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BA History and American Studies

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
American History Long Essay

Unit code AMER20022
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course gives students the opportunity to formulate their own research topic in American History and produce a 6,000-word essay on it.

Where appropriate, students will be encouraged to select topics that involve research in the JRUL's electronic holdings, including primary source bases such as the 'Nineteenth Century American Newspapers' and 'The African American Experience' databases.


  • To enable students to formulate a suitable topic for research in American History based on their own interests;

  • To develop students' abilities to research their chosen topic in order to meet the demands of an extended piece of written work;

  • To encourage students to assess, evaluate and deploy in their own work the available historiography on their chosen topic;

  • To utilize, wherever possible, primary source materials available in Manchester pertinent to their chosen topic;

  • To develop students' writing skills by encouraging them to meet the demands, in terms of form and complexity, of an extended piece of written work, including correct use of scholarly apparatus.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, successful students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Independence in her/his ability to formulate a suitable research topic in American History based on her/his own interests;

  • Resourcefulness - including an ability to use electronic resources - in her/his ability to research that topic;

  • The ability to assimilate and critically deploy the historiographical material on that topic;

  • The formal and intellectual skills requisite to the production of an extended piece of written scholarly work.

Teaching and learning methods

One preliminary briefing; three personal supervision meetings.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate arguments and texts. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Bibliographical essay 15%
Long Essay 85%


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 4
Independent study hours
Independent study 196

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Fearnley Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This unit is only open to students on BA (Hons) History and American Studies

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