BA single honours American Studies with Foundation Years 2018/19

Year of entry


Clearing places available
A number of our degrees are also offered with an additional foundation year (Year 0). Whether you are a school-leaver or someone considering returning to study but don’t have the entry requirements for your chosen subject, a foundation year course may be just what you’re looking for.


A foundation year is the first year of a four year programme which:

  • provides an introduction not only to study at University but also to your chosen subject
  • offers you a highly supportive environment where you can develop the self-confidence, knowledge, skills and understanding for further study.

Following the Foundation Year you will go on to explore areas including:

  • American film, journalism, literature, and music
  • histories of race, colonialism and oppression
  • the frontier at home and abroad in the context of politics and foreign relations
  • issues of ethnicity, gender, and class

American Studies is a fascinating subject because the United States is one of the most diverse places in the world, with a rich history, a vibrant political culture, world-changing literature and film, and global influence. American Studies is multi-disciplinary, and at Canterbury Christ Church University we have three strands to our course: we study the US through history, literature and media, and foreign policy and politics.

We are a small and friendly team who are dedicated to ensuring the best experience for students. 92% of our American Studies students were satisfied with the academic support on their course.

National Student Survey, 2017

American Studies students also have several opportunities to study in North America, which enables them to develop self-confidence, independence, and employability. You will have the opportunity to take part in an annual field trip to a major US city such as New York, or to apply to spend a semester or full year studying at a university in North America.

The American Studies team are all professional academics with research publications on topics as varied as Native American history, the CIA, President Barack Obama, early American newspaper culture, and contemporary literature.This research experience feeds directly into our teaching, especially in year three where modules are shaped according to the research specialism of the tutors running them.

"I picked American Studies at Christ Church for the variety of classes that they offered. There are so many interesting things that you have the chance to learn about during your time at university. All of the staff are actively researching meaning their sessions are extremely engaging and they genuinely care about you as the student. I absolutely loved my time on the course and would highly recommend it to anyone."

Kieran Thomsett

Students on this programme are also eligible to apply to study for a year in North America as part of their degree.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

more info

The American Studies course offers a variety of modules in three strands: history, literature and media, and foreign policy and politics. Year one consists of introductory modules for which you need no previous knowledge of the USA, and thus provides the building blocks for future study. In years two and three, you can focus on a particular strand or mix and match modules from all strands if you prefer.

We are proud to offer an exciting range of optional modules each year, all of which are related to, and informed by, the research that we are doing. The nature and content of these modules will vary, as we seek to provide you with modules that are in line with our current research interests and fresh with the most up-to date thinking on a particular topic. Examples of subjects covered in option modules have ranged from American Indian history and American modernism to the Black Freedom Movement and US foreign policy. You will also have the opportunity to develop your own research interests in American Studies by taking on an Extended Essay (year two) and a Dissertation (year three). American Studies is assessed entirely by coursework.

The American Studies team are all professional academics with research publications on topics as varied as Native American history, the CIA, President Barack Obama, early American newspaper culture, and contemporary literature.

Visit the USA

Every year, we run an optional trip to a North American city, such as New York, San Francisco, or Chicago, accompanied by staff from the American Studies Team. This is a great opportunity for those who have not been to the United States before to get a taste of the country they are studying, and to have a great time exploring the city, both as part of scheduled tours and visits arranged by the American Studies team, and independently. The trip is open to all students in American Studies, so you could go all three years if you wanted to.

Foundation Year Zero

Students on all of the  Faculty of Arts and Humanities Foundation Year courses will undertake 80 credits of generic core modules introducing them to study in the arts and humanities and university level skills, namely:

  • Academic Writing and Study Skills
  • Personal and Career Development
  • Understanding Arts and Humanities
  • Being Human: an Introduction to the Humanities

In addition you will be offered two 20 credit optional modules, one to be studied in each semester. The full list of optional modules is as follows and you will be placed onto the modules which most effectively complement your degree pathway choice and, where applicable, your study interests:

  • Dangerous Ideas
  • Foundation English Language and Communication
  • Foundation English Literature
  • Foundation Media and Communications
  • Analysing British Cinema
  • Historical Foundations
  • America and the World (subject to validation)
  • Music and Performing Arts in Context
  • The Languages and Theory of Music

