American Studies (2016 Entry)

Course type: Single Honours, Dual Honours, Major.
Entry requirements: Read more about entry requirements
Typical offer:BBB or ABC
Tuition fees: Read more about tuition fees
Duration and mode of study: 3 years, Full time
Location of study:Keele University campus
Subject Area: American Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Course Overview

Keele was a pioneer in American Studies in Britain in the 1960s, and this remains one of the leading programmes in the UK.

America is the largest industrial nation, and a superpower. From music to McDonald’s, movies to military engagement, it impacts on the daily lives of people in every corner of the world. If you want to understand current events and culture, you must understand historical and contemporary America. American Studies at Keele examines historical, literary, cinematic, political and geographical perspectives on issues such as slavery, crime, power, imperialism, conflict, security and the presidency, and compares the USA with Great Britain. You could choose to spend a year studying abroad at a partner university in the USA or Canada.

Single Honours

Below is an indicative range of modules you could study as part of single honours American Studies.

First year

Core modules: 

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America
  • Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature
  • New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture 

Optional core modules:

  • The American Past: Explorations in US History
  • Debates in American Politics

Elective modules:

  • Reading Film
  • Historical Research and Writing Media in America
  • Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English and American Literatures
  • Film Texts and Contexts 

Second year

Optional core modules:

  • The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19thC American Literature
  • History of the US in the Twentieth Century
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s America
  • The Detective and the American City

Elective modules:

  • Aspects of the Novel
  • Politics and Cinema
  • Global International Organisation
  • US Government and Politics
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Twentieth Century Novels into Films
  • Power in the Modern World
  • Writing for the Screen
  • Peace, Conflict and Security
  • Comparing the U.S. and Great Britain
  • Imperialism and Empire
  • Sources and Debates Why
  • Policy Changes
  • Analysing Culture

Third year

Core modules:

  • Dissertation in American Studies

Optional core modules: 

  • Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British and American Children’s Literature
  • Film Noir: The Dark Side of America
  • Words and Pictures: The Contemporary American Graphic Novel
  • "Eyes on the Prize": The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream
  • Contemporary American Fiction

Elective modules: 

  • Postcolonial and World Literature in English
  • Representing the Self in British and American TV
  • The US Presidency
  • Environmental Politics in the US
  • The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19thC American Literature
  • History of the US in the Twentieth Century
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s America
  • The Detective and the American City

Dual Honours

Below is an indicative range of modules you could study as part of dual honours American Studies.

First year

Core modules: 

  • New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America

Elective modules: 

  • Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature
  • Reading Film
  • Historical Research and Writing Media in America
  • The American Past: Explorations in US History
  • Debates in American Politics
  • Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English and American Literatures
  • Film Texts and Contexts 

Second year

Optional core modules:

  • The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19thC American Literature
  • History of the US in the Twentieth Century
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s America
  • The Detective and the American City

Elective modules:

  • Aspects of the Novel
  • Politics and Cinema
  • Global International Organisation
  • US Government and Politics
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Twentieth Century Novels into Films
  • Power in the Modern World
  • Writing for the Screen
  • Peace, Conflict and Security
  • Comparing the U.S. and Great Britain
  • Imperialism and Empire
  • Sources and Debates Why
  • Policy Changes
  • Analysing Culture

Third year

Core modules:

  • Dissertation in American Studies 

Optional core modules: 

  • Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British and American Children’s Literature
  • Film Noir: The Dark Side of America
  • Words and Pictures: The Contemporary American Graphic Novel
  • "Eyes on the Prize": The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream
  • Contemporary American Fiction

Elective modules:

  • Postcolonial and World Literature in English
  • Representing the Self in British and American TV
  • The US Presidency
  • Environmental Politics in the US

Major Minor

Below is an indicative range of modules you could study as part of major minor honours American Studies.

First year

Core modules: 

  • New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America

Elective modules: 

  • Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature
  • Reading Film
  • Historical Research and Writing Media in America
  • The American Past: Explorations in US History
  • Debates in American Politics
  • Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English and American Literatures
  • Film Texts and Contexts 

Second year

Optional core modules:

  • The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19thC American Literature
  • History of the US in the Twentieth Century
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s America
  • The Detective and the American City

Elective modules:

  • Aspects of the Novel
  • Politics and Cinema
  • Global International Organisation
  • US Government and Politics
  • Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Twentieth Century Novels into Films
  • Power in the Modern World
  • Writing for the Screen
  • Peace, Conflict and Security
  • Comparing the U.S. and Great Britain
  • Imperialism and Empire
  • Sources and Debates Why
  • Policy Changes
  • Analysing Culture

Third year

Core modules:

  • Dissertation in American Studies 

Optional core modules: 

  • Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British and American Children’s Literature
  • Film Noir: The Dark Side of America
  • Words and Pictures: The Contemporary American Graphic Novel
  • "Eyes on the Prize": The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream
  • Contemporary American Fiction

Elective modules: 

  • Postcolonial and World Literature in English
  • Representing the Self in British and American TV
  • The US Presidency
  • Environmental Politics in the US

Course workload

This contact time measure is intended to provide you with an indication of the type of activity you are likely to undertake during your programme. The data is compiled based on module choices and learning patterns of students on similar programmes in previous years. Every effort is made to ensure this data is a realistic representation of what you are likely to experience, but changes to programmes, teaching methods and assessment methods mean this data is representative and not specific.

