American Studies

BA, 3-4 years

This is for you if... you are fascinated by the United States and want to learn more about its literature, history, visual culture, and politics.

Course Description

Discover the history, politics, and culture of one the most influential countries in modern history. Since the formation of Jamestown in 1607, the story of America's evolution has been one of ambition, controversy, and progress. This course will guide you through this evolution and introduce you to the people, ideas, and events that have shaped the nation.

Despite being a relatively young nation, America’s history is defined by the enormity of the changes that have shaped it: the War of Independence, the American Civil War, the Wall Street Crash, and the Civil Rights Movement. The impact of the country’s rapid growth has been felt, in one way or another, throughout the world. Any conversation from economics to cinema, from politics to human rights, will be directly or indirectly affected by American ideas and developments.

At Leicester you will be able to explore all that has made America what it is today. Our course is popular because of the depth and breadth of our expertise in American Studies, across American history, literature, politics, and film. While historic and traditional America features strongly on our degrees, the modern day is a particular focus, whether in fiction, politics, or cinema, making our programmes especially lively and relevant.

Key Facts
Typical offer
BBB (ABB for year abroad)
UCAS codes
T700, T701
Start date
September 2017
American Studies

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5009

American Studies website

View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

American Studies at Leicester is ranked in the top ten in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2017 and is firmly established as one of the UK's top porviders of American Studies degrees.

Our students run a lively American Studies Society for which they organise trips to the theatre to see productions of American plays, debates and discussions, quizzes and social events.

You can experience North America first-hand by spending your third year at one of more than 30 partner universities in the USA or Canada.

A travel scholarship of up to £400 is available in your second year to help you broaden your understanding of American Studies. Many students use this to enhance their dissertation research.

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1

In your first year you will acquire a firm grounding in the history, politics, literature and visual culture of America. History modules will give you a broad overview of America's development, while literature modules will introduce you to the landmark works of literature that epitomise the American canon. You will also learn how the executive, legislative, and judicial branches govern the country as well as getting a thorough introduction to American visual culture, including film, photography, television and video games.


Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 2

Year 2

You will delve deeper into each of the four major areas covered on the course. In core modules on ethnicity and diversity in American history and literature you will study the history and experience of many different ethnic communities in the United States. And in twin modules on the American west and the American city you will examine two major themes in American history and culture from a variety of disciplinary angles; historical, literary, political and cinematic. In addition you will take a module on Latin America and the United States and a further option of your choice.


Core modules

Option modules

Choose one option module from:

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year Abroad (optional)

Year Abroad (optional)

If you are on the four-year programme, you can spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions (If you're on the three-year programme, you will continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years). You will take four modules in each of the two semesters abroad in any American subjects of your choice.  This gives you the chance to study modules on subjects you have not done before (examples include the history of American jazz and blues and Native American history and culture) as well as those which develop your knowledge further in areas you have already covered. You will also devote one of your 8 modules abroad to researching your final-year dissertation under the supervision of an American tutor.

Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or become self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office.

Please note that a year spent abroad still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See our Fees and Funding section for details. You will be expected to produce a photographic essay of your time abroad.

We have links with many American universities:














New York

North Carolina







We also have two partners in Canada

  • If you would like to study abroad at a university in North America, you should apply using the UCAS code T701.
  • If you would rather complete your degree in three years and remain in Leicester for the duration of your studies, you should apply using the UCAS code T700.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Final Year

Final Year

During your final year you will have the freedom to tailor your degree to your own specific interests. The only compulsory module will be a 10,000-word dissertation, the subject of which you will choose. The rest of your studies will be selected from a wide-ranging list of specialist modules that cater for all manner of personal interests and are taught by tutors who are keen to share their wealth of experience and knowledge.

Option modules

Choose four option modules from:

Plus your dissertation

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Major/Minor Degrees

Major/Minor degrees enable you to create your own degree. You can study a core area in depth (your major subject), while also exploring an additional area (your minor subject).

Why not complement your Major with a subject that you enjoyed before, or which has vocational elements that can boost your career prospects? Alternatively, you may want to try something completely new that you’ve always been interested in, like a language.

Find Out More

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught through diverse methods including lectures, seminars, small discussion groups, and individual supervision. The degree culminates in a dissertation conceived, researched, and written independently by you under the one-to-one supervision of an expert in American Studies.

Each term you will study three modules, attending a minimum of two classes per week for each module. Typically a week will involve additional events such as workshops on careers and study skills, learning groups, introduced film screenings and the opportunity for one-to-one meetings with tutors.

Assessment methods are varied, too. Our major forms of assessment are submitted essays, blogs, passage analysis, and written exams. On some modules we also assess by means of oral presentations and group work projects in order to give you a more fully rounded academic experience and to help you develop vital oral and teamwork skills for the professional workplace.

In all our modules you learn, and we teach, with the assistance of the latest technology. Our virtual learning environment (Blackboard) will give you access to articles, websites, and discussion groups and so enable you to participate more fully in all areas as well as become more fully informed.

You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they be academic, financial, housing, career, or social issues.

Entry Requirements

  • A/AS-levels: BBB (ABB for year abroad). Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. General Studies is accepted.
  • EPQ with A-levels: BBC (BBB for year abroad) + EPQ at grade B. Two AS-levels considered in place of one A-level. General Studies accepted.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass relevant diploma with 45 credits at Level 3 including some credits at distinction.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 28-30 points, plus any subject requirements.
  • BTEC Nationals: Pass Diploma with DDM.

Other national and international qualifications considered.

Second Year Entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

Selection Process

Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the department.

English Language Requirements

IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

International Qualifications

Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships, and additional requirements.

Countries list

Fees and Funding

  • Starting in 2017

    • £9,250 in your first year. After 2017/18, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation (RPIX) and is subject to government regulations. (RPIX is a measure of inflation in the UK, equivalent to all items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.)
    • Year abroad: your fee will be 15% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year.

    Find out more about scholarships and funding.


  • Starting in 2017

    • £15,290 per year
    • If you take a Year Abroad, your fee will be £2,293.50 which is 15% of the full-time tuition fee.

    A travel scholarship of up to £400 is available in your second year to help you broaden your understanding of particular aspects of American Studies. Many students use the funding to enhance their dissertation research but it is not a compulsory part of your course.

Career Opportunities

The University’s annual Festival of Careers is a four-day event that attracts graduate employers from across a wide variety of sectors and industries. This is the perfect opportunity for you to think about where your degree will take you and gain face-to-face time with employers.

The growth of the global market means that many jobs in the public and private sectors have an international and often a transatlantic dimension. Employers are looking for independence, creativity, maturity, and a broad cultural outlook, all of which are provided through the course.


Our Career Development Service is here to support you with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering, and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
American Studies BA 3 years full-time T700 Apply Now
American Studies with Year Abroad BA 4 years full-time T701 Apply Now
American Studies
3 years full-time
American Studies with Year Abroad
4 years full-time

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