Core modules

Year 1

A Story of American Freedom? A History of the United States from Pre-Contact to the Present

Is American history a story about freedom? In this module, which explores domestic US history from indigenous Native Americans settlements to the present, you will be able to consider this question, as well as to gain a broad base of knowledge upon which to build on in years two and three, and a range of essential study skills. The module is structured chronologically, but threaded through the narrative is the theme of freedom in American history and the significant conflicts over its changing meanings, its limits, and its accessibility to various social and economic groups throughout American history. You will use a range of sources to explore these themes, including traditional textual sources but also art, literature, and other cultural documents. Single honours students take this core module for 40 credits, and combined honours students can choose whether to take this module for 20 or 40 credits.

Divided by A Common Language: Culture and Society in Britain and the USA

This module will give you the opportunity to learn alongside North American students and to gain insight into the similarities and differences in the culture and society of Britain and the USA. The module is structured thematically, covering major aspects of British and American society, history, politics and culture, and encouraging discussion and debate amongst students from both sides of the Atlantic. At the end of the module, you will complete a project that will ask you to reflect upon whether you think Britain and the USA are ‘divided by a common language. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.

Year 2

Extended Essay

This module will enable you to develop skills for independent learning and individual research so that you can undertake a substantial piece of written work on a subject related to one of your other year two modules. You will be able to select your own topic in consultation with tutors, and to work closely with a supervisor expert in that area. This module therefore provides an essential foundation for the dissertation in year three. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.

Year 3

American Studies in the 21 st Century

This module is designed to allow you to reflect upon the skills and knowledge that you have built up over your degree, and to look forward to your future, whether your plans include further study or employment. We will use the critical and analytical skills you have gained in year one and two to discuss contemporary issues in the United States (such as elections, social movements, literature and film, or Supreme Court decisions), and you will also be able to take part in workshops designed around employability and postgraduate opportunities. This module is core for single honours students, but optional for combined honours students.


As the culmination of your degree, the dissertation will enable you to build upon skills gained in the extended essay and will equip you with the practical skills and research methodology to undertake research on a topic of your choice in American Studies. Although the dissertation by nature is centred on independent learning, you will work with a supervisor with the expertise to guide you through your project. Single Honours students take this core module for 40 credits, but it is optional for combined honours students.

Likely optional modules

We continually review and where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. We will inform applicants of any changes to the course structure before enrolment.

We are proud to offer an exciting range of optional modules each year, all of which are related to, and informed by, the research that we are doing. The nature and content of these modules will vary, as we seek to provide you with modules that are in line with our current research interests, and fresh with the most up-to-date thinking on a particular topic. As we value the student perspective, we also update our modules based on the feedback students give us, as we try to ensure that you will have a great learning experience no matter which of our modules you choose.

We will always have at least one optional module available in year two and year three in each of our strands (History, Literature and Media, and Politics and Foreign Policy), and students taking American Studies may take modules in year two and year three in other courses, for example in History, English Literature, or Film, Radio, and Television Studies. Examples of the modules available in 2015-16 give an indication of the range and types of modules we usually offer.

Applied Humanities Employability in Practice (20 credits)

This module aims to complement the theoretical elements of a humanities degree by taking the skills-set that student acquire as undergraduates and helping them see ways and means to render it relevant to the world of work. In contrast to academic class-based learning, the focus here is on exciting and useful practical work-based experience. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of a work environment either through a 40 hour micro-placement; or by bringing students into contact with professionals who will help set out a project/problem based work opportunity; or through a relevant case study. This could be work shadowing, a reflective diary, a portfolio, or a research report.

More details can be found on this page. 

