American Studies 

(2018 Entry)

BA (Hons)

Keele was a pioneer in American Studies in Britain in the 1960s, and this remains one of the leading programmes in the UK devoted to the study of the world’s leading industrial nation. 

Single Honours
Study abroad
Learn a language
International year
3 years/ 4 years with international year

UCAS code: T700

View entry requirements

Course Overview

American Studies

School link:
School of Humanities

From music to McDonald’s, movies to military engagement, the U.S affects the daily lives of people in every corner of the world. If you want to understand current events and culture, you must understand America. Keele is famous for bringing different disciplines and approaches together to create exciting learning opportunities, and American Studies at Keele exemplifies this. You can examine historical, literary, cinematic, political and geographical perspectives on issues such as slavery, crime, power, imperialism, conflict, security and the presidency, and compare the USA with Great Britain. You can also spend a semester studying abroad at a partner university in the USA or Canada, and really get to know America for yourself.

You can choose American Studies by itself, or combine it with subjects including History and English.

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. Not only will you have learned a lot about America and about its international influence, but you’ll also have transferable skills which are of interest to employers in many different fields, including research skills, and oral and written presentation skills. With an American Studies degree from Keele, you might work as a journalist, an academic librarian, a social researcher, a museum conservator, an advertising copywriter or a politician’s assistant.

Indicative modules

First year

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

Second year

  • Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions
  • From Modernity to Counter-Culture: American Literature and Social Criticism in 20th Century
  • The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America
  • The Detective and the American City

Third year

  • Dissertation in American Studies
  • Violence and Power in Civil War America
  • Words and Pictures: the Contemporary American Graphic Novel
  • High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the American Dream

Course structure

Our degree courses are organised into modules. Each module is usually a self-contained unit of study and each is usually assessed separately with the award of credits on the basis of 1 credit = 10 hours of student effort.  An outline of the structure of the programme is provided in the tables below.

There are three types of module delivered as part of this programme. They are:

  • Compulsory modules – a module that you are required to study on this course;
  • Optional modules – these allow you some limited choice of what to study from a list of modules;
  • Elective modules – a free choice of modules that count towards the overall credit requirement but not the number of subject-related credits.

Modules Summary

A summary of the credit requirements per year is as follows, with a minimum of 90 subject credits (compulsory plus optional) required for each year.

 

Year

Compulsory

Optional

Electives

Min

Max

Min

Max

1

75

15

45

0

30

2

60

30

60

0

30

3

30

60

90

0

30

Modules - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

In Year 1 all Single Honours students must take five compulsory modules and a further optional module. In the Autumn semester they take A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America and Starting Out: an Introduction to American Literature. In the Spring semester they take New York, New York: an Introduction to American Literature, The American Past: Explorations in US History and Debates in American Politics.

Compulsory  modules

Credits

Optional Modules

Credits

A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary

America

15

Reading Film

15

Starting Out: An Introduction to

American Literature

15

Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English

and American Literatures

15

New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture

15

Understanding Culture

15

The American Past: Explorations in US History

15

   

Debates in American Politics

15

   

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

In Year 2 all Single Honours students take two core modules and one optional module per semester. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules. Modules are listed in the table below.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional Modules

Credits

History of the US in the Twentieth

Century

15

Globalisation and its Discontents

15

Discovering America: From Empires to

Revolutions

15

Alfred Hitchcock’s America

15

From Modernity to Counterculture:

American Literature and Social Criticism

in the 20th Century

15

The Detective and the American City

15

The New World in Chains: Slavery and

the Bonds of Race in America

15

The Romance of Fiction: History and Society in 19thC American Literature

15

   

U.S. Government and Politics

15

   

Why Policy Changes

15

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

Year 3 (Level 6)

In Year 3 all Single Honours students study the 30-credit American Studies dissertation module in both semesters. Students then choose a further four optional modules from the list below. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Compulsory  module

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in American Studies

30

The US Presidency

15

   

Violence and Power in Antebellum America

15

   

Silence, Strength and Sentiment: Gender and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century American Writing

15

   

The whole United States is southern! The Modern South and America

15

   

Violence and Power in Civil War America

15

   

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British

and American Children’s Literature

15

   

Film Noir: The Dark Side of America

15

   

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary

American Graphic Novel

15

   

“Eyes on the Prize” The Struggle for

Civil Rights in America

15

   

High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the

American Dream

15

 

Students may choose to study elective modules which are offered as part of other programmes in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and across the University. These include:

  • Modules in other subjects closely related to American Studies such as English Literature, Film Studies, History, or Politics.
  • Modules in other subjects in which they may have a particular interest such as Criminology or International Relations.
  • Modules designed to help students for whom it is not their first language to improve their use of English for Academic Purposes.
  • Modern foreign languages modules at different levels in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese (Mandarin).
  • Free standing modules related to the development of graduate attributes, student volunteering, and studying abroad as part of the University’s exchange programme.

For further information on the content of modules currently offered please visit: www.keele.ac.uk/recordsandexams/az