range of factors, such as conceptions of empire, race, religion, gender, domestic politics, and the agency of nations beyond the US. You’ll consider the influence that these factors have had, through broad and specific case studies in a three hour workshop once per week.

 
African American Protest Literature

You will examine protest movements from the nineteenth century to the present day, studying, fiction, drama, speeches, pamphlets, autobiographies, photographs and more. From abolitionism to contemporary activism, voices of resistance that pointed the nation towards a better collective future will be considered. You will spend around three hours in seminars and workshops per week, and will also visit exhibitions, protest sites, and guest talks by protest writers and activists.

 
North American Film Adaptations

You will examine North American short stories and novels and their film adaptations, paying attention to the contexts in which both the literary and the cinematic texts are produced, as well as analysing the texts themselves. If you study this module you’ll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and four hours in film workshops, per week.

 
Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of villains such as the Jew. You will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
The Crusades

This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid- thirteenth century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will have five hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It examines the constitution, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will spend four hours each week in lectures and seminars for this module.

 
De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History

This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will spend four hours per week in lecture and seminars.

 
 


Typical Year Three Modules

Compulsory

Dissertation

This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task. You can also write either a 6,500 or a 12,500 word dissertation in American and Canadian Studies which will involve looking into an in-depth subject.

 


Optional

Prohibition America

You’ll explore the United States' experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. The rise of organized crime will be considered, along with gangsters and G-men, the expanding crime fighting role of the state, the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition. You will spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
Latino Expressive Cultures

Latino cultural expression will be examined, exploring genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture and its positioning within mainstream US society. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.

 
Abraham Lincoln: Then and Now

The ideas, intellectual and cultural legacies of the life and presidency of Abraham Lincoln will be considered. You’ll explore his significance in American thought and culture, and as a global figure, through examining texts such as his speeches, public and private writings, as well as critically analysing the representation of Lincoln in cartoons, cinema, documentary, music, painting and literature. You'll spend around two hours in seminars alongside a two hour workshop per week.

 
History of the Civil Rights Movement

You will examine a range of documents and scholarly controversies relating to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents considered include public and organizational records, photo- journalism, speeches, memoirs and personal papers. Controversies include those relating to the chronological limits, spatial dynamics, and gender politics of the movement, as well as those relating to the movement’s goals and achievements. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.

 
Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853-78

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have a three hour seminar each week to study for this module.

 
Italy at War, 1935-45

Spending three hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.

 
Kings, Saints and Monsters in England, 450-850

This module examines cultural and political changes in the southern half of the island of Britain between the fifth and ninth centuries, in particular the development of kingship and kingdoms as a form of political organisation, and the effects of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

 
The Missing Dimension: intelligence and international history in the twentieth century

The history of secret intelligence was once called the ‘missing dimension’ in the study of politics and international relations. Today, it has established itself as a separate field of historical enquiry. This module will examine how the study of secret intelligence has informed and sometimes even altered our understanding of some of the major political and international crises of the twentieth century. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

 
From Racial State to Reconstruction: women and gender relations in Germany, 1939-45

This module adopts a perspective of women´s and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilizing labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating ‘threats to the race’. You will have a weekly three hour seminar to study for this module.

 
Popular music Cultures and Countercultures

This interdisciplinary module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. It focuses on the ways in which marginalised, subordinate or dissenting social groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition and for re-negotiating their relationship to the social, economic and cultural mainstream. It explores how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation. And it analyses how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory. A central concern of the module is to evaluate the effectiveness and potential of popular music as a socially-critical or oppositional force. The module is built around case studies of key issues and moments in American popular music history. One of the key issues is the debate over the ownership and use of African-American musical resources, from nineteenth-century minstrelsy to twenty-first century hip hop. Another is the function of commercial entertainment institutions in mediating between music subcultures, political countercultures, and the mainstream culture. Among the key moments examined are the folk revival and the 1930s Popular Front, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, and postmodernism and identity politics in the music of the MTV age. You will spend around three hours a week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.

 
In the Midst of Wars: The United States and South-East Asia, 1940-1975

This module looks at American attitudes, perceptions and policies toward Vietnam from the Second World War until the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in 1975. Much of the focus will be on the course of the Vietnam Wars, the role that different players (beyond the US) played in the course of the conflict, the reasons that the US became involved in such a destructive and tragic war and why, ultimately, the world’s greatest power was unable to win against what appeared to be a far weaker opponent. Although we will necessarily spend a considerable amount of time examining the course of events in Vietnam, we will also analyse other developments in South and East Asia more broadly in order to put the conflicts there into their wider conflict. Hence, students must develop a contextual awareness of the overall course of US policy in Asia during the period and the outlines of the wider Cold War, and also be able to demonstrate the way that these wider trends intersected with events in Indochina. The module also intends to introduce students to some of the key sources, materials and archival collections that can be employed when embarking upon independent research in the area. In addition, we will also consider some of the filmic representations of the Vietnam Wars—considering the relationship between fact and fiction that characterises them, and the themes that commonly feature, such as race and gender, in the different depictions. You will spend approximately three hours per week in seminars, lectures and workshops if you study this module.

 

 

 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Careers

You will have an in-depth and wide-ranging knowledge of key periods, movements and developments within American and international history, and will be highly proficient in research, essay-writing and presentation skills. If you spend a year abroad, you will have greater insights into North American society through first-hand experience and you will have proven yourself resourceful, adaptable and able to cope with new and challenging situations.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 93% of first-degree graduates in the Department of American and Canadian Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,857with the highest being £28,000.*

In 2014, 95% of first-degree graduates in the Department of History who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,221 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

 
 

Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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