If you already have a clear idea of the area and topic you wish to research as a PhD then you can effectively lay the ground work for this by doing a masters by research.
We are the largest department of American and Canadian Studies in Europe and have a good record of successfully supervising research students to completion.
Particular areas of research specialism include:
- African American literature, history and culture
- American art and visual culture
- American intellectual history
- American labour history
- American music and popular culture
- American political history
- American print culture and book history
- Asian American literature and culture
- Canadian literature and culture
- Civil rights and social justice
- Contemporary American fiction
- Crime, prisons and criminal justice
- Feminist theory
- Gender and queer studies
- Indigenous culture
- Latino/a culture
- Nineteenth-century American literature and culture
- North American border studies
- U.S. Foreign Policy
Find out more about our research specialities, partners and knowledge exchange activity.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
We are the highest-ranked American studies department in the country for research power, intensity and impact (REF 2014).
- 94% of our research activity was recognised as work of international standing.
- 100% of our research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of its impact
See the Department of American and Canadian Studies website for more information on what it's like to study and research with us.
You will take 180 credits made up of a selection of taught modules worth 60 credits and a 25,000-word research dissertation, worth 120 credits.
You will agree the topic with your supervisors (usually two co-supervisors). The dissertation is submitted at the end of the year and is marked by both an internal and external examiner. There is the possibility of a viva to confirm the award.
You will also attend research training sessions and weekly graduate work-in-progress seminars.
Work-in-progress sessions are led by the research student community. They provide an opportunity for everyone to present their ongoing research to their peers, supervisors and invited members of academic staff and research students and receive feedback and support from that community. You will contribute a paper in semester two.
All research students have access to:
- dedicated study space
- excellent IT network
- photocopying and printing allowance
- inter-library loan service
- funding for conference and research trips
The Graduate School supports all postgraduates and early career researchers at the University, with dedicated study spaces, training courses and placement opportunities.
The department offers:
- advanced research training
- frequent reviews and feedback on progress
- departmental research seminars/work in progress sessions
- support for research trips and conference attendance
- inter-library loan
The school's energetic research culture also involves a programme of visiting speakers and regular symposia organised by staff and students.
You will be encouraged to organise and attend conferences, act as editors for postgraduate journals, and publish book reviews and articles.
There are regular opportunities to take part in outreach activities, public talks and departmental events. In addition to serving as Departmental Outreach and Engagement Coordinators and Directors of our LGBT and Black History Month programmes, students are given logistical and financial support in order to run their own conferences and organise a week-long research retreat.
The University provides a range of support and information to enhance your student experience.
You will have access to:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- financial support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
English language courses
Our Centre for English Language Education offers presessional English courses to help develop your English and study skills.
The centre is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, so you can be sure that the teaching and facilities are high-quality. You can also access free English language support alongside your academic course.
University of Nottingham Students’ Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or speak to the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
Researcher training and development
The Graduate School training and development programme empowers postgraduate students and early career research staff to develop the skills required in their research and future careers.
You will have two supervisors who are an active part of our established research staff.
- regularly read your work
- attend your works-in-progress presentation
- provide frequent reviews and feedback
View staff profiles for the Department of American and Canadian Studies.
Careers and professional development
Our postgraduates go onto work in a range of fields, from university lectureships and post-doctoral fellowships to roles in the media, art councils and the creative industries.
Many of our research students publish high-quality books and articles and have secured teaching positions in universities both in the UK and abroad.
Average starting salary and career progression
For postgraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Areas Studies, six months after graduation:
- 94.7% were in employment or further study
- the average salary was £20,000
Source: known destinations and salary data for full-time, home, postgraduates extracted from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17.
Careers support and advice
Whether you are considering a career within or outside academia, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate.
Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.
Fees and funding
The School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies website has information on funding available for research students.
The UK government has confirmed that EU students who begin courses in the 2020-21 academic years will continue to have access to the same fees and funding options as in previous years. For more information see our Brexit information for future students.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.