Undergraduate Course

BA American Studies

(United States)

BA American Studies

Overview

The details
American Studies (United States)
T700
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

The complex and ever-changing American culture continues to fascinate. For well over a century, the US has been one of the most influential countries in the world, rising to be a world ‘superpower’ and dominating the world stage. Its commercial and cultural products are exported all over the world, from Silicon Valley and Hollywood, to jazz, blues and hip hop.

BA American Studies (United States) is for those with enthusiasm, passion and intellectual curiosity about all things American. At Essex, we offer you an opportunity to understand some of the diverse and paradoxical aspects of the US through interdisciplinary studies. The US – perhaps more than any other society – lends itself to interdisciplinary study; its literature and film are connected to its politics, its cultures are linked to its histories.

Crucially, you also spend either a term or a full academic year studying in the United States, so you can explore and become immersed in American culture.

The degree is built to be extremely flexible and student-led, and as you progress through the course you can choose from an enormous range of options from across the humanities and social sciences including:

  • Contemporary social issues, such as the struggles for racial justice
  • The legacies of slavery and the civil rights movement
  • Environmental protection of the ‘wilderness’ of the Far West
  • Native American histories and rights

Based within our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC), this course allows you to explore the many ways of understanding the American experience. You draw on multiple perspectives in order to reach a deeper understanding of the world we inhabit, opening up exciting possibilities to discover the American continent. The cities, vast open plains, mountains and deserts shape diverse and intriguing ways of life.

By encouraging you to think and operate across traditional boundaries, our American studies course has produced confident, assertive and intelligent graduates who have become successful in many professional fields.

Why we're great.
  • You can study abroad at a wide range of excellent partner universities across the US.
  • Top 10 for overall student satisfaction for American Studies in the National Student Survey 2021.
  • Our academic's combined interest in American studies means our interests span American politics, African American history, American crime fiction and much more.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

We are a team of internationally recognised writers and lecturers with expertise across the arts, humanities and social sciences. As well as being one of the UK’s leading universities for social science and the highest ranking institution for political science, Essex academics are world leaders in human rights and pioneers in the literature and arts of the Americas.

Our staff teach in departments across the university, and specialise in a wide range of topics including American history, law, literature, film, politics, and sociology.

Current research is exploring American politics and the electorate, cinematic images of the American Pacific, politics and land rights of the native Innu of Labrador in Canada, civil rights and African American history, and American crime fiction.

Specialist facilities

Your future

Our course offers you the chance to gain a wide-ranging knowledge of many aspects of American life and intimate acquaintance with the region in the United States where you have spent a period of study.

This provides excellent preparation for careers in media, education, politics, the Civil Service, international organisations such as the UN and NATO or non-governmental organisations, and many other fields.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of desirable roles including an events co-ordinator for Age UK, a business provision manager for BT, an accountant in London, and an account executive for Bluesky PR.

We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

“We have a broad range of lecturers who each add a different perspective. We're lucky to have such great minds at our disposal.”

Talia Burr, first-year BA American Studies (United States) student

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

Flexible offers
Eligible applicants that actively choose us as their firm choice will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements than those published here so, if your final grades aren’t what you had hoped for, you could still secure a place with us. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture
(30 CREDITS)

Certain ideas shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us - ideas like democracy, free speech, individualism, free markets, and human rights. These ideas took their definitive modern form during a politically and intellectually revolutionary stretch of history known as the Enlightenment (ca. 1650-1800). This interdisciplinary module examines this period and thus serves as an essential prerequisite for students who want to understand the intellectual currents that run through the world they live in. Graduating students often rank it among the most useful modules they have taken.

View Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Introduction to United States Literature
(15 CREDITS)

What is US literature? What makes it different from other writing in the English language, particularly work from the UK? Study classic texts that have established US literature as a distinct tradition in itself and gain an understanding of the issues surrounding this.

View Introduction to United States Literature on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

The Great American Experiment
(15 CREDITS)

Gain a firm grasp of US history by studying key historical events as well as important social movements. Topics covered range from the early settlements in Plimoth and Jamestown, through the American Revolution and expansion, Industrial Revolution, slavery and Civil War, up to the 1950s and 60s civil rights, women's and youth movements. Engage with novel and exciting debate about the history of the United States.

View The Great American Experiment on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Introduction to United States
(15 CREDITS)

American politics have long dominated the global stage; these are crucial times for the study of the United States. Discuss policymaking and contemporary political events in order to gain a basic introduction to the politics and government of the United States.

View Introduction to United States on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Introduction to United States Sociology
(15 CREDITS)

Who were the key sociologists studying the United States? And how have issues like democracy, inequality, gender roles, poverty, gangs and guns become sources of enchantment and disenchantment in the US? Studying one sociologist per week, we explore important and exciting interpretations of American society.

View Introduction to United States Sociology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Skills for University Studies
(0 CREDITS)

Making the transition from school to University studies can be challenging. This module will introduce you to University life and enable you to acquire the study skills to make a success of your degree. It also orients you to work, volunteering and extra-curricular activities so that you can acquire additional skills and experience while you study.

View Skills for University Studies on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Crisis of the American Idea
(30 CREDITS)

Even before COVID-19, though exacerbated by the pandemic, across a wide spectrum of political opinion one finds a shared conviction that something is amiss in the American project. Some point to Trump's election as evidence that something has gone badly wrong. At the same time, Trump's supporters pointed to an American crisis as their reason for electing him. What they agree on is that there is indeed an American crisis underway. This module takes an extended, interdisciplinary look at The American Idea and its current crisis, particularly in the contexts of pandemic response and the 2020 presidential election.

View Crisis of the American Idea on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and an United States option from list)
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

CS241-5-SP or United States option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Autumn term abroad options
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Autumn term abroad options
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

US Studies option(s) from list or outside option(s)
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

United States option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CS831-6-SP or CS301-6-SP or CS300-6-SP - CAPSTONE
(15 CREDITS)

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Taught through lectures plus classes of about twenty students
  • You take a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week
  • Spend either a term or a full year experiencing the American education system
  • Other teaching methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
  • Other assessment methods will depend on your individual combination of subjects

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£17,700

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, October 23, 2021
  • Saturday, November 13, 2021

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

For information on transferring from another university, applying when you are not at school or college, and applying for readmission, please see How to apply and entry requirements

Applicant Days and interviews

If you are an undergraduate student who has received an offer from us to study with us from October 2021, you will be invited to attend a Virtual Applicant Day so that you can get to know us from the comfort of your own home. Our Virtual Applicant Days will run until June 2021 and give you the chance meet academics online from the department you’ve applied to, and attend live talks and Q&A’s on our Virtual Applicant Day platform.

Some of our courses also require a compulsory interview. If you have applied to one of these courses you will receive an invite to a Zoom interview via email, along with further details about the interview process.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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