American Studies with History BA (Hons)

american studies with history student concentrates on computer
Mode of Study
3 years full-time
Start Date
September 2020


If you’re excited by the history, politics and culture of the Americas, and want to combine it with the study of global history, this BA (Hons) American Studies with History degree 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. You'll see how it relates to the past and bring it to life through practical study. You’ll pick the periods of time that interest you most in American, British, and global history. And you'll develop your skills in research and analysis.

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.

Entry requirements​

To do this degree, you need to apply for the BA (Hons) American Studies course. This is because it's a 'pathway' degree.

You’ll study American Studies in depth and add History as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll graduate with a BA (Hons) American Studies with History degree when you finish the course.

These are the entry requirements for the BA (Hons) American Studies course.

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

What you'll experience

On this American Studies with History degree course, you'll:

  • Explore the Americas, from Canada to Chile, and satisfy your interest in this diverse continent
  • Examine US foreign policy and explore important topics such as the impact of race, slavery and emancipation of the Americas
  • Study 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 and periods of history that interest you the most
  • 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)
  • Develop analytical reading, presentation and team-work skills that’ll serve you in your future career
  • Have the chance to meet high-profile figures in the literary world and attend a reception at our annual Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim event
  • Have access to primary and secondary historical sources through local organisations and archive subscriptions
  • 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
  • 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

Careers and opportunities

The mix of skills and experience you get on this course opens up many opportunities in your career when you finish University.

What can you do with an American Studies degree?

After the course, you could work in areas such as:

  • advertising
  • journalism
  • arts and media
  • public relations
  • copywriting
  • teaching
  • research
  • administration
  • the heritage sector

What jobs can you do with an American Studies degree?

Roles they've taken on include:

  • archivist
  • government administrator
  • recruitment consultant
  • museum curator
  • public relations officer
  • information analyst

You could also study at postgraduate level.

Our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job or course that puts your skills to work. After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) American Studies with History 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 units in this year include:

  • US History from 1750 to 2001
  • Nation and Identities: The Americas since the Conquest
  • Introduction to Literature and Culture in the Americas
  • Spectacular Hollywood
  • Meet the Americans

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • US politics
  • Making America: from Revolution to Civil War

History options:

  • Term 1: Either:- Slavery and Anti-Slavery in the Atlantic World Or:- Underworld? Crime, Deviance and Punishment
  • Term 2: Either:- Danger! Censorship, Power & the People Or:- Imagined Communities: Ethnicity& National Identity

American Studies Options:

  • Democratisation in Latin America
  • Hollywood and Beyond
  • Women's Writing in the Americas
  • US Foreign Policy From the Great War to 9/11
  • Civil Rights USA
  • Hollywood and Morality
  • Puritans to Post Modernists American Literature
  • Accredited Study Abroad (term two)
  • IWLP (Language Option)
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • Learning from Experience (LiFE)

American Studies options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Thomas Jefferson and the Making of the American Republic
  • Gender, Sexuality and Cinema
  • Magical Realism
  • US Masculinities
  • African American History and Culture
  • The Politics and Culture of the Hispanic World 
  • Transitional Justice
  • Time, Temporality and Contemporary Fiction
  • Germany in the American Century
  • Learning from Experience (LiFE)
  • Professional Development: Recruiters & Candidates

History options from specialist subjects:

  • The Imperial City: Popular Culture, Slums and Scandal in Imperial Britain, 1870-1939
  • Decolonization in Africa
  • Britain in Revolution: the impact of the British Civil Wars, 1637-1662
  • Everyday Slaughter? Accidents and Safety in Britain, c.1850-1970
  • Cinema-going in Wartime Britain, 1939-1945
  • The Opium War, 1839-1842
  • Women, colonialism and anti-colonialism
  • Magic and Modernity: Supernatural Britain, 1800-1920
  • Racism and Anti-Racism in Postwar Britain
  • Marriage, Birth and Death: The Family and Life Cycle in Britain
  • The Making of the German Nation 
  • Europe in the American century
  • The French Revolution, 1789-1799
  • Conflict, Conspiracy and Consensus? Religious Identities in Elizabethan England

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.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your CV.

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.

Academic skills support

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
  • 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.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

There's an emphasis on learning the skills to conduct your own research, follow your own initiative, and confidently present your ideas.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • Teaching block 1 – September to December (October to December for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Assessment period 1 – January (and early February for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Teaching block 2 – January to May (February to May for some courses in 2020/21 only)
  • Assessment period 2 – May to June

You can also use many of the facilities and get support from Faculty staff in the evenings and weekends.

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • essays
  • close textual analysis
  • group and individual presentations
  • a 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.

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2020 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £14,300 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 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.

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.


You need to choose BA (Hons) American Studies when you apply for this course, because this is a ‘pathway’ course. This is where you study American Studies in depth and add History as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) American Studies with History degree when you complete the course. 

If you change your mind after you apply, you can still choose not to study History in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) American Studies degree when you complete the course. 

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.

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 or apply directly to us (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also 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. 

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 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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