Triangle

Course overview

Film and television entertain, inform, promote ideologies and help us communicate and connect across the world.

North America also has a global impact through its power and culture.

If you want to explore how they do this, both independently and when combined, this joint honours degree is for you.

Film and Television Studies

You'll examine:

  • history and development
  • how audiences interact and respond
  • the practices and reach of screen industries

American Studies

You'll cover history, politics and culture. This will include literature, music and art as well as film and television.

We have specialist modules that combine the two subjects to make the degree a coherent whole.

Through our Creative Student Network you'll also have opportunities to intern at global media organisations (such as Disney and the Art Directors Guild in Los Angeles, and Red Bee Creative in London).

Your departments

This joint honours degree is a collaboration between two departments. Find out more about what it’s like to study in the:

Why choose this course?

  • Beginners welcome! No prior knowledge of American studies is needed
  • You're not locked in to a set programme - build a degree that suits your interests
  • Integrated modules that bring the two subjects together
  • International internship opportunities in US and UK creative industries
  • Benefit from the skills development and assessment methods of two different subjects

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB
Required subjects

We recommend at least one essay-based subject at A level or equivalent (subjects such as English Literature, History, Film Studies, Media Studies, History of Art, Theatre Studies, Politics, Law and others).

If you would like clarification on whether your A levels would be considered, please contact us.

IB score 32

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities.  

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

You'll be part of large lectures, small seminars and individual tutorials – some will be in person and some will be online. You'll also work in groups on projects and presentations but also be responsible for doing a large amount of individual study.

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.

“I did a module called ‘The Pop Century, which was on 20th century music, in second year. I loved that because you’d have a playlist every week and reading to go with it. We’d listen to songs and you’d choose your favourite one and link it to the historical context." – Liberty Jones, fourth year BA American and Canadian Studies (Study Abroad)

Teaching support

You'll have a personal tutor who will review your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues affecting your studies.

"As a personal tutor, I work with you on your academic progress, but I also have a pastoral role with regards to your well-being. I see how you get on across all your modules, which enables discussions about you as an individual." – Dr Gabriele Neher, Senior Tutor

Teaching methods

  • Field trips
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Your assessments will vary according to the topic studied. They may include essays, examinations, in-class presentations and practical work.

Assessment methods

  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam
  • Commentary

Contact time and study hours

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one – 12 hours per week
  • Year two – 10 hours per week
  • Year three – 8 hours per week

Weekly tutorial support and the accredited Nottingham Advantage Award provide further optional learning activities, on top of these class contact hours.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive independent study. This will include course reading and seminar preparation. A typical 20 credit module involves three to four hours of lectures, workshops and seminars per week.

Your lecturers will also be available outside your scheduled contact time to help you study and develop. This can be in-person or online. They will all be members of our academic staff in Cultural Media and Visual Studies and American and Canadian Studies many of whom are internationally recognised in their fields.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. Typically:

  • lectures will have around 50 to 60 students
  • weekly seminars will have 15 to 20 students

Study abroad

Nottingham's a global university so we support a range of opportunities for you to study abroad.

In the past five years over 1500 of our students have benefitted from living and learning in a different culture. And boosted their CVs for prospective employers.

You've a range of options - from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad.

We've a dedicated team to help you with the practicalities and many opportunities mean you pay reduced fees.

If you need support for your language skills before you go our Language Centre will have resources to help.

Explore your study abroad opportunities

Placements

Our placements develop the skills and experience that will give you a distinct advantage in pursuing a career in the competitive arts sector.

We have long established links with Nottingham’s dynamic arts community and offers excellent opportunities for students to gain valuable professional experience.

Creative Student Network (CSN)

The CSN helps develop the skills and experience to develop careers in the creative industries.

  • Workshops with leading industry partners
  • Internships with major US and UK film, television and marketing companies, including Disney and the Art Directors Guild, Los Angeles and Red Bee Creative, London

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through our:

Why study two subjects?

The benefits of doing a joint honours degree.

Modules

We know everyone comes from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so our first year:

  • ensures you have the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive
  • is designed to help you connect to and build relationships with your fellow students

You'll take a series of core modules across both subjects, with the option to bias your American Studies component towards culture or history.

