BA (Hons)

English and American Studies

Explore different critical approaches to literature

QT37UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

In this lively, multi-disciplinary course, you will develop skills and knowledge across a range of disciplines, and ally in-depth knowledge of North and South America in their global context to a deeper understanding of literature in English.

The breadth of themes and analytical approaches in this programme provides a sound preparation for work or further study.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Apply for an internship in the heart of the American political process
  • Spend a period in one of our link universities in the USA or Chile
  • Tailor your study to reflect the interests you develop during your studies

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course will equip you with the capabilities for a wide range of careers, in the US or UK, with a broadened world view that will help you apply your skills in any job that calls for analysis, argument or communication. Here are some routes our past graduates have pursued:

  • publishing and editing
  • journalism
  • media
  • teaching
  • marketing and sales
  • local government
Blake Sears, BA (Hons) American Studies student 2013

I really liked the friendliness of the lecturers on the open day. I can always contact my lecturers if I have a problem, and they are always prepared to spend time with students if they need help.

Blake Sears, BA (Hons) American Studies student

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement.
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
96-120 points from 3 A levels or equivalent, to include 32 points from A level English. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Languages and Area Studies
Programme specification


English and Journalism

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Getting the chance to develop practical skills alongside learning the theory
  • The high-quality teaching and flexibility of options that enables you to tailor your course to your own interests
  • The passion and knowledge of the lecturers that makes studying so enjoyable

Browse all courses in English and Journalism

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

In the first year you will study introductory units to the various disciplines that you will cover on the course, working towards a coherent understanding of the Americas as a whole and a solid foundation for advanced literary study in years two and three.

  • Introduction to Latin American History
  • Introduction to North American Studies
  • Literary Powers: Renaissance to Romanticism
  • Critical Thinking
  • Studying at University
  • Poetry and Poetics

Year two

In the second and third years of study a range of options allows you to pursue your own particular interests. Options may vary from year to year but will always offer the opportunity to study in-depth critical and theoretical approaches to a wide range of subjects.

  • Home & Away: US Foreign and Domestic Policy
  • Styles And Subversions: Nineteenth Century To The Present Day
  • Race, Slavery and Emancipation in the Americas
  • Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim

Options Including:

  • Revolutions! Literature and Change 1700 -1830
  • Democratisation in Latin America
  • American Literature: Puritans to Postmodernists
  • Paragons & Profligates: Early Modern Drama
  • Nation and Travel
  • Victorian Literature and Visual Culture
  • American Civil War
  • Foreign Language
  • Learning from Experience
  • Managing across Cultures 

Year three

A large part of the final year is given over to the preparation of a dissertation, which is a major piece of independent work on a topic of your own choice. The dissertation can be on an American Studies or an English topic, or combine the two.

  • Dissertation/Major Project

Options including:

  • We, The People: The Creation of the American Citizen
  • Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Fiction
  • Mortals and Immortals: Man, God and the Devil in Early Modern Literature
  • Enlightenment: Literature, Culture and Modernity
  • Postmodern Historical Fiction
  • Tracing Borders: Women and Writing 1890-1940
  • Eco Critical Perspectives: Environment and Literature 1820 -1939
  • Magical Realism
  • European Literary Decadence
  • Holocaust Literatures
  • The Politics & Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature & Film
  • Consuming Fictions: Food and Appetite in Victorian Culture
  • African American History & Culture
  • US Masculinities
  • Civil Rights USA
  • Charles Dickens
  • Accredited Study Abroad 

Teaching and Assessment

We aim to provide a varied, challenging and stimulating learning environment. But most of all we want you to become an independent learner so that you will continue to learn beyond your time at the University.

Our staff are highly motivated and research active, ensuring that you are taught by specialists in their subjects.

How are you assessed?

You will have formal lectures and smaller group seminars, and we encourage you to work together in groups or small teams. Our assessment methods are varied too, incorporating essays, reports, speech writing alongside some formal examinations, case studies, projects and presentations.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Pan-American Approaches

At Portsmouth, the entire pan-American region is explored through a wide range of disciplines and perspectives. You may study the US; you may equally study the Caribbean, Central or South America. You may also be able to study for a period abroad in one of our partner universities in the Americas: New York State, Minnesota, North Carolina and Kansas.

Washington DC Internship

Students on this programme are eligible to apply for an internship through the Brockport Washington Intern Program, offering work experience and learning opportunities in the heart of the American political process.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

For placements abroad that are taken in countries outside the EU/EEA, you will be required to meet travel costs. These costs will be in the region of £1000.

You will also be required to meet any extra tuition costs for units of study taken outside of your agreed study abroad programme. These costs will be in the region of £200.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

You will develop a wide range of skills and capabilities that are valued by prospective employers, such as analysis, criticism and argument. Your global world view and, potentially, study experience abroad will make you more appealing to many employers. You will be eligible to apply to an internship programme in Washington DC where, if successful, you can develop personal and professional skills at the heart of US politics.

Roles our graduates have moved into include:

  • editor
  • copywriter
  • projects administrator
  • archivist
  • government administrator
  • journalist

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

In addition to the Washington internship opportunity, you may study abroad in the first semester of the final year, either in the United States or Chile. This course also allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which lets you earn credits toward your degree for work/research placements, volunteer roles or internships undertaken alongside your studies. The option gives you the opportunity to enhance your employability skills, to reflect on the ways in which you've done so, and to learn to express this to potential employers.

The School of Social Historical and Literary Studies can offer you a number of work experience opportunities in a range of local organizations during your degree course. Currently these include projects at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the New Theatre Royal, with local government departments and political groups, and a number of our students have worked on small research projects for the local community.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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