Modules offered in 2015-16:

Year 1:

Rise of the American Colossus: US Foreign Policy, 1898 to the Present
The Invention of America: Texts and Contexts from 1607 to the Present
American Cinema Since 1950
American Political Culture and the American Dream

Year 2:

History strand:

Removal to Red Power: American Indian History 1830s-1950s
Atlantic Americas: Commerce, Domination, and Resistance in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800

Literature and Media strand:

American Modernism 1880-1960
American Independent Cinema
Banned Books: A Literary History of the United States
The Beatles: Cultural Context and Critical Understanding

Politics and Foreign Policy strand:

Uneasy Neighbours: US Foreign Policy in Latin America
Political Concepts in 21st Century America

Year 3:

History strand:

The Modern Black Freedom Movement
Contemporary Native America: Resurgence and Resistance since 1960
Medium and Message: American News and Media

Literature and Media strand:

Contemporary American Literature and Culture
New Voices in Ethnic American Literatures
The Cinematic City
Blood, Terror and Belonging: Culture at American Borders

Politics and Foreign Policy strand:

Instrument of Power: The CIA and US Foreign Policy 1947 to the Present
Politics, Identity, and US Foreign Policy

Employers are looking for a variety of skills and attributes from graduates such as versatility, critical thinking and the ability to work independently and as part of a team. All of these are developed in our American Studies course. Recent graduates have gone on to further study, and employment in social work, the media, tourism, management, and teaching, but there are few limits to what you can do with an American Studies degree. If you are considering a career in primary or secondary teaching you may wish to combine American Studies with a subject taught in schools such as History or English.


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  UK / EU Overseas
Full-time - Foundation Year 0 £6,165 N/A
Full-time - years 1-3 * £9,250 £11,500
Full-time - year abroad £1,385 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

* The tuition fee of £9,250 relates to 2018/19 only. Please read the 2018/19 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2018/19 tuition fees and mid-course year on year fee increases.

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

Course specific costs

Travel and Accommodation costs for Study Year in North America Costs vary depending on the partner institution. Students must be able to demonstrate that they are able to support themselves financially in order to be eligible for a student visa. For further details of partner institution locations and approximate costs download this document.

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Composition of the course

As it is a multi-disciplinary course, American Studies is taught in a variety of ways. Modules are usually delivered through a variety of lectures, seminars, workshops, and screenings, depending on what best suits a particular topic or discipline. Module tutors also hold regular office hours, when you can drop by informally to discuss the module or your assignments, and all staff are also available by appointment for longer discussions, such as to give you detailed feedback on your coursework.

The amount of time you spend in class will vary depending on which modules you choose (for example, a module that includes film screenings may result in more class time), but will likely be between six and twelve hours a week. You will be expected to spend the rest of the week in self-study, both completing assignments and preparing for your workshops and seminars. Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities that you will be expected to complete before class, so we want to make sure you have enough time to complete this work. For the Extended Essay in year two and the Dissertation in year three, you will conduct independent research under the supervision of a member of the American Studies team, and will be expected to meet with your supervisor on a regular basis.

If you take a module outside of American Studies as part of your degree, the delivery and contact hours will vary in line with the relevant course.

Academic input

The American Studies degree is delivered under the supervision of a team of experienced academics, each an acknowledged expert in their particular field. All current full-time academic staff have doctorates and are research-active. Individual members of the current team have been recognised for their particular professional contributions to the field. We sometimes recruit additional staff to help us teach some of our more popular modules, and involve our postgraduate students in teaching where appropriate. At present, most modules are taught by our core team.

American Studies is assessed entirely by coursework. Different modules will have different types of coursework, depending on what best suits a particular topic or discipline, but most modules will be assessed by a combination of essays, presentations, and shorter portfolio assignments.

However, if you take a module outside of the American Studies course as part of your degree, you will be assessed in line with that course. This means you may have to take exams as well as to complete coursework assignments for any of these modules that you choose.

We encourage students to spend time abroad because we understand the importance of personal and academic growth during your university career. If you already know that you want to spend a year or a semester in the USA or Canada, you can apply through UCAS for that option. If you are unsure, you can apply in year 2 through our internal competition to study at one of our exchange partners in the USA or Canada as part of your degree. Please see this web page for further details.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Need some help?

For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 928000

Fact file

UCAS course code

  • T701 American Studies with Foundation Year

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 4 years full-time


  • September 2018

Entry requirements

  • Candidates should have studied at level 3 and have attained 48 UCAS Tariff points, although those without formal qualifications will be considered.

    You do not need to have significant prior knowledge of Arts and Humanities related subjects but should be motivated to study the subject.



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Last edited: 18/07/2018 10:24:00