Undergraduate courses at Keele contain an element of module choice; therefore, you will experience a different mix of contact time and assessment types dependent upon your own individual choice of modules. The figures below are an example of activities that you may expect on your chosen course by year/stage of study. Contact time includes scheduled activities such as: lecture, seminar, tutorial, project supervision, demonstration, practical classes and labs, supervised time in labs/workshop, fieldwork and external visits. The figures are based on 1,200 hours of student effort each year for full-time students. 

First year

  • Scheduled learning and teaching activities – 20%
  • Guided independent study – 80%

Second year

  • Scheduled learning and teaching activities – 18%
  • Guided independent study – 57%
  • Placements - 25%

 Third year

  • Scheduled learning and teaching activities – 19%
  • Guided independent study – 81%

Skills and Careers

What will this mean for my future?

This subject offers a broad perspective on the contemporary world and you will graduate as a well-informed critical thinker. You’ll have a wide range of subject-specific skills and understanding, but you’ll also have transferable skills which are of interest to employers in many different fields. You might work as a journalist, an academic librarian, a social researcher, a museum conservator, an advertising copywriter or a politician’s assistant, for example.

Visit our Careers pages (new window)

Codes and Combinations

Codes and Combinations

Students are candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) (BA Hons) if their two Principal courses are in humanities and/or social science subjects.
All students who study a science subject are candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science (with Honours) (BSc Hons).

can be combined with:

Single Honours, Major and Foundation course information

American Studies with Foundation Year: TV70 View KIS Stats

Full Unistats data is available at unistats.direct.gov.uk (opens new window)

Study abroad

Students on the American Studies Programme have the potential opportunity to spend a semester abroad in their second year studying at one of Keele’s international partner universities. Exactly which countries are available depends on the student’s choice of degree subjects. An indicative list of countries is on the website Partner Universities however this does not guarantee the availability of study in a specific country as this is subject to the university’s application process for studying abroad.

No additional tuition fees are payable for studying abroad but students do have to bear the costs of travelling to and from their destination university, accommodation, food and personal costs. Depending on the destination they are studying at additional costs may include visas, study permits, residence permits, and compulsory health checks. Students should expect the total costs of studying abroad to be greater than if they study in the UK, information is made available from the Global Education Team throughout the process, as costs will vary depending on destination.

Find out more about the course

Our Course Information Documents (CIDs) are designed to give you all of the details you need to make an informed decision about what and where to study.

Single Honours Course Information Document (PDF) Dual Honours and Major Minor Course Information Document (PDF)

2017 Entry details

Our full course information for 2017 entry is yet to be finalised. We may make changes to our course content from year to year in order to keep pace with current research and innovation.

Here is a list of indicative modules for 2017 entry:

First year

  • A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America
  • Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature 
  • New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture
  • The American Past: Explorations in US History 
  • Debates in American Politics

Second year

  • The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19th Century American Literature
  • History of the US in the 20th Century
  • Burning Crosses: Religion and American Culture 
  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions 
  • From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s America 
  • The Detective and the American City

Third year

  • Dissertation in American Studies
  • Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British and American Children’s Literature 
  • Film Noir: The Dark Side of America
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream 
  • Contemporary American Fiction

It is important that you read the information at Terms and Conditions which explains how and why we might need to make changes to the educational services that we provide.

Natalie Isley

Natalie Isley

"Being at Keele truly stays with you forever"

American Studies student (2015)

Emily Walker

Emily Walker

"The friendly staff always have an open door and we're always there to help and encourage my love for American history."

American Studies (2015)

Alison Leese

Alison Leese

"As a mature student going into university it can be quite daunting, however the staff and the students within this department have all been supportive, friendly and approachable."

American Studies student (2012)

Emma Hagger

Emma Hagger

"The course is varied and interesting, the lecturers know so much about their subjects and are always willing to impart this to their students!"

American Studies student (2010)

Cat Burton-Cartledge

Cat Burton-Cartledge

"Despite being a mature student living off campus, I always felt involved in student life."

American Studies student (2010)