You must pass year one but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Film and Television Studies

Producing Film and Television

This module engages with the narrative histories of film and television, from their origins to the present day, a period involving many significant transitional moments in production histories. You will explore the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the TV network system. By raising questions such as: what are the industries producing at these moments, and how are cultural products marketed and distributed? this module also asks what transition means at different historical moments. It provides examples of different critical approaches to film and television history and interrogates the key debates around the periodisation of that history. This module is worth 20 credits.

Consuming Film and Television

This module asks questions surrounding the consumption — viewing and listening, in public and private environments including theatres, homes and more — of film, television and other screen media.

It addresses viewing contexts including public spaces such as cinemas, private spaces such as homes, and emerging hybrid spaces.

For you to understand not only consumption environments but also media users, the module also investigates constructions of screen audiences, through historical as well as contemporary cases.

You will complete the module with an understanding of how screen media offer components of experiences dependent on consumption environments and on audiences' attitudes, cultural backgrounds and other activities.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Reading Film and Television

An essential introduction to the key:

  • stylistic and narrative elements in films, television programmes and streaming media
  • roles that are involved in creating these elements

  • language used to analyse these media

Decisions around lighting, sound, scripts and edits all affect how an audience understands and reacts to what they are seeing and hearing. Using case studies across periods and genres you'll develop an ability to "read" these decisions and why they've been made.

You'll also become familiar with who's making and implementing these decisions.

Over the course of the module we'll build a common understanding of the language used when analysing film and television. This will help you both understand the analysis of others and make sure your own voice is clearly understood.

You'll watch plenty of film and television as case studies and work with your fellow students in small groups to tackle questions and present your findings.

Recent films students have worked with include:

  • Nosferatu - a classic black and white horror movie from 1922
  • Vertigo - one of Alfred Hitchcock's most talked about movies from 1958

  • Deadpool - superhero comedy from 2016

By the end of the module you'll have the knowledge, skills and confidence to explain what's happening in what you see, ready for more specialised study in the rest of your degree.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Questioning Culture: An Introduction to Research

This module will support you in your first year as you make the transition into degree level work. You will gain a variety of skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of guided and self-directed learning tasks and individual and group research projects. All of which will prepare the ground for subsequent research training and your final year dissertation. This module is worth 20 credits.

American Studies

From Landscapes to Mixtapes: Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

This module offers an introduction to Canadian literature, film and other cultural forms in relation to key historical and cultural developments. While some reference will be made to earlier periods, the focus will be predominantly on the second half of the twentieth century. Particular attention will be devoted to confronting problems of diverse and diverging identities within Canada. Topics for discussion will include constructions of the wilderness, Québec nationalism, Indigenous culture, multiculturalism, Canada-US border studies, and Canadian popular culture.

You will take all modules from either Group A or Group B.

Group A

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

Discover the history of North America, from European contact through to the start of the 20th century.

You will explore how the interactions of European colonizers with Native Americans shaped the future of the region, as well as the rise of Atlantic slavery, its development over time and the eventual emergence of distinctive African-American cultures.

We cover a broad chronological period, which includes European colonization, independence and Civil War. You will also examine the influence and development of attitudes towards race, class, gender, democracy and capitalism.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Discover the history of the United States in the 20th century.

You will explore the changes in the lives of American people, focussing on:

  • Prosperity
  • Depression
  • War
  • Liberal reform
  • Political conservatism
  • Minority protests
  • Multicultural awareness
  • International power

This module is worth 20 credits.

Group B

American Literature and Culture 1: 1830-1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture. It explores a wide range of nineteenth century and early twentieth century American writers of fiction and poetry. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in visual culture and music.  It is seen as a `core’ module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

American Literature and Culture 2: Since 1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture since 1940. It explores a wide range of twentieth and twenty-first century American literary writers. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in late twentieth and early twenty-first century cinema, television and popular music.  It is seen as a `core' module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 25 August 2021.

Year two broadens and develops your understanding of core concepts. You also get the freedom to choose modules to develop existing interests or explore new ones.

You must pass year two which counts one third of your final degree classification.

Core modules

Researching Media and Culture

For this year-long core research module you'll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different approaches to investigating research topics which interest you. This will include learning about and trying out first-hand a range of research methods and techniques commonly applied in ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You’ll learn about the kinds of research that a range of industry professionals from diverse sectors within the media, creative, entertainment and heritage industries pursue, and have opportunities to reflect on how you could incorporate that learning into your own research. You'll also investigate the interdisciplinary nature of culture, film, media, the arts and critical digital studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods. This module is worth is 20 credits.

