American Studies BA, 3-4 years

Start date:


The USA. Love it or not, few countries have had such a profound global impact on culture, history, politics, technology and most aspects of modern life. You’ll take a sweeping look at the ideas, events and figures that have defined America, as well as pursue the topics that fascinate you most.

Typical offer
UCAS codes
T700, T701
American Studies

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5009

American Studies website

Course description

Course description

When you study the American Studies BA, you'll 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, the Civil Rights Movement and 11 September 2001. 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 everything that has made America what it is today. Our courses are 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 courses especially lively and relevant.

Download a prospectus (PDF, 6MB)

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • A/AS-levels: BBB. Two AS-levels may be considered in place of one A-level. General Studies is accepted.
  • EPQ with A-levels: BBC + EPQ at grade B.
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass relevant Diploma with 45 credits at Level 3, 24 of which must be at Distinction.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 28 points.
  • BTEC Nationals: Pass Diploma with DDM. 

Other national and international qualifications considered.

Second Year Entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

Selection Process

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

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

Fees and funding

UK and EU Students

Starting in 2020

Tuition fees for 2020/21 are yet to be confirmed. As an indication of what you might pay, the fees for students who started in 2019/20 were:

  • £9,250 in your first year. Tuition fees are subject to government regulations and may change in future years
  • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

International Students

Starting in 2020

  • £17,450 per year
  • Year Abroad: £4,362.50, which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee

Find out more about scholarships and funding.

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.

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

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.

Related courses

Related courses

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 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

In Year 2 you will delve deeper into each of the four major disciplinary areas covered on the course. In core modules on ethnicity and diversity in American history and literature you will study the history and lived experiences of many different ethnic communities in the United States. 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; intellectual, historical, literary, political and cinematic. You will also take a module on Latin America and the United States, plus a further option of your choice in topics ranging from the history of alcohol to US foreign policy.

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 be able to use your time in North America doing independent research for your dissertation, which you will write during your final year of study back at Leicester.

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 Study Abroad Unit.

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 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 intellectual and academic interests and are taught by tutors who are keen to share their wealth of experience and knowledge.

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

Then choose two option modules from:

Alternatively, instead of four option modules you can choose one module from the first list plus one special subject in History.

Plus your American Studies Dissertation and Dissertation Supplement.

If you spent a year abroad you will take a Dissertation with Research and Dissertation Supplement.

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.

Why Leicester?

Job prospects are fantastic! A full 100% of our American Studies students are employed (or studying for a Masters degree) six months after graduating. (DLHE)

If you opt for a year abroad you will get to choose from 30 American universities in 20 states. Plus a couple in Canada.

American Studies at Leicester has been in the top ten of at least one of the big three subject-ranking league tables every year for the past decade.

Our Centre for American Studies Congress to Campus events and Annual Lecture series invites distinguished speakers to deliver talks relevant to the course. Previous speakers include former Congress members Mary Bono and Brian Baird and Professors Hugh Wilford, Brenda Gayle Plummer, and Jacqueline Foertsch.

American Studies at Leicester

A year at the University of Alabama gave Aiden unparalleled insight into US culture and society.

Teaching and learning

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, podcasts, posters 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.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

Your contact hours will depend on the option modules you select. You can see details of the contact hours on individual module pages.

Academic support

Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

  • study and exam skills
  • academic writing
  • presentations
  • dissertations
  • numerical data skills
  • referencing sources

Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Apply now

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