American Studies and English Literature 

(2018 Entry)

BA (Hons)

American Studies enables you to study the history and literature of the United States. You can also take modules in American politics.

Combined Honours

Combined Honours degrees allow you to study two different subjects in one degree. Find out more about Combined Honours degrees.


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

UCAS code: QT37

View entry requirements

Course Overview

American Studies and English Literature

School link:
School of Humanities

Alongside studying the culture and society of the US, this programme enables you to study another national culture – that of Great Britain – through literature (and also film and television). Our relationship with our transatlantic ally is sometimes referred to as the ‘special relationship’, though it is also said (in a phrase attributed to Wilde, Shaw and Churchill) that we are ‘two nations divided by a common language’. So what are the connections – and the differences – between the two cultures?

What literary traditions do they share and in what way might American literature (the US itself, even) be said to be ‘exceptional’ or distinctive? How have the two nations developed historically and what are their respective attitudes to, for example, race, class and sexuality?

These are some of the questions that you will be encouraged to ask in a range of modules on this exciting and distinctive degree programme. We offer options in Film Studies and Creative Writing. Our programme has high rates of student satisfaction and our staff are experts in their respective fields. We provide high levels of academic and pastoral support.

What will this mean for my future?

You will graduate from this programme with a wide range of skills in research and communication and excellent opportunities. You will be a well-informed critical thinker with transferable skills and a knowledge of history and contemporary culture. Keele enjoys high rates of graduate employment and students on this programme have gone on to careers in teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, law and the arts. You could also go into marketing, research, broadcasting and publishing.

Indicative modules

First 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
  • Dissertation in English Literature
  • Sex, Scandal and Society: Eighteenth-Century Writing
  • Contemporary British Fiction
  • Post-colonial and World Literature in English Writingscapes

Second year 

 

  • History of the US in the 20th Century
  • Romanticisms
  • From Modernity to Counter-culture
  • The Detective and the American City
  • The Renaissance
  • Post-War British Fiction

 

Third year 

  • Dissertation in American Studies
  • Dissertation in English Literature
  • Film Noir
  • Shakespeare on Film
  • British and American
  • Children’s Literature
  • The Struggle for Civil Rights in America
  • The US Presidency
  • Writingscapes

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

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 - Year One

Year 1 (Level 4)

American Studies Year 1 (Level 4)

In Year 1 all Combined Honours students must take one compulsory core module in each semester. In addition they must choose an optional module from the list below. They then select further modules which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

A Beginner’s Guide to Contemporary America

15

Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature

15

New York, New York: An Introduction to American Culture

15

Transatlantic Gothic: Studies in 19C English & American Literatures

15

   

The American Past: Explorations in US History

15

   

Debates in American Politics

15

 

 

English Literature Year 1 (Level 4)

In Year 1 (Level 4), Combined Honours students take one compulsory module in each semester, plus one optional module, giving a minimum total of 45 credits in English modules. Students can choose to take further modules, which can but need not include English Literature optional modules.

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Reading Literature

15

Telling Tales

15

Composition

15

Starting Out: An Introduction to American Literature

15

   

New York, New York

15

   

Poetry through Practice

15

   

Playing Parts

15

   

Fiction through Practice

15

   

Transatlantic Gothic

15

 

 

 

Modules - Year Two

Year 2 (Level 5)

American Studies Year 2 (Level 5)

In Year 2 Combined Honours students choose three optional modules from the range of American Studies offerings. They must choose two optional modules from group A and at least a further one module from anywhere within groups A or B. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Optional modules group A

Credits

Optional modules group B

Credits

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

15

Teenage Dreams; Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Theory

15

History of the US in the Twentieth Century

15

Globalisation and its Discontents

15

Discovering America: From Empires to Revolutions

15

US Government and Politics

15

From Modernity to Counterculture: American Literature & Social Criticism in 20th Century

15

Environmental Politics and Policy

15

The New World in Chains: Slavery and the Bonds of Race in America

15

Why Policy Changes

15

Alfred Hitchcock’s America

15

   

The Detective and the American City

15

   

 

English Literature Year 2 (Level 5)

In Year 2 (Level 5), Combined Honours students take a minimum of 45 credits in English Literature approved optional modules. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include English Literature optional modules.