North American Regions

This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, “place” to explore key North American texts— drawn primarily from the spheres of film, television and literature. The notion of the "regional" will be applied expansively as well as conventionally to incorporate everything from the urban to the suburban/exurban; border territories; the transnational. Possible areas of study may include the American West; the Pacific North-West; New York City; the black inner city “ghetto”; "mountain" people and the Appalachians; Hispanic-America; first nations; French-Canada; Texas; Chicago; New Orleans; California; and the transnational impact of extensive US military occupations (post-war Japan; South Vietnam; twenty-first century Iraq). 

Optional modules

You will take two modules from Group A and two modules from Group B. Your module selection should be balanced across Film and Television Studies and American Studies.

Group A

Transnational Media

In this module you'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll also develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media. This module is worth 20 credits.

Understanding Cultural Industries

In this module you'll learn how show business is broken down into 'show' and 'business' in film, television and promotional industries and examine how creative decision-making, technology and legislation influence those industries. You'll also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television industries have developed in different contexts and periods. This module is worth 20 credits.

Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

During this year-long module you'll:

  • think about industries, audiences and surrounding debates from a social and cultural viewpoint
  • learn about the way that social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes​
  • explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as movie going and television viewing

Some of the specific questions we might look at together include:

  • How do value judgements shape the way in which movies and television programmes get made
  • What is "good" television?
  • What challenges are public service broadcasters, like the BBC, facing and how should they address these?
  • How have writers and producers attempted to use television drama to enact social change?
  • What kind of TV programmes are preferred by streaming services and why?
  • How might binge watching impact on the viewer's experience and social communication?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Media Identities: Who We Are and How We Feel

This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

The Sixties: Culture and Counterculture

Described variously as an era of dissent, revolution and experiment, the 1960s offers a unique vantage point from which to explore a range of issues and topics pertinent to media and cultural studies. The art of the period brings into view a volatile world where distinctions between different media were becoming blurred (as in performance art, for instance) and where inherited ideas, hierarchies and values were contested, if not exploded. Notions such as the Establishment, the underground, celebrity, obscenity, mass culture, alongside those of personal identity (gender, race, class, sexuality) were all subject to radical questioning in an era where events, such as those of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, challenged the received order of things. This module critically evaluates the idea of the 1960s, starting with its status as a fabled decade that is said to cast its shadow today. Historiographical and geographical questions structure the module.  When and, crucially, where were ‘the Sixties’? Was it primarily an Anglo-American phenomenon? Was it the 1950s until 1963? Did it end in the early 1970s, as some believe, with the Oz Trials?  These and other questions will help us to demythologise the period and begin investigating it anew.

European Avant-Garde Film
This module examines avant-garde cinema in early 20th century Europe. It will begin by exploring what is meant by the term ‘avant-garde’, and consider the development of experimental filmmaking in the context of artistic movements such as Futurism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism and Constructivism. You will focus on developments in Germany, France and the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s, and consider key trends from abstract animation to cinema pur. The module will highlight some key concerns of non-mainstream cinema such as narrative, abstraction, reflexivity, spectatorship, movement, time and space. You will also examine the engagement of experimental film with modernity, considering both aesthetic and political strategies of the European avant-gardes.
Digital Communication and Media

Digital communication and media are significantly transforming the ways our societies operate. In this module you will critically explore key issues behind this transformation, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. You will study the cultural, political, economic, technical and regulatory contexts from which digital communication and media have emerged and in which they continue to operate. To link conceptual frameworks to real-life experiences and situations, the module also provides opportunities for you to explore the interactive forms and practices that result from the use of digital communication and media through a range of both individual and group activities. This module is worth 20 credits.

Memory, Media and Visual Culture

Media, TV, film and visual culture play a central role in forming our knowledge of the past. There is no memory without its representation in language or images. Using a range of case studies, you will explore how different forms of remembrance add weight to what they represent. Who remembers what, when, where, why and to what purpose? Why do screen and other media retell certain stories over and over again, and how is such remembrance linked to the erasure of other pasts? What is the relationship between national and transnational memories, when set against memories of enslavement and its visualisations? These, and other questions, will guide our approach to an interdisciplinary field of media, film and visual studies. The module will also encourage you to reflect critically on regimes of visibility and narration, and on the distinct ways that memories of certain events are communicated via different genres, institutions, and artefacts. This module is worth 20 credits.

