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BA American Studies

Year of entry: 2021

Overview

Degree awarded
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Duration
3 years
Typical A-level offer

Grades ABB to include an essay-based subject such as English, History or Politics.

Typical contextual A-level offer (what is this?)
Grades BBB to include an essay-based subject such as English, History or Politics.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer
34 points overall. 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply through UCAS

Course overview

  • Discover the history, politics and popular culture of the United States.
  • Benefit from the heritage and expertise we have developed as the UK's oldest American Studies programme.
  • High-scoring (90%) for student satisfaction in the 2020 National Student Survey, and ranked 3rd in the UK for American Studies (Complete University Guide 2020).

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .

Fees

Fees for entry in 2021 have not yet been set. For entry in 2020 the tuition fees were £9,250 per annum for home/EU students, and are expected to increase slightly for 2021 entry.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
Rebekah Shaw
Email
Website
http://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/american-studies/
School/Faculty overview

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Compare this course

Entry requirements

A-level

Grades ABB to include an essay-based subject such as English, History or Politics. General Studies is welcomed but not normally included as part of the standard offer.

A-level exams should be taken at the same sitting, after no more than two years of study. If you have studied an advanced curriculum, where the examinations are spread over three years, consideration for an offer will be at the discretion of the admissions tutor. We may also require further information, in order to make an informed judgment on your application.

AS-level

AS level results are not considered as part of the standard admissions process at The University of Manchester.

Unit grade information

The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit information where available.  Like all other information provided by applicants this may be taken into consideration when assessing your application.  Unit grades will not normally form part of an offer conditions.

GCSE

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education including acceptable levels of Literacy and Numeracy, equivalent to at least Grade C or 4 in GCSE/iGCSE English Language and Mathematics. GCSE/iGCSE English Literature will not be accepted in lieu of GCSE/iGCSE English Language.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall. 6,5,5 in Higher Level subjects

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Scottish requirements

We normally require grades AABBB in Scottish Highers.  In addition, one Scottish Advanced Higher is normally required at Grade B.  Where a pre-requisite subject is required at A-level, then this Advanced Higher should be in that subject.

English Language and Mathematics not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade Credit level grade 3).

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The University welcomes and recognises the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma/Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and usually requires two A Levels or equivalent to be included within this.

The minimum grade required will normally be the same as the lowest grade listed in the A Level entry requirements.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) you plan to apply to.

European Baccalaureate

The University of Manchester welcomes applicants with the European Baccalaureate. Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications, applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

We normally require 77% to include a mark of at least 8.0 in an essay-based subject such as English, History or Politics.

AQA Baccalaureate

The University recognises the benefits of the AQA Baccalaureate and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills.

In making offers, the University will focus on the three A Levels taken within the AQA Baccalaureate. Students need to check the standard A Level requirements for their chosen course.

The units of broader study, enrichment activities and the Extended Project are considered to be valuable elements of the AQA Baccalaureate and we would therefore strongly encourage students to draw upon these experiences within their personal statement.

Foundation year

The University recognises a number of foundation programmes as suitable for entry to this undergraduate programme:

Applicants completing the INTO Manchester in partnership with The University of Manchester international foundation programme are required to achieve ABB in academic subjects and grade B in the EAP with writing and speaking grade B and listening and reading grade C.

Applicants completing the NCUK International Foundation year are required to achieve ABB in academic subjects and grade B in the EAP with writing and speaking grade B and listening and reading grade C.

Please read this in conjunction with our A-level requirements, noting any pre-requisite subjects.

For all other foundation programmes please see this list of approved UK foundation programmes .

Pearson BTEC qualifications

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: we consider the National Extended Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, Merit, plus one A-level at Grade A in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma: we consider the National Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus one A-level at Grade B in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma: we consider the National Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Foundation Diploma with a Distinction grade, PLUS one A-level at Grade B in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics, PLUS an EPQ or AS at Grade B.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate: we consider the National Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to this course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full National Extended Certificate with a Distinction grade, PLUS two A-levels at Grades BB (one of these A-levels should be in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics).

The University of Manchester welcomes applications from students who have achieved legacy BTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the BTEC Extended Diploma, BTEC Diploma, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and BTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new BTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Diploma (CTEC):  we do not consider the Technical Extended Diploma for entry to this course.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Diploma with grades Distinction, Merit, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level at grade A in an essay-based subject such as English Literature, History or Politics .

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Foundation Diploma (CTEC): we consider the Technical Foundation Diploma for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Foundation Diploma with grades Distinction, Distinction, plus an additional level 3 qualification such as an A Level/A Level at min. Grade B an essay-based subject such as English or History, PLUS an EPQ or AS Level at grade B.

Cambridge Level 3 Technical Extended Certificate (CTEC) : we consider the Technical Extended Certificate for entry, preferably in a subject relevant to the chosen course.  Entry requirements are based on achievement of the full Technical Extended Certificate with grade Distinction, plus two additional Level 3 qualifications such as A Levels at grades BB, one of which must be in an essay-based subject such as English or History.

The University of Manchester will consider applications from students who have achieved legacy CTEC qualifications (pre-2016) such as the CTEC Extended Diploma, CTEC Diploma, CTEC Subsidiary Diploma, and CTEC Certificate.  The grades required are likely to be the same or vary similar to the new CTEC qualifications (first teaching 2016, awarded 2018). Please contact the Academic School for clarification.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.

Access to HE Diploma

We require a QAA-recognised Access to HE Diploma (a minimum of 60 credits overall with at least 45 at Level 3), with merit or distinction in a subject area relevant to the chosen course.

