University undergraduate students studying a 3D model of the City of Nottingham in the Monica Partridge Building Digital Hub. Friday November 5th 2021.Francis Adam and Lucy Woodward and Zoe Markham-Lee (ponytail)

American Studies and History BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Are you curious about the impact of historical events on our current lives? Do you want to understand why empires and superpowers rise and fall?

This course opens up new worlds and possibilities. You will deepen your knowledge of how societies develop and learn how the past influences the present. We offer a variety of modules in both American studies and history, covering:

  • African American History
  • Immigration and Ethnicity in the US
  • US foreign policy
  • American Capitalism
  • American Madness
  • American Radicalism
  • American Crime and Punishment
  • Ancient History
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Russian Revolution and Soviet Union
  • Asian History
  • Environmental History

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

American Freedom? Empire, Rights and Capitalism in Modern US History, 1900-Present

Mandatory

Year 1

Approaches to American Culture 1: An Introduction

Mandatory

Year 1

Approaches to Contemporary American Culture 2: Developing Themes and Perspectives

Mandatory

Year 1

Learning History

Mandatory

Year 1

Race, Power, Money and the Making of North America, 1607-1900

Optional

Year 1

From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern Europe c.1500-1800

Optional

Year 1

Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500

Optional

Year 1

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945

Optional

Year 1

The Contemporary World since 1945

Optional

Year 2

Key Texts in American Social and Political Thought

Optional

Year 2

North American Regions

Optional

Year 2

American Radicalism

Optional

Year 2

Business in American Culture

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary North American Fiction

Optional

Year 2

The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1945-2012

Optional

Year 2

The Hollywood Musical

Optional

Year 2

A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

Optional

Year 2

British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939

Optional

Year 2

Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914

Optional

Year 2

Consumers & Citizens: Society & Culture in 18th Century England

Optional

Year 2

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c.1970-1990

Optional

Year 2

European Fascisms, 1900-1945

Optional

Year 2

Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

Optional

Year 2

Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

Optional

Year 2

Imagining 'Britain': Decolonising Tolkien et al

Optional

Year 2

International History of the Middle East and North Africa 1918-1995

Optional

Year 2

Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England

Optional

Year 2

Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War, 1919-1994

Optional

Year 2

Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930

Optional

Year 2

Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857

Optional

Year 2

Sex, Lies and Gossip? Women of Medieval England

Optional

Year 2

Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe

Optional

Year 2

"Slaves of the Devil" and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Optional

Year 2

Soviet State and Society

Optional

Year 2

The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War

Optional

Year 2

The Rise of Modern China

Optional

Year 2

The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?

Optional

Year 2

The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

Optional

Year 2

The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture

Optional

Year 2

Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World

Optional

Year 2

The Early Modern Global Spanish Empire (1450-1850)

Optional

Year 2

A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640

Optional

Year 2

Commodities, Consumption and Connections the Global World of Things 1500-1800

Optional

Year 2

Communities, Crime and Punishment in England 1500-1700

Optional

Year 2

France and its Empire(s) 1815-1914

Optional

Year 2

From Imperial Downfall to Republican Crisis: Themes in Modern German History, 1888-1933

Optional

Year 2

Gender, Empire, Selfhood: transgender history in global context

Optional

Year 2

In the Heart of Europe: Histories of Modern Poland

Optional

Year 2

Rethinking the Tudors: Monarchy, Society and Religion in England, 1485-1603

Optional

Year 2

The politics of memory in postwar Western Europe

Optional

Year 2

Villains or Victims: White Women and the British Empire c.1840-1980

Optional

Year 2

Exile and Homeland: Jewish Culture, Thought and Politics in Modern Europe and Mandatory Palestine between 1890 and 1950

Optional

Year 2

The Tokugawa World: 1600-1868

Optional

Year 2

The politics of memory in postwar Western Europe

Optional

Year 2

Conquerors, Caliphs, and Converts: The Making of the Islamic World, c.600-800

Optional

Year 2

A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

Optional

Year 2

Employing the Arts

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in History

Optional

Year 3

American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

Optional

Year 3

Troubled Empire: The Projection of American Global Power from Pearl Harbor to Covid-19

Optional

Year 3

US Foreign Policy 1989-2009

Optional

Year 3

North American Film Adaptations

Optional

Year 3

Varieties of Classic American Film, Television and Literature since 1950

Optional

Year 3

Politics and Visual Culture

Optional

Year 3

Jazz: Origins and Styles

Optional

Year 3

Prohibition America

Optional

Year 3

Sexuality in American History

Optional

Year 3

Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

Optional

Year 3

Art Criticism in Twentieth-Century America

Optional

Year 3

"Slaves of the Devil" and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Optional

Year 3

Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815

Optional

Year 3

Black History

Optional

Year 3

British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-50

Optional

Year 3

China under socialism 1949-1989: society, politics and culture

Optional

Year 3

Cultures of Power and the Power of Culture in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