Los Angeles Art and Architecture 1945-1980
This module introduces a number of artistic and architectural practices that emerged in Southern California after 1945. Exploring their cultural and historical context, we will consider the role of Los Angeles in the development of post-1945 American art and architecture, including mid-century modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Light & Space Art. Central to this module is the question of whether all art made in Los Angeles can be classified as “Los Angeles Art” – that is, the extent to which the art and architecture of the region necessarily reflected the geographical location, climate, and expansive urban layout of Los Angeles. To this end, we will consider the critical reception of art of this period, investigating, amongst other critical constructs, the notions of centre and periphery, regionalism and the cultural construction of the American west that shaped much writing on California during the period.

Group B

The American Pop Century

This module surveys the history of American popular music in the 20th century, focusing on the major genres and exploring the artistic, cultural and political issues they raise. In addition to examining the music’s aesthetic qualities genre by genre, the focus will be on key developments within the music industry, on the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and on the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. We’ll spend quite a bit of time listening to and analysing music, but you do not need any specialist musical expertise or knowledge to take the module.

Contemporary North American Fiction

This course will consider the contexts and development of contemporary fiction and the novel in the United States and Canada since the 1990s. It will do so by positioning literary works within their wider historical, political and cultural context. The course will examine the dominant ideas and concerns of a number of fictions and novels by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds. Issues for discussion will include the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, class, generation and sexuality on North American fiction and the novel; the bearing of technology on contemporary fiction; and various debates about the nature of the historical novel in the twenty-first century.

African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance and thus indicate how African Americans have sustained themselves individually and collectively within a racist, yet liberal society. These will illustrate the resilience of African American culture via music, literature, art and material culture. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. Weekly topics might include material culture in the Gullah region of South Carolina; or the growth of urban black churches in the North during the period of the Great Migration highlighted by the development of Gospel choirs and radio preaching.

American Radicalism

American radicals have been dismissed as impractical, wild-eyed, and subversive - even "un-American"- although many of their most visionary aims have been realized. This module will consider these paradoxes, beginning with the American Revolution in the late 18th century. 19th century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20thcentury subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and more recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalisation.

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

How can we understand the evolution of America's relationship with the wider world? What interests have been behind the execution of American power?

This module offers a critical introduction to understanding America's place in the world. From the war of 1898, to the conflicts of the early 21st century, we examine how America's involvement abroad has changed over time.

Through historical and political analyses of US foreign relations, we will look at the themes that have shaped America's increasing influence in global affairs.

We consider:

  • traditional political and diplomatic issues
  • the link between foreign and domestic policies
  • the role of foreign actors and private organisations, from religious groups, to citizen organisations, to NGOs that have served to shape America's actions abroad

We will also explore contemporary trends in the history of US foreign policy, including race, gender, emotions, and religion.

This module is worth 20 credits.

American Violence: A History

This module seeks to analyse the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. You will consider theories such as its origins in frontier settler societies and this may allow comparative study of Canada. You will understand the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. You will also look at the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government’s use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy. Possible topics include violence incidental to settler-native people contact or plantation slavery, the right to bear arms in the Constitution, the resort to force within US foreign policy including atomic weaponry, ‘state terrorism’, and the military-industrial complex.

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This module examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We trace the making and remaking of immigrant communities, cultures, and identities from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will analyse models of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation by focusing on the perception and reception of immigrant groups and their adjustment to US society. We will ask questions such as: How have institutions and ideologies shaped the changing place of immigrants within the United States over time? How have immigrants forged new identities within and beyond the framework of the nation state? And how has immigration transformed US society?

Transnational Media

In this module you'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll also develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media. This module is worth 20 credits.

Key Texts in American 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. 