Optional modules

Credits

Romanticisms, 1780-1830

15

Writing Genre and Mode

15

Victorian Performances

15

Twentieth-Century British Fiction and Poetry

15

Revolution and Restoration

15

Medieval Literature

15

The Renaissance: Shakespeare and Beyond

15

Creative Writing: Poetry and Prose

15

 

Modules - Year Three

Year 3 (Level 6)

American Studies Year 3 (Level 6)

In Year 3, Combined Honours American Studies students may take a two-semester double-weighted ISP (worth 30 credits) and one optional module or they may take three optional modules (if taking an ISP in their other Principal subject). Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include American Studies optional modules.

Optional modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in American Studies

30

The US Presidency

15

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British

and American Children’s Literature

15

Violence and Power in Antebellum America

15

Film Noir: The Dark Side of America

15

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

15

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary

American Graphic Novel

15

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

15

“Eyes on the Prize”: The Struggle for Civil Rights in America

15

   

High Culture: Drink, Drugs and the

American Dream

15

   

Violence and Power in Civil War America

15

   

 

English Literature Year 3 (Level 6)

In Year 3 (Level 6), students take either the English Literature Dissertation module, Creative Writing portfolio (or the dissertation module in their other subject), studied in both semesters and worth 30 credits. Students can choose further modules, which can but need not include English Literature optional modules.

Optional  modules

Credits

Optional  modules

Credits

Dissertation in English Literature (ISP)

30

Film Noir

15

Creative Writing Portfolio (ISP)

30

Freedom and Death

15

Literature and Society

15

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British and American Children’s Fiction

15

Postcolonial and World Literature in English

15

Shakespearean Stages

15

Contemporary British Fiction

15

Writing at the Borders

15

Shakespeare on Film: Adaptation and Appropriation

15

 Modernist Manifestos and Magazines

15

Sex, Scandal and Society: Eighteenth- Century Writing

15

High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream

15

The Alcohol Question

15

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary American Graphic Novel

15

Writingscapes

15

That womb where you imprison’d were: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Maternity in the Early Modern Period

15

Gender and Power in Restoration Literature

15

   

Postmodernism: Fiction, Film and Theory

15

   

The Canadian Metropolis

15

   

Modernist Manifestos and Magazines

15

   

 

 

 

Modules - Year Four

If you choose to specialise in American Studies in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory module

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in American Studies

30

The US Presidency

15

Optional modules

 

Violence and Power in Antebellum America

15

Wild Woods and Wide Worlds: British

and American Children’s Literature

15

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

15

Film Noir: The Dark Side of America

15

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

15

Words and Pictures: The Contemporary

American Graphic Novel

15

Violence and Power in Civil War America

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.

 

If you choose to specialise in English Literature in your final year you will study the following modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits

Optional modules

Credits

Dissertation in English Literature

30

Creative Writing Portfolio

30

Literature and Society

15

Film Noir

15

   

Wild Woods and Wide Words: British and American Children’s Fiction

15

Optional modules

Credits

Words and Pictures

15

Lyric Poetry Writing at the Borders

15

The Canadian Metropolis

15

Gender and Power in Restoration Literature

15

High Culture: Drink, Drugs, and the American Dream

15

Postcolonial and World Literature in English

15

   

Contemporary British Fiction

15

Writingscapes

15

That womb where you imprison’d were: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Maternity in the Early Modern Period

15

   

Shakespeare on Film: Adaptation and Appropriation

15

   

The Alcohol Question

15

   

Shakespearean Stages

15

   

Sex, Scandal and Society: Eighteenth- Century Writing

15

   

Modernist Manifestos and Magazines

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 English Literature such as American Studies, Film Studies or History.
  • Modules in other subjects in which they may have a particular interest such as Media, Culture and Creative Practice.
  • 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