American Studies BA (Hons)
BA Hons American Studies
If you’re excited by the history, politics and culture of the Americas, and want to inject your interest into a versatile qualification, this BA (Hons) American Studies degree course is a great choice.
From their nation-states and peoples to their diverse cultures, you’ll get a deep understanding of all things North and South America. By the end of the course, you’ll be prepared for a range of careers, from library and archival work, to journalism, teaching and local government positions.
What you'll experience
On this degree course, you'll:
- Explore the Americas, from Canada to Chile, and satisfy your interest in these diverse continents
- Examine US foreign policy and explore important topics such as the impact of race, slavery and emancipation of the Americas
- Pull apart the influence of Hollywood, gender and cinema on culture, and learn about the civil rights movements that shaped the future of the United States
- Tailor your studies to the areas of the Americas that interest you the most, from entertainment and art, to sociology and economics
- Get the opportunity to study abroad in locations such as New York State, Minnesota, North Carolina or the University of Chile and immerse yourself in the culture you’re learning about
Interested in pairing American studies with English literature or history? Expand your degree with an optional pathway into a second subject of your choice. It'll lead to these awards at the end of the course:
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job with your degree, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
Take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option and earn credits towards your degree for work, research placements, volunteer roles or internships you take during your studies.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
We’re an international university with links around the globe, including the Americas. You can get hands on with your studies by taking advantage of our partnerships:
- Make the most of the Brockport Washington Intern Program, offering unique work experience and learning opportunities
- Gain valuable experience and contacts from time spent working for US Senators or at leading Washington based lobby groups
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Careers and opportunities
This course prepares you for a wide range of careers in the US, the UK or further afield. You'll get a broadened worldview that will help you apply your skills in any role that demands analysis, argument or communication.
Past graduates have established careers in areas such as:
- local government
You’ll get career advice and support for up to 5 years after you graduate, to help you put your best foot forward wherever your future takes you.
Tuition fees (2018 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £13,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
You’ll need to pay the costs associated with studying abroad and or doing an overseas placement, these costs are usually around £1000.
You’ll also need to meet any additional tuition costs for units of study you take outside of your agreed study abroad programme. This normally costs around £200.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Studying at University
- Introduction to Latin American History
- Introduction to North American Studies
- Introduction to Literature and Culture in the Americas
- Spectacular Hollywood
- Working Life Today (In the USA)
There are no optional units in this year.
Core units include:
- Race, Slavery and Emancipation in the Americas
- Civil Rights USA
- Home and Away: US Foreign and Domestic Policy
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Democratisation in Latin America
- Critical Hollywood
- From Revolution to Reconstruction
- Puritans to Post-Modernists
- Women's Writing in the Americas
- Managing Across Cultures
- IWLP (Language)
- Learning from Experience (LiFE)
Options to choose from in this year currently include:
- Accredited Study Abroad
- Thomas Jefferson and the Making of the American Republic
- Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature and Film
- Gender, Sexuality and Cinema
- Magical Realism
- US Masculinities
- African American History and Culture
- Transitional Justice and Human Rights
- Germany in the American Century
- Learning from Experience
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
There's an emphasis on interacting and learning with your peers. Most seminars and workshops consist of small groups, so you'll be able to ask questions and debate issues with confidence.
You'll analyse primary documents and debate contemporary issues in small teams, so you'll learn from a range of opinions and interpretations.
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:
- Autumn teaching block – September to December
- Spring teaching block – January to Easter
- Assessment period – Easter to June
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. There's no teaching on Wednesday afternoons. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year one students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 77% studying independently
- Year two students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 78% studying independently
- Year three students: 4% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 63% studying independently and 33% on work placement
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- speech writing
- formal examinations
- case studies
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 12% by written exams, 18% by practical exams and 70% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 17% by written exams and 83% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 3% by practical exams and 97% by coursework
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
Want to start this course in 2019?
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 5 September. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – T700
- our institution code – P80
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.