Business in American Culture

This module introduces students to the conflicting views about business that can be heard echoing through American literature and culture in the last two centuries. These views are evident when literature and culture directly represent the business culture-its executives, managers and employees, or the physical and mental conditions of employment and entrepreneurship; they are also evident in the narrative unconscious of works appreciated for qualities other than their treatment of business. This module aims to try and understand not only what drives American culture's preoccupation with business, but also to study the various strategies used as literature and culture represents what the module calls the discourses of business: the way that business as a theme is written and talked about in the United States by presidents, by social critics, by journalists, and by writers and other cultural producers; the way that the historical accumulation of this collective input has fashioned a set of rules that govern the way successive generations can think about business; the way that specialised and professionalised languages of business become tropes and metaphors to be used outside of a strictly business environment. The module examines these discourses in a variety of representational forms from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day: shorts stories and novels; newspapers, magazines and illustrations; speeches, autobiographies and memoirs; film and television.

Presidential Rhetoric - Genres and Media

This module examines developments in American presidential rhetoric.

It begins with early presidents who set the generic conventions (Washington’s Farewell Address) or became models (Lincoln: Second Inaugural/Gettysburg Address) and established the President as an international leader (Woodrow Wilson).

But the core of the module is the impact of changing media from FDR’s radio “fireside chats” through JFK and Reagan’s use of television to Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s use of social media.

Much of the focus will be on speeches and press conferences and the interaction between the White House press corps and the President, his speech writing staff, and press secretary.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You'll create a dissertation that concentrates on one subject or combines both into a single project.

Apart from that you have a free choice of modules balanced across both both subjects.

You must pass year three which counts two thirds of your final degree classification.

Dissertation

There are three options:

  • 40 credit dissertation in Film and Television Studies
  • 40 or 20 credit dissertation in American and Canadian Studies
Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

This module involves in-depth independent study of a subject in American and Canadian Studies. It encourages both student-centred and student-initiated learning. The topic you choose must be appropriate for your course and must be approved by the module convenor. You are assigned a supervisor with expertise in your chosen area of study.

The completed dissertation should be 5,000-7,000 words in length for the 20 credit module and 10,000-12,000 words in length for the 40 credit module. The 20 credit dissertation is for one semester only and the 40 credit version is year-long.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • To Ban or Not to Ban: Changing Motivations Behind Efforts to Censor African American Literature in America’s Public Schools, 1976-2018
  • The Development of Television in the Canadian North and its Role in the Preservation of Inuit Culture
  • The Feminist Justification for the Afghanistan War: The Cooperation Between the Bush Administration and the Feminist Majority Foundation
  • "The Teeth of the World are Sharp”: James Baldwin’s Protest Novels
  • Towards Humane Borders: Activist and NGO Responses to the Militarisation of the US-Mexico Boundary
  • “A Blended World … A Safe Space for Everybody”: A Case Study of Underground Ballroom Culture
  • “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues”: The Empowerment of Black Female Blues Singers - Romance or Reality?
  • “Older Arts and Newer Technology”: Cultural Recoding in Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters
Dissertation in Film and Television Studies

Throughout your degree you'll come across topics that really engage you and you wish you had more opportunity to explore in greater depth. The dissertation is that opportunity!

You'll agree a topic with your supervisor who'll be there to support and advise you throughout the entire project.

This individual support will be matched by more general sessions that develop your research and writing skills.

By the end of the year you'll submit a well researched and written project of 8,000 - 12,000 words.

The project will not only demonstrate your subject knowledge but also your ability to:

  • critically assess evidence and sources
  • argue coherently
  • work independently

All essential skills all employers are looking for.

 

This module is worth 40 credits.

Optional modules

You will take modules from both Group A and Group B. The balance of optional modules will depend on your dissertation choice.

Group A

Film and Television Genres

Many films share common traits. Together they might be classed as “action”, “made for television” or “low budget”. But how does as film get assigned a genre? Who does the assigning? And what impact does this assigning have?

During the module we’ll delve deep into a particular genre. We’ll examine it’s:

  • key concepts and texts
  • development
  • influence and influences

Building on what you’ve learnt in years one and two you’ll also look at the genre in the context of production and consumption.

As well as knowledge of a specific genre you’ll also develop the skills to apply your learning to other genres.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement

Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of film and television audiences and why they watch media, taking into account the social, political and historical factors that shape audience experiences. The module also reconceptualises media users by exploring interactive media experiences such as videogames and smartphone apps. Finally, you'll conduct an audience research project, gaining skills in running questionnaires and focus groups. This module is worth 20 credits.

Video Production Project

This module combines the historical and theoretical knowledge you have gained with the practical task of video production. You'll investigate the ways that production activities contribute to videomaking through recording and editing techniques, and experience the many decisions that must be made through the production process. You'll spend time in media labs and in the field making a collaborative video production, alongside four hours a week in lectures and seminars.

