Film and Television Studies and American Studies BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons Film and Television Studies and American Studies
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
normally one essay-based subject at A level
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course combines multidisciplinary American studies with the study of global film, television and other screen media and their position within specific historical and social contexts.
Read full overview

One strand of the course interrogates film and television as art forms and industries, locating them within specific historical and social contexts. The other strand approaches North American literature, history, politics, art and music, situating the US, Canada and ethnic and regional American cultures in transnational and global perspectives. 

Year one

In year one, you have the choice of taking core modules in either American history or American literature. You will also take a multidisciplinary module exploring the relationship between film, literature and culture in the North American context. In film and television you will engage in multidisciplinary activity in addition to core studies in film and television history, production cultures, the analysis of film texts and key critical perspectives, and the contexts of film and television consumption.

Year two

Year two broadens and develops your understanding of core concepts. In American studies, a survey of North American regions extends your understanding of American society and cultural forms. You will also select two optional modules from a range which covers particular periods, events, themes, genres, authors and texts in greater depth. In film and television studies, you will explore how film and television converge in the contemporary media landscape.

Year three

In year three, you will continue and extend the process of specialisation promoted in the second year. You will write an original research dissertation and follow a programme of advanced study in a choice of modules in film and television and in American and Canadian history, literature and culture.

More information

See also the Department of American and Canadian Studies.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB including one essay-based subject at A level


English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

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 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.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

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. The module looks at the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the TV network system. It asks what transition means at different historical moments by raising questions such as: what are the industries producing at these moments, and how are cultural products marketed and distributed? The module also introduces historical method and the idea of historiography. It provides examples of different critical approaches to film and television history and interrogates the key debates around the periodisation of that history.

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. 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.

Reading Film and Television

This module introduces you to formal aspects of screen narratives and the language of textual analysis, enabling you to 'read' and illuminate film and television texts. It also sheds light on the people who work on the production of film/TV texts and some of the key features of their collaboration in areas such as directing, cinematography, editing, production design, sound design and performance.

Questioning Culture

This module supports first year students as they make the transition into degree level work. You will gain skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of guided and self-directed learning tasks and individual and group research projects. The module prepares the ground for subsequent research training and for the final year dissertation.

Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the 20th century. Topics studied will include Native culture, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the U.S. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars, and two and a half hours per week in workshops, studying this module.


Plus either:

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, through revolution, civil war and industrialisation, to the end of the 19th century. You will 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 20th 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 four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.



American Literature and Culture 1: To 1945

An introductory survey of major texts, authors and developments in American literature. You will explore a range of forms (novels, short stories, autobiography and poetry) and issues (race, class, gender) as they have been dealt with by writers. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.


American Literature 2: Since 1945

You’ll study a selection of American fiction, poetry and drama, exploring changes in literary form, the rise of women’s and ethnic literatures, and the relationship between literature and its social and political contexts. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.


Typical year two modules

North American Regions

This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, "place" to explore key North American texts - primarily drawn 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 and 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, 21st-century Iraq).


North American Film and Television

This module examines the form and content of North American cinema and television in the 21st century and the forces and trends shaping the nature of American and Canadian films and television programmes. Topics for discussion will include the different film and broadcasting industries in the US and Canada, representation of the past in contemporary cinema and television, representations of technology, identity, gender, and race, and the Canada-US border. If you study this module you'll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and two and a half hours in film workshops, per week.


The American Pop Century

This module examines 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. You will examine music's aesthetic qualities genre by genre, as well as key developments within the music industry, the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. You'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.


The Contemporary American Novel

This module covers a representative sample of important literary fiction produced since 2000. It explores how writers have engaged with themes of race, class, gender, religion, labour and war, and the uses of historical revisionism, identity politics, and regionalism. The module covers a variety of narrative forms, genres and critical theories, from fictionalised life-writing and family sagas to speculative fiction and counter-historical narratives to transnational writing and war fiction. If you study this module, you'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


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. 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. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


American Radicalism

This module will examine American radicals since the American Revolution. 19th-century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20th-century 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 recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalization. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


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

This module examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time from the war of 1898 to the 21st century. It analyses how traditional political and diplomatic issues, the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of foreign actors and private organisations - from religious groups to NGOs - have shaped America's actions abroad.  It also explores the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion in shaping US foreign policy. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


American Violence: A History

This module analyses the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. It will consider theories about its origins in frontier settler societies, the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. It will consider 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. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This course examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It traces the development of immigrant communities, cultures and identities from the 19th century to the present day. The module draws on historical, literary and cultural texts, with sources ranging from political cartoons, fiction and testimony to photography, documentary film, digital art and video performance. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


A History of Crime and Punishment

This module explores the history of crime and punishment in the United States from the period of the US Civil War through to the post-World War II/Cold War years. It looks at the shift from public to 'private' punishments, including the early nineteenth century 'invention' of the penitentiary and development of 'modern' police and the emergence of distinct regional differences in rates of violent crime and official responses. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Transnational Media

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 develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media.

