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American Studies Degrees in the UK

Become an expert in American history, literature, politics, culture and society

An American studies degree explores the history, development, and diversity of one of the most powerful countries on the planet. Modules cover topics such as music, film, politics, literature, and history, informing you about how America became its current position as a global superpower.

American studies application

In the first year of study, students will be introduced to core aspects of American culture and life and will experience the defining moments of American history. In the second year, students are invited to choose from a wide variety of topics to focus on. Almost all UK universities offer the chance for students to spend a year abroad in America or Canada in their third year of study before completing their final dissertation.

Types of American Studies Course

Bachelor of American Studies

A Bachelor's in American Studies offers a comprehensive exploration of the United States' culture, history, society, and politics. This interdisciplinary course delves into the nation's rich tapestry, examining its literature, art, diversity, and global influence. Students analyse pivotal events, such as the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement, gaining insights into the country's evolution.

By scrutinising themes like immigration, identity, and social justice, learners develop a nuanced understanding of American life. Graduates possess critical thinking, research, and communication skills suited for careers in education, journalism, cultural institutions, or government. An American studies degree fosters an appreciation for the complexities of the American experience while preparing individuals for various professional paths.

  • Course Fees: Around £10,000 to £25,000 per year.
  • Course Duration: 3 years for full-time study.
  • International Entry Requirements:
    • A-Level: Typically AAA to BBB, including relevant subjects like History or English.
    • International Baccalaureate (IB): Around 32-36 points, with Higher Level humanities or social sciences subjects.

Master’s of American Studies

An American Studies master's offers a broad understanding of American society, culture, and politics throughout history and today. It encourages thinking critically, recognising the relationship between societal fairness and academic learning, and actively participating in public activities. You'll explore how people lived, what they believed, and significant events from the past. By studying these areas, you'll learn to think deeply, understand the importance of justice in education, and engage with your community.

  • Course Fees: Averaging between £14,000 to £35,000 per year.
  • Course Duration: Typically 1 to 2 years for full-time study.
  • International Entry Requirements:
    • A-Level: Usually ABB to BBB grades, including relevant subjects like History, English, or Social Sciences.
    • International Baccalaureate (IB): Around 32 to 36 points, with Higher Level subjects in related fields.

PhD in American Studies

A PhD in American Studies offers a comprehensive exploration of North American dynamics and the cross-cultural interplay between North America, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. This transnational perspective is a cornerstone of the department's ethos, guiding research students to envision America within a global framework. 

A PhD delves into various specialised research areas, including African American history, American art, intellectual and political history, labour history, music, literature, and popular culture. Other focal points comprise Asian American studies, civil rights, feminist and gender studies, Indigenous and Latinx culture, memory studies, and US foreign policy. This diverse spectrum empowers researchers to contribute to the broader understanding of America's multifaceted evolution.

American Studies Scholarships

Gordon Studentships - University of Glasgow

The Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies offers partial fees-only postgraduate studentships at the University of Glasgow. These awards, averaging between £500 to £1000, are available for UK and non-UK applicants pursuing a Master's (MLitt) or PhD in American Studies. The scope encompasses American Modern Literature and broadly defined American Studies, including History and English Literature.

American Studies Early Career Visiting Scholarship - Northumbria University

This scholarship offers a £500 honorarium to cover accommodation and travel costs. It's intended for recent PhD recipients (within the last three years) specialising in American culture, history, or literature. The recipient should not yet hold a permanent full-time academic position.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

These scholarships are for students from Commonwealth countries pursuing a master's in the UK. They cover tuition fees, living allowance, airfare, and other expenses.

American Studies Jobs and Careers

American Studies graduates can progress into various industries and sectors, including teaching, journalism, politics, research and marketing.

  • Cultural Curator: Create and manage exhibitions at museums or cultural centres, showcasing American history, art, and heritage.
  • Policy Analyst: Analyse U.S. social and political issues for think tanks, government agencies, or advocacy organisations.
  • Journalist: Report on American culture, politics, or history for newspapers, magazines, TV, or online platforms.
  • Educator: Teach American history, literature, or culture in schools, language institutes, or community centres.
  • International Relations Specialist: This position focuses on U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy, or global relations in governmental or non-governmental roles.
  • Public Relations Specialist: Develop communication strategies for businesses or organisations with insights into American culture.
  • Content Creator: Produce digital content, including articles, videos, or social media related to American topics.
  • Historical Researcher: Conduct research for historical projects, documentaries, or publications.
  • Nonprofit Programme Manager: Drive social change by managing programmes focused on civil rights, community development, or social justice.
  • Travel and Tourism Advisor: Promote American destinations and cultural experiences to tourists, contributing to the tourism industry.

American Studies Salary

Salary outcomes for American studies graduates vary greatly depending on factors such as the specific university, degree level obtained (bachelor's, master's, etc.), individual skills and qualifications, industry demand, location, and economic conditions.

  • Average starting professional salary: £20,000
  • Average starting non-professional salary: £17,000

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016-17.

American Studies UK Entry Requirements 

  • Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: Minimum 32 points.
  • Typical A-levels requirements: ABB including English or history.
  • Typical IELTS requirements: 6.5 overall, with no lower than 6.0 in any one component.

Please note that entry requirements vary for each UK university.

Where can I study American Studies in the UK?

To learn more about the best American studies courses in the UK, find details on the top ranking American Studies universities in the CUG 2024 below:

  1. University College London
  2. University of Manchester
  3. University of Nottingham
  4. University of Sussex
  5. Manchester Metropolitan University
  6. University of East Anglia
  7. University of Hull
  8. Swansea University

Study American Studies in the UK

If you are interested in taking an American Studies course in the UK, arrange your free consultation with SI-UK today. Don't forget the Premium Service will guarantee you at least one offer from a UK university.


Is the UK a good place to study American studies courses?

Yes, the UK is a great place to study American studies. It offers diverse modules, renowned universities, and opportunities to engage with a global perspective on American culture and history.

What are the best courses available in American studies UK?

Some top American Studies courses in the UK include the MLitt in American Modern Literature at the University of Glasgow, the American Studies MA at the University of Nottingham, and the American Studies MA at King's College London.

What is the duration of American studies in the UK?

The duration varies. An undergraduate degree is typically three years, while a master's can range from 1 to 2 years. A PhD in American Studies usually takes around 3 to 4 years.

What are the most popular job positions available in the field of American studies in the UK?

Graduates can pursue careers such as academic researchers, journalists, cultural curators, policy analysts, educators, PR specialists, international relations experts, content creators, historical researchers, and more.

What top organisations hire graduates after an American studies degree in the UK?

Graduates might find opportunities in organisations like museums (British Museum, V&A), media outlets (BBC, The Guardian), think tanks (Chatham House), education institutions, non-profits (Amnesty International), government agencies, and multinational corporations with international relations divisions.

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