Global Cinema

This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, and will introduce you to the critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, this module locates aspects of global cinema within historical contexts of production and consumption. The module also seeks to untangle such overlapping categories as global cinema, transnational cinema and world cinema. Looking at a range of historical and contemporary cases, you will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures. This module is worth 20 credits.

Working in the Cultural Industries

The cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of government strategies across the world for developing post-industrial economies, are seen as exciting places to work, and regularly feature at the top of graduate employment destinations.

  • But what are these industries, and what is it like to work in them?
  • How do you gain entry to these competitive, highly skilled jobs?
  • What is ‘creativity’ and why is it so important to modern economies?
  • And what does the future hold for cultural and creative sectors?

We’ll examine the structure, organisation and working patterns in the creative and media industries alongside more practical exercises designed to help you to identify and evaluate your own skills and interests. This combination of industry knowledge and personal reflection is aimed to help you to find a rewarding and exciting career when you leave university.

You’ll also examine key aspects of contemporary work including:

  • the concept of creativity, the knowledge economy and precarious labour
  • important issues such as internship culture, exploitation and inequality

There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss and build upon your own experiences and aspirations, and to conduct independent research on areas of creative and media work that interest you.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Development and Production

This module considers the main processes and people involved in the development and production of screen content. In particular, it will cover the following areas: People (talent development and management); Ideas (development and content creation); Money (financing and assets); Places (global production trends).

 

This module is worth 20 credits.

Photographing America

This module examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. The module breaks the period down into themes and considers:

1. the transformation of ‘documentary’ photograph;

2. the emergence and importance of colour photography;

3. experimental, conceptual and post-conceptual photography;

4. issues of serialism and seriality;

5. landscape photography;

6. the photobook

7. analogue/digital

The module will draw on the work of a diverse range of photographers, including Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Ed Ruscha, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams, Robert Heinecken, Stephen Shore, Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Doug Rickard.

Teaching Film and Media Studies for Undergraduate Ambassadors

This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme, which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools to act as inspiring role models. You will split your time between the university-based seminar and your allocated school, where you will be placed in an appropriate department as a teaching assistant. You will design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of media studies. You will be supported by the module convenor, the education specialist on campus, and the school's contact teacher. The module typically includes fortnightly seminars and seven half-days spent in school. Placements are in secondary schools and Sixth Form or FE colleges.

Gender, Sexuality and Media

Examine how issues of gender and sexuality relate to media and popular culture.

Using the intersectional fields of feminism, queer theory, and media and cultural studies we'll ask some crucial questions such as:

  • How are gender and sexuality represented in media and popular culture?
  • How do media and cultural industries structure gender and sexual inequalities?
  • How are identities and practices of media audiences and users gendered and sexualised?
  • How can gender and sexual norms be challenged in creative and radical ways?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power

Explore the relationship between public space, politics and technology using overlapping and interdisciplinary fields, including:

  • cultural studies
  • cultural geography
  • digital studies
  • urban sociology
  • cultural politics

You will engage in debates about the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on urban environments and digital space.

A range of protest movements will also provide case-study material and offer a central focus for your theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in:

  • controlling space
  • resisting control
  • enabling new forms of civic participation.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Fascism, Spectacle and Display
This module will examine cultural production during Italy’s fascist regime. There will be an emphasis on the experience of visual culture in public settings such as the exhibition space, the cinema, and the built environment. A wide range of cultural artefacts will be examined, paying attention to material as well as visual aspects. Visual material will be situated in the social, cultural and political circumstances of the period. Topics will include: Fascism’s use of spectacle, fascist conceptions of utopia, the regime’s use of the past, the relationship between Fascism and modernism, Fascism as a political religion, the cult of Mussolini, urban-rural relations, and empire building. The module will also consider the afterlife of fascist visual culture and the question of ‘difficult’ heritage.

Group B

Prohibition America

This module explores the United States' bold but disastrous experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing, as well as Race, class, gender, and religion.

We examine pre-1920 temperence, women's reform movements, and state-wide restrictions; changing patterns of alcohol consumption and the rise of the Anti-Saloon League; and the reasons for the shift to national prohibition, along with passage of the Eighteenth Amendment and Volstead Act.

