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Combine a wide-ranging history degree with an interdisciplinary focus on American studies. If you want to explore history, while specialising in the politics and culture of the USA, there’s no better place to study it than Portsmouth, a city with a rich heritage of its own.
On this BA (Hons) History with American Studies degree, you'll benefit from expert teaching from history, politics and literature specialists as you explore the impact of the cultures of North America in the past and the present.
When you explore the USA, you'll examine contemporary and historical issues about American society, such as its politics and constitution, literature and culture, its foreign policy and global impact, the founding of the Republic, and minority and gender histories.
You'll develop your skills in research and analysis across global cultures, and gain sought-after workplace qualities in communication and teamwork.
To do this degree, you need to apply for the BA (Hons) History course. This is because it's a 'pathway' degree.
You’ll study History in depth and add American Studies as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll graduate with a BA (Hons) History with American Studies degree when you finish the course.
These are the entry requirements for the BA (Hons) History course.
BA (Hons) History degree entry requirements
- A levels - BBC-BCC
- UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
- International Baccalaureate - 25
You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
We look at more than just your grades
While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.
What you'll experience
On this degree course you’ll:
- Combine history from around the world with a close focus on the history, literature and politics of North America, and tailor your studies to your interests and the periods of history and American studies that interest you most
- Engage with archives from North America, including government and personal papers and cultural sources
- Learn from staff who are members of the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR), the UK's largest research centre of its kind
- Study in a city that has played a major role in the history of Britain, and enhance your studies by taking advantage of our close links with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Records Service and the D-Day Museum
- Explore current debates with expert scholars in the field
- Get an in-depth understanding of our society and how we interact with it
- Learn how our lives intersect with wider social structures
How history comes alive in Portsmouth
Portsmouth is a time traveller’s paradise, with historic tales of royalty, naval exploration, and even the odd ghost… join two of our students for a tour around our historic island city.
Archie and Kimberley
Welcome to Portsmouth!
Our city is a time traveller's paradise with historical tales of royalty, naval exploration and even the odd ghost.
Let us show you around.
Portsmouth is best known for our naval history, and here at the historic dockyard, you'll find the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior and HMS Victory. People arriving and leaving via ships has helped to shape the city, and the city has helped to shape their ideas and actions.
In 1662, Catherine Duchess of Braganza alighted here from Portugal to marry King Charles II. Their wedding took place here in Portsmouth and you can see their marriage certificate in Portsmouth Cathedral.
In the cathedral you'll also find a statue of the Duke of Buckingham, who was assassinated not far away in the Greyhound Inn. The Cathedral is also linked to multiple ghost stories and urban legends, including a sighting of Spring-heeled Jack, a fire-breathing demon.
The city wasn't built to keep out demons, but Portsmouth was vitally important in the defence of the Channel Coast. So a protective circuit was built around the city, including Southsea Castle.
Moving forward in the timeline of the city's defence, the site of popular shopping centre Gunwharf Quays was once home to the ‘stone frigate’ HMS Vernon. This two-tonne monument commemorates its mine warfare and diving heritage.
Like many port cities, Portsmouth welcomes a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, but their histories are not always visible. Historians at the University are working with community activists, curators, archivists and teachers to raise the visibility of black history and to engage locals in the co-production of this knowledge.
As well as visitors, Portsmouth has many famous faces who were born right here, including novelist Charles Dickens, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the engineer.
From engineers to writers, royalty to slaves, Portsmouth has had a number of people come and go over the years.
Their impact lives on. Our historians are discovering new stories from the past that helped shape our future.
Visit us and our historic city. You never know, you might just change its future.
Careers and opportunities
Employers from every area of industry value today’s history and American studies graduates. When you complete the course, you'll have the ability to analyse and manage large amounts of information, communicate effectively, research in groups or independently, and write in a concise and informative way.
What can you do with a History with American Studies degree?
You can move forward to further study and research or put your degree to work in areas such as:
- archives and information management
- corporate governance
- creative industries
- primary and secondary schools
- higher education providers
- publishing and media
- trade unions
Studying for my BA (Hons) History with American Studies degree was transformative. The staff cultivated a supportive environment and encouraged the development of a multitude of skills that helped me excel in both my academic pursuits and personal development.
What jobs can you do with a History and American Studies degree?
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- administrator for social enterprise
- case worker for MP
- development editor in publishing
- exhibitions project manager
- founder of a digital solutions company
- researcher and writer for TV
- workplace financial education consultant
Portsmouth alumni have worked with organisations including:
- central and local government
- higher education providers
- National Trust
- National Maritime Museum
- the probation service
- Royal Navy
Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate
Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.
Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.
This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.
Placement year (optional)
After your second year, you can undertake an optional work placement year. This is an exciting opportunity to get invaluable work experience relevant to your intended career path.
The University can provide support and advice to help secure a work placement best suited for you. You can find placements in the UK or beyond, depending on your identified career plans.
History students undertake placements in a variety of areas, including in the not-for-profit sector, in museums and heritage sites, in digital content management and with legal firms.
Current and recent students have secured placements at:
- Freedom from Torture, a charity which supports survivors of torture who seek protection in the UK
- Shrewsbury Museums
- Darton Law Ltd
- Posada & Company (Law)
We'll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You'll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
What you'll study
Core modules in this year include:
- Beliefs, Communities and Conflicts: Europe 1400-1750 - 20 credits
- Discovering World Histories: Peoples and Places - 20 credits
- Societies, Nations and Empires: Europe 1750-2000 - 20 credits
- Thinking Like An Historian – 20 credits
- Traces of the Past: Exploring Lives Through Sources - 40 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Debating the Past: Historical Case Studies - 20 credits
- Working With the Past – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- A History of US Foreign Policy: From the Great War to 9/11 - 20 credits
- Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe and Africa - 20 credits
- Envisioning Ourselves: Media and the Making of Modern Britain, 1850-2000 - 20 credits
- Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L5 - 20 credits
- Puritans to Post-Modernists: American Literature - 20 credits
- Rethinking Nazi Germany: Politics, History, Society – 20 credits
- The Hidden Lives of Things: Material Culture in the Early Modern World - 20 credits
- Underworlds: Crime, Deviance & Punishment in Britain, 1500-1900 – 20 credits
- US Politics - 20 credits
- Women's Writing in the Americas - 20 credits
Core modules in this year include:
- Civil Rights USA - 20 credits
- Dissertation / Major Project – 40 credits
- Specialist Option: Societies in Revolution – 20 credits
- Specialist Option: Empires and Identities – 20 credits
- US Masculinities - 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Changes to course content
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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- written essays and tests
- group and individual projects
- speech writing and reports
- a 10,000-word dissertation
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.
Teaching methods on this course include:
There's a practical focus on this course. You'll take part in group debates and discussions and get hands-on experience with different research and interview techniques.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
A typical week
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 11 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, independent reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.
Learning development tutors
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- Understanding and using assignment feedback
- Managing your time and workload
- Revision and exam techniques
Academic skills support
As well as support from faculty 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
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Course costs and funding
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £18,100 a year (subject to annual increase)
You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
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 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
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.
If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
You need to choose BA (Hons) History when you apply for this course, because this is a ‘pathway’ degree. This is where you study History in depth and add American Studies as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) History with American Studies degree when you complete the course.
If you change your mind after you apply, you can still choose not to study American Studies in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) History degree when you complete the course.
How to apply
To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – V100
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
Applying from outside the UK
As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things.
You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
Find out what additional information you need in our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.