Understanding Cultural Industries

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.

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. You'll learn about the way that social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes and explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as movie going and television viewing.

Researching Culture, Film and Media

For this year-long core module you'll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different methods for investigating research topics, including methods such as ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You'll investigate the interdisciplinary nature of film, television and media studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods.


Typical year three modules

Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

You will undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject within American and Canadian Studies and produce either a 5-7,000 word or a 10-12,000 word dissertation.

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 organised 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'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Latino 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'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.

Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

You'll examine the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements, focusing on the ways in which subordinate groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition. Considering key issues and moments in American popular music history, you'll cover topics such as the politics of folk-protest music, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, identity politics and music video, and hip hop as a culture of resistance. Around three hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.

Recent Queer Writing

Focusing on the representation of gender and sexuality, lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing will be considered through the analysis of selected contemporary texts. Issues for discussion will include:

  • constructions of masculinity and femininity
  • representations of 'alternative' sexuality and lifestyles
  • the relation of race, ethnicity, class
  • nationality to issues of gender and sexual identity

Authors studied include:

  • Timothy Findley
  • Daphne Marlatt
  • Dionne Brand
  • Shani Mootoo
  • Shyam Selvadurai
  • Tomson Highway
  • Ivan E Coyote
  • Dorothy Allison
  • Leslie Feinberg

If you choose this module you'll spend around three hours per week in seminars.


 History of the Civil Rights Movement

The module studies the development of the African-American protest movement from the Second World War to the early 1970s. Students will consider the historiographical debates which surround this topic and will be introduced to a variety of source materials and methodological approaches. There will be a particular focus on photographs alongside other primary sources. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

This module explores how ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have changed from the mid-19th-century 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. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


The American Theatre

This module explores the main developments in North American drama from the late-18th century to the present day. It examines how different theatrical movements - melodrama, minstrelsy, the 'freak' show, expressionism, social realism, the musical - connect with major historical events such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and the Cold War. The module includes practical workshops around the staging, acting, directing and promotion of specific plays. You will spend four hours per week studying this module.


In the Midst of Wars: The US and Vietnam

You'll consider American attitudes, perceptions and policies toward South East Asia from the Second World War until the end of the Vietnam War. Focus will be on the course of the Vietnam War, the role of different players (beyond the US) and the reasons that the US became involved. You'll also consider the wider scope of US policy in Asia during the period and the outlines of the wider Cold War.  For this module, you'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.

The Civil War and Its Origins 1850-1865
You will consider the collapse of the American Republic in 1861, including events in the decade preceding it and at the course of the war that followed it. You will focus on the origins of the Civil War and the reasons for Union victory, spending around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Dissertation in Film and Television Studies

You will carry out a major individual research project based on issues and concepts investigated on the course so far as well as your own research interests. Your work will demonstrate your skill for primary research, critical argumentation and understanding of scholarly research.  You will be supported by individual supervision, resources such as film databases, and workshops on research methods throughout the semester.

Film and Television Genres

You'll be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, low-budget film productions and TV movies, and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules, you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

Film Noir

The module introduces students to the key critical concepts and theoretical work on film noir and examines the ways in which 'film noir' came to be applied to a group of 1940s and 1950s American films. The module treats film noir as an historical object of study and as a mode of categorisation referring to a specific historical phenomenon, situated in the US's social, cultural and political contexts. It also examines the cultural moment of the inception of the term by French critics who did much to shape the generic concept. The module also considers the industrial, cultural, social and political factors which had a bearing on noir production avant la lettre.

The Blockbuster

This module asks the deceptively simple question 'What is a blockbuster?' By considering a number of historical case studies, the module treats the phenomenon within a diverse range of contexts. Where does the term 'blockbuster' come from? To what type of films has it been applied? Are blockbusters a product of 'New Hollywood', or did they originate in the classical period? Why are blockbusters so successful, financially, culturally and emotionally? What social value may such films possess? What conditions are necessary for its success? To what extent is the blockbuster an 'international' form?

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. You'll also explore the role of marketing systems used to engage specific audiences and how this knowledge is applied in industry market research.

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.

The New Hollywood

You'll learn about key changes in Hollywood since the 1960s and develop critical thinking about the status and meaning of the 'New Hollywood' through comparisons with the so-called 'Old Hollywood' and 'New New Hollywood', attention to audience demographics, and study of evolving cinemagoing practices and cultural representations. You'll also consider industry marketing materials and film-review media to further your engagement with the subject, spending around four hours a week in seminars and workshops.

Global Cinema

This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, introducing students to critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, the 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, students will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures.



You will have acquired in-depth knowledge of specific areas of film and television studies, including production, circulation and cultural reception, and a critical understanding of American history, literature and culture, as well as global screen media and creative industries. You will have completed independent research dissertations, developing transferable skills in critical thinking and media literacy.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

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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