Undergraduate Course

BA American Studies (United States) with Film

(Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Now In Clearing
BA American Studies (United States) with Film

Overview

The details
American Studies (United States) with Film (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)
T7W8
October 2021
Full-time
5 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our five-year BA American Studies (United States) with Film (including foundation year and year abroad), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the four-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.

This five-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study, plus a study abroad year or term. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre.

Our multidisciplinary course enables you to assess American contributions to our understanding of political, historical, social and cultural perspectives of the world. You combine studies of the US with a number of options in film studies offered by our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of History, and School of Philosophy and Art History.

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), American studies offers a truly multidisciplinary approach, giving you knowledge of the many ways to understand key areas of 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.

We are ranked Top 20 for Dance, Drama and Cinematics in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.

Why we're great.
  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Guarantee your place on your chosen course if you successfully complete your foundation year at Essex.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond our University campus. In your third year, you spend either one term or one year at one of the American universities with whom we have an exchange agreement, depending on whether you take the four-year variant of this course.

Your fourth year is spent studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three and four-year courses.

We have exchange partners with fifteen excellent academic institutions across the United States, from New Mexico to Massachusetts, including upstate New York, the Deep South, Miami and California.

Studying abroad allows you to explore and become immersed in American culture, 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 have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

In our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre 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 American studies 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.

The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.

Our academic staff in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies specialise in a range of areas including filmmaking, film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of the Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, silent cinema, screenwriting and production.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

Take advantage of our other extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the largest of its kind in Europe
  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
  • Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
  • Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
  • Join Rebel Media and take advantage of the SU's professional standard media suite and broadcasting facilities
  • Attend an exciting programme of events

Your future

As a graduate in American Studies, you’ll have gained a wide-ranging knowledge of many aspects of American life. You’ll acquire essential critical abilities as well as excellent communication skills.

This is excellent preparation for careers in media, education, politics, the Civil Service, international organisations such as UN and NATO or non-governmental organisations, and many other fields. Our recent graduates have gone on to work in various desirable roles including:

  • Account executive for Bluesky PR
  • Business provision manager for BT
  • Events co-ordinator for Age UK

We also nurture the creative talent for tomorrow, developing filmmakers, scholars, and thinkers with a dynamic worldview:

  • Gain hands-on experience of camera work, sound recording, editing, lighting, and scriptwriting
  • Explore the formal aesthetics of film composition and structure in relation to different contexts of production and reception
  • Discover the history and social significance of film as a global medium
  • Understand the links between critical analysis and creative practice
  • Produce both group films and personal projects

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

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

Specific entry requirements for this course in Clearing are not published here but for most of our degree courses you will need to hold a Level 3 qualification. If you are interested in applying and have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2021 entry and find out if you are eligible. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

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, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

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 planned for 2021 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

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government
(30 CREDITS)

How did Plato and Aristotle influence Western political thought? How do you study class or gender today? What impact does globalisation have? Examine the history of social and political theory, critically analysing current issues. Understand key topics in politics and sociology for further study of the social sciences and humanities.

View Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA101-3-FY or IA121-3-FY or IA108-3-FY or IA111-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA101-3-FY or IA121-3-FY or IA108-3-FY or IA111-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

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

Approaches to Film and Media
(30 CREDITS)

How do we analyse moving images? What innovations have transformed the cinema experience? What moments and movements have been key to film history? Study the development of international cinema, looking at all aspects of the form, including analysis of theoretical issues, film language, and a variety of important directors and genres.

View Approaches to Film and Media on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: 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 04: 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 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

(GV163-4-AU and SC164-4-SP) or Film option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: 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 2nd year United States option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

US option(s) from list in different discipline
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

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

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Abroad Modules 60 Credits
(60 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: OPTIONAL

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

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

US option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

LT322-6-PS or Final year film option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CS831-6-FY or CS301-6-FY or (CS315-6-AU and option from list)
(30 CREDITS)

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.

Teaching

  • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
  • A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

Assessment

  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,850

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

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, August 14, 2021
  • Saturday, September 18, 2021
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
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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.

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