Optional

Year 3

European colonialism and the boundary of the human in the long eighteenth century

Optional

Year 3

Federation to Liberation: Zimbabwe 1953-1980

Optional

Year 3

From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought from the 1st to 21st Century

Optional

Year 3

From serf to proletarian?: Imperial Russia’s rural population, 1825-1932

Optional

Year 3

Italy and the Second World War

Optional

Year 3

Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

Optional

Year 3

Rebels Against Empire: Anticolonialism and British Imperialism in the mid 20th Century

Optional

Year 3

Russia in Revolution 1905-21

Optional

Year 3

Sexuality and Society in Britain Since 1900

Optional

Year 3

The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974

Optional

Year 3

The Agony and the Ecstasy: Drugs for Pleasure and Pain in the History of Medicine

Optional

Year 3

The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

Optional

Year 3

The Hundred Years War

Optional

Year 3

The past that won’t go away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Optional

Year 3

The Reign of Richard II

Optional

Year 3

'World wasting itself in blood': Europe and the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

Optional

Year 3

Zero Hour: Germany, Poland, and post-war reconstruction in Europe, 1945-1955

Optional

Year 3

Britain in the Age of the French Revolution: 1789-1803

Optional

Year 3

Victorians in Italy: Travelling South in the Nineteenth Century

Optional

Year 3

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78

Optional

Year 3

Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

Optional

Year 3

The Black Death

Optional

Year 3

The Chimera: British Imperialism and Its Discontents, 1834-1919

Optional

Year 3

Disease and Domination: The History of Medicine and the Colonial Encounter

Optional

Year 3

The past that won’t go away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

Optional

Year 3

Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London

Optional

Year 3

Slavery, Caste and Capitalism: Labouring Lives in Global History, 1750-2000

Optional

Year 3

Napoleonic Europe and its Aftermath, 1799-1848

Optional

Year 3

Crisis, What Crisis? The West, c. 1970 to 2000

Optional

Year 3

A historical journey through Italy's links with the wider world

Optional

Year 3

Politics, culture, and sexuality in Renaissance and baroque Rome

Information Icon

About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Thursday 13 June 2024.

You will be taught via a mixture of large-group lectures and smaller, interactive seminars. You might also be taught through tutorials and supervisions. These are one-to-one meetings or discussions with an academic tutor.

This course includes a wide range of learning materials. This could include reading books, online journal articles, e-book chapters, shorter review essays, newspaper and magazine articles. It could also mean watching documentary films, and, on some modules, listening to clips on YouTube or Spotify.

You will also have a personal tutor from the Department of American and Canadian Studies. This is someone who can:

  • provide general support for your academic life
  • give you the opportunity to raise concerns and discuss issues
  • support you with personal issues

Peer mentor scheme

First-year students can benefit from being paired with a 'peer mentor'. This is an existing student from your department who helps you settle in, get to know your peers and advise on student life.

Find out more about the support on offer.

Teaching quality

  • 96% of our class of 2021 graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification. Source: UoN student outcomes data, Annual Monitoring (QDS) Analyses 2021.
  • Tutor's contributions to high quality teaching and learning are recognised through our annual Lord Dearing Awards. View the full list of recipients.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment is based on a combination of coursework, including essays and dissertation projects, seminar participation and oral presentations, and formal examinations. The precise assessments vary from one module to another and across the years of your degree.

Feedback

The opportunity to discuss ideas and coursework with your tutor is an integral part of your studies at Nottingham. Whether by giving feedback on an essay plan, or discussing the results of an assessment, we help you work to the best of your ability. Each tutor offers weekly support and feedback hours, while feedback on coursework is also posted online via our tailored teaching and learning platform.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

You’ll have at least the following hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 9 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 8 hours

Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding. You will have a personal tutor from the Department of American and Canadian Studies. You will also be allocated a joint honours advisor from the Department of History.

We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course. As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Your lecturers will be qualified academic staff. Some of your classes may be run by temporary teaching staff who are also experts in their field.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending, while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

As well as scheduled teaching, you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as independent reading and research. As a guide, 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study) per semester. Each 20-credit module typically involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work a week.

As a Politics and American Studies graduate, you will have gained valuable transferable skills, including:

  • adaptability, independence and initiative
  • critical thinking
  • strong communication, both oral and written
  • presenting ideas and information, including collaboratively
  • planning and researching written work
  • source analysis
  • text analysis

Read our American and Canadian Studies student and alumni profiles and find out more about the range of skills you will gain, as well as the careers which our graduates go into.

You can also learn more about subject-related careers opportunities from our Careers and Employability Service:

  • Politics skills and careers
  • American Studies skills and careers

Average starting salary and career progression

78.8% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £23,974.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017 to 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate student Cole Pearce studying in Nightingale Hall accommodation's library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

Course data

Open Day June 2022