We consider the impact of the outlawed liquor trade on US society, politics, and culture during the 1920; the rise of bootlegging and smuggling; changes to the vice trades and rise of crime syndicates, and the inglorious end of Prohibition.

US Foreign Policy, 1989 - present

An introduction to the key institutions, structures and processes that combined to produce American foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. You'll analyse the role of the bureaucracy, Congress, public opinion and the media to understand how US foreign policy is formulated and conducted. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars if you study this module.

Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

This module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. We focus 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. We explore how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation and analyse how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory.  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.

A History of the Civil Rights Movement

This module examines a range of documents and scholarly controversies pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents will include public and organisational records, photo-journalism, speeches, memoir and personal papers. Controversies will 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.

North American Film Adaptations
This module examines 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 to the analysis of the texts themselves. In particular, the module takes an interest in literary texts whose film adaptations have been produced in different national contexts to the source material.
Varieties of Classic American Film, Television and Literature since 1950

What is a film, television or literary classic? How has this term come under pressure and fractured over the past half century or so? In this module you will consider the concept of the mid and late twentieth century American “classic” in a variety of contrasting and overlapping contexts. These contexts will be elaborated on the basis of their formal, generic, period and/or cultural designations that will cover university and exam curricula reading lists, popular opinion and widespread critical consensus (such as the currently prevalent view, for instance, that the early twenty-first century constitutes a ‘golden age’ of US television).

Recent Queer Writing

This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include: 

  • LGBTQ sexuality;
  • constructions of masculinity and femininity;
  • the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens;
  • intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites
  • writing for LGBTQ youth
  • literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories

Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.

American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

Experiences of and ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have varied and changed radically within American history and culture. This module will survey and analyse these changes from the mid-19thcentury to the present. We will consider how and why medical authority, gender, and class have all impacted the way in which mental illness is understood, and consider the significance of changing approaches to treatment. Sources used on this interdisciplinary module range from medical accounts and psychiatric theory to memoir, fiction and film. The aim is to place representations of mental illness in their historical context, and to ask what they reveal about related ideas about identity, conformity, social care and responsibility.

Sexuality in American History

From the Puritans to Playboy, sexuality has been a focal point in the culture, politics, and society of the United States. This module will examine Americans' differing attitudes over time toward sexuality. Representative topics covered may include marriage and adultery, homosexuality and heterosexuality, nudity, abortion, birth control, prostitution, free love, and rape.

The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery- Britain and the US 1776-1877

This module encourages students to reassess the Anglo-American relationship during an era of major upheaval in both nations (1776-1877).

Taking students from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era the module will challenge learners to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.

Through the module, students will engage with concepts crucial in the formation of the modern world including race, ethnicity, liberty, republicanism, class, gender, manners and reform.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

We're keen to offer you the opportunity to develop your language skills while studying here.

You can learn a language for its own sake or because it complements your degree or intended career.

We cater for all levels - from complete beginners to near-native competence.

There are currently nine language options available.

Check out the Language Centre for more information

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Essential course materials are supplied.

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts.

A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take.

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (for example, Waterstones, WH Smith or Amazon). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements (for example work experience and teaching in schools), you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

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 £1,000 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 students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

As well as the extensive subject knowledge you'll get from a joint honours degree you will also get an unusually wide range of skills that employers are looking for:

  • ability to conduct and report on in-depth research
  • critical thinking and analysis
  • working independently and as part of collaborative teams
  • constructing and defending reasoned arguments
  • excellent written and oral communication skills

With these skills your career will be:

  • resilient - as the nature of work changes you can adapt
  • flexible - you can choose across different sectors as you develop and grow and opportunities arise
  • creative - come up with new ideas and responses to developing situations

Find out more about possible careers and opportunities for our Film and Television Studies and American Studies students.

Key fact

Only 14% of employers state that specific degree subjects are a selection criterion. (Institute of Student Employers recruitment survey 2019)

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. 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).

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" The thing I enjoyed the most was definitely the flexibility to pick your own modules. For example, I’d have an American philosophy module, a Canadian literature module, then a more technical film module. Throughout the day you’re dipping in and out of not just different time periods, but almost like different degrees! It had that variation I was looking for. "
Elliot Haines, Film and Television Studies and American Studies BA

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Important information

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.