Undergraduate students in a Politics group study session, Monica Partridge building

Politics and American Studies BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

Are you passionate about politics, or even want to be a politician? Do you want to make the world a better place?

This course will provide the intellectual training to understand a range of political ideas. It will also give you a deeper knowledge of how governments work in today's world, alongside sharpening your research, presentational and analytical skills.

We offer a wide variety of modules in both politics and American studies, covering:

  • global politics
  • parliamentary studies
  • international human rights
  • the American presidency
  • civil rights
  • immigration
  • US foreign policy
  • British and American party politics

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

Political Theory in Practice

Mandatory

Year 1

Problems in Global Politics

Mandatory

Year 1

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

Mandatory

Year 1

Understanding Global Politics

Optional

Year 2

African American History and Culture

Optional

Year 2

American Radicalism

Optional

Year 2

Arts Work Placement Module

Optional

Year 2

British Party Politics

Optional

Year 2

Business in American Culture

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary North American Fiction

Optional

Year 2

Democracy and its Critics

Optional

Year 2

Employing the Arts

Optional

Year 2

Global Security

Optional

Year 2

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

Optional

Year 2

Key Texts in American Social and Political Thought

Optional

Year 2

North American Regions

Optional

Year 2

Politics and Public Policy in China

Optional

Year 2

The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1945-2012

Optional

Year 2

The Hollywood Musical

Optional

Year 2

The Transformation of European Politics

Optional

Year 2

The US & the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy, 1898-2008

Optional

Year 3

African Politics

Optional

Year 3

American Magazine Culture: Journalism, Advertising and Fiction from Independence to the Internet Age

Optional

Year 3

China in Global Politics

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in Politics and International Relations

Optional

Year 3

Gender and Political Representation

Optional

Year 3

Left and Right in Contemporary Politics

Optional

Year 3

North American Film Adaptations

Optional

Year 3

Political Parties and Party Systems Around the Globe

Optional

Year 3

Politics and Visual Culture

Optional

Year 3

Responding to Extremism: Politics, Power, and Ethics

Optional

Year 3

Special Relationship? Anglo-American Security Relations

Optional

Year 3

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The Morality of Capitalism

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Ethnic Conflict

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Human Rights

Optional

Year 3

Theories of the Modern State

Optional

Year 3

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

Optional

Year 3

US Foreign Policy, 1989 - present

Optional

Year 3

Varieties of Classic American Film, Television and Literature since 1950

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

Political Challenges and Multiple Crises in the Global Economy

Optional

Year 3

The EU as a Global Power

Optional

Year 3

The Middle East and the World

Optional

Year 3

Race and Politics

Optional

Year 3

Ideas and Politics in Contemporary Britain

Optional

Year 3

The Struggle for Democracy

Optional

Year 3

Political Violence

Optional

Year 3

Inside Out: The UK and the EU

Optional

Year 3

The Politics of Inequality

Optional

Year 3

The Russo-Ukranian War

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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.

On the American Studies side of your course, you will benefit from 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 music 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 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 School of Politics and International Relations.

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 a week doing preparation work.

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

82.9% of undergraduates from the School of Politics and International Relations secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,509.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

76.3% of undergraduates from the Department of American and Canadian Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £24,651.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived 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