american studies student discusses his work
Mode of Study
3 years full-time
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020

Apply through Clearing

To start this course in 2019, call us on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

You can also find out how Clearing works and sign up for Clearing news and vacancy updates.

We're available to chat from 9.00am–5.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9.00am–4.00pm (Friday) with extended hours from A level results day on 15 August 2019.


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.

100% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this American Studies 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 at one of our North American exchange universities and immerse yourself in the culture you are studying (subject to availability)

Optional pathways

    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:

    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.

    What can you do with a American Studies degree?

    Past graduates have established careers in areas such as:

    • publishing
    • journalism
    • local government
    • teaching
    • marketing

    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.

    The teaching staff on the American Studies course were above and beyond supportive in our education and personal lives, and a great sense of community meant nobody ever felt left out. I can easily say the best decision so far was choosing to study American Studies at the University of Portsmouth. I couldn't have asked for a better three years.

    Georgia Harrison, BA Hons American Studies student

    What you'll study on this BA (Hons) American Studies degree

    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.


    Core modules in this year include:

    • Culture and Literature of the Americas
    • History: Academic Enrichment Programme
    • Meet The Americans
    • Nations and Identities - the Americas since the Conquest
    • Spectacular Hollywood
    • US History from 1750 to 2001

    There are no optional units in this year.

    Core modules:

    • US Politics
    • History: Academic Enrichment Programme

    Options to choose from in this year:

    • Bloody Shakespeare: Shakespeare's History Plays
    • Civil Rights USA
    • Crime Writing
    • Danger! Censorship, Power and the People
    • Democratisation in Latin America
    • Hollywood and Beyond
    • Hollywood and Morality
    • Imagined Communities: Ethnicity and National Identity
    • Language
    • Learning from Experience
    • Literary Prizes And Public Acclaim
    • Managing Across Cultures
    • Neo-Historical Fiction
    • Puritans To Postmodernists: American Literature
    • Slavery And Antislavery In The Atlantic World
    • Study Abroad 
    • The Making Of America: From Revolution To Civil War
    • Underworlds: Crime, Deviance & Punishment In Britain, 1500-1900
    • US Foreign Policy: from the Great War to 9/11
    • Women’s Writing in the Americas

    Core modules:

    • Dissertation (American Studies)
    • History: Academic Enrichment Programme

    Options to choose from in this year currently include:

    • Accredited Study Abroad
    • African American History & Culture
    • Enlightenment: Literature, Culture and Modernity
    • Gender, Sexuality and Cinema
    • Germany in the American Century
    • Holocaust Literatures
    • Learning From Experience
    • Magical Realism
    • Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World in 20th Century Literature and Film
    • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates
    • Special Subject: Group Project 2
    • Special Subject: Individual Research 1
    • Time, Temporality, Contemporary Fiction
    • Transitional Justice & Human Rights
    • US Masculinities

    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 modules may not run every year. 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:

    • essays
    • reports
    • speech writing
    • formal examinations
    • case studies
    • projects
    • presentations

    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.

    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.


    Teaching methods on this course include:

    • lectures
    • workshops
    • seminars

    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.

    You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

    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.

    At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

    We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your American Studies degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 12 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, 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.

    Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

    Term times

    The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

    • September to December – teaching block 1
    • January – assessment period 1
    • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
    • May to June – assessment period 2

    Extra learning support

    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 face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

    Personal tutor

    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
    • referencing
    • 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 support

    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 English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

    Entry requirements​

    Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.
    BA (Hons) American Studies degree entry requirements

    Qualifications or experience
    • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

    See the 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.

    See alternative English language qualifications

    Qualifications or experience
    • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

    See the 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.

    See alternative English language qualifications

    ​Course costs

    Tuition fees (2019 start)

    • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
    • International students – £13,900 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.

    Additional costs

    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.

    For optional placements or placements abroad, you may need to pay additional costs, such as travel costs. These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement. They'll range from £50 to £1000.


    How to apply

    To start this course in 2019, call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

    You can also find out how Clearing works, sign up for Clearing news and vacancy updates and book a call back on results day.

    To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

    In the meantime, sign up 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.

    When you apply, you'll need:

    • the UCAS course code – T700
    • our institution code – P80

    How to apply from outside the UK

    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. 

    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.

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