The specific course requirements are a minimum of 30 credits with a Distinction grade, plus 15 credits with a Merit grade, all in a Humanities-related subject. Where possible, 15 of the Distinction credits should be in the pre-requisite subject required for A-levels.

Applicants to Languages programmes are also required to have a minimum of GCSE grade B/6 in a modern language or in English Language.

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects overall is taken.

Candidates taking Pre-U principal subjects in conjunction with A levels are expected to achieve a combination of D3, M2, M2 in the Pre-U and ABB at A level in three distinct subjects.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Academic School(s) you plan to apply to.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. Although the Extended Project will not be included in the conditions of your offer, we strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview. A number of our academic Schools may also choose to take your performance in the EPQ into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Core Maths

The University recognises the value of Level 3 Core Mathematics qualifications. Core Mathematics is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a result we will not normally include it in the conditions of any offer we make. However, if a student chooses to undertake a core mathematics qualification this may be taken into account when we consider a student's application, particularly for courses with a distinct mathematical or statistical element that does not require A Level Mathematics. Academic Schools may also choose to take a student's performance in Core Mathematics into account should places be available in August for applicants who narrowly miss the entry grades for their chosen course.

Where a course requires applicants to have at least grade 6/B or higher in GCSE Mathematics we would be likely to consider a pass in Core Mathematics at a minimum grade C or B as an alternative way to fulfil this requirement. Where an A Level in Mathematics is required then Core Mathematics will not be accepted in lieu of an A Level.

A Level and GCSE Mathematics requirements for our courses vary according to subject so we advise students to contact the academic School, who will clarify whether a student's portfolio of qualifications is acceptable for entry onto the chosen course.

Home-schooled applicants

If you are a student who has followed a non-standard educational route, e.g. you have been educated at home; your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course for which you are applying. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the specified academic entry requirements of the course. We will also require a reference from somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. If you are a home schooled student and would like further information or advice please contact the academic School for your chosen course who will be able to help you. 

Non-standard educational routes

Mature students are some of our most well-equipped learners, bringing skills and attributes gained from work, family and other life experiences.  Students come from a whole array of backgrounds, study every kind of course, undertake full-time and part-time learning and are motivated by career intentions as well as personal interest.  There is no such thing as a typical mature student at Manchester.  The application process is the same as for other prospective undergraduates.  If you require further clarification about the acceptability of the qualifications you hold please contact the academic School(s) to which you plan to apply.  Further information for mature students can be found here ( http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/mature-students/ )

English language

All applicants to the University (from the UK and Overseas) are required to show evidence of English Language proficiency.  The minimum English Language requirement for this course is either:

  • GCSE/iGCSE English Language grade 4/C, or;
  • IELTS 7.0, or;
  • An acceptable equivalent qualification.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the academic School for clarification.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires that every student from outside the UK and the EU must show evidence of a minimum level of English Language in order to be granted a UK visa (Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This level is often referred to as the 'B2 level'.

Additionally, our individual Schools may ask for specific English Language proficiency levels that are necessary for their academic programmes. In most cases these requirements are likely to be higher than the B2 level. Further information about our English Language policy, including a list of some of the English Language qualifications we accept, can be found  here .

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

Advice to applicants

The University of Manchester's American Studies programme is a competitive subject area, annually receiving around six applications for every place.

How your application is considered

We are looking for applicants who have the predicted A-level grades (or other qualifications) for the relevant degree programme and whose personal statement demonstrates an enthusiasm for the subject.

Interview requirements

We only interview students studying alternative qualifications to the A level syllabus, for example students studying Access courses and students that may have been out of education for some time.

Returning to education

We welcome applications from mature candidates. Where appropriate, mature applicants are called for interview and/or invited to submit written work.  Your qualifications to date will be considered, along with the length of time since you were last studying for a qualification - applicants need to have been in education within the last five years.  If it is any longer than five years since you were last in education we may require you to take an Access Qualification and invite you along for interview.

If you are on an Access course, you will be considered individually and we will ask to see some of your recent written work.

If you have other qualifications (eg Vocational A levels, Open University) you will be considered on an individual basis and you are recommended to contact our Admissions Administrator.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

Overseas applications are welcomed and we will assess whether your qualification is of an equivalent standard for entry to our degree programme.  We do not interview overseas applicants. Applicants who are made an offer may be invited to a visit day, but this is not mandatory.

Deferrals

All Deferred applications are assessed on the same basis as applications for the current year of entry.

We do ask applicants to let us know as early as possible if they are intending to defer.  This helps us to adjust the number of offers we make, in order to achieve the required number of students in a given year.

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

The University will consider applicants who have re-sat their final examinations but we may require further information in order to make an informed academic judgment on your application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Mariana Des Forges

"The opportunity to study abroad was really invaluable. For my job, I sometimes have to throw myself into situations that are unfamiliar to get the best out of a story, often in countries and places I've never been.

"This can be quite daunting, so without the experience of living and studying abroad in America, I think I would have found the nature of this job much more intimidating!"

Mariana Des Forges / Radio Producer/Documentary Maker & 2015 graduate

Our three-year BA American Studies course will give you a grounding in the history, culture and literature of the US, from colonisation through to contemporary times.

At Manchester, we train our students to be attentive to the counter-currents of US history and literature, and our course places a particular emphasis on the themes of race, capitalism, sexuality, the cultures of labour and political protest.

You will master the approaches and tools found in several academic disciplines, including cultural theory, history, visual studies, literature and politics. You will also learn how to analyse and discuss a wide variety of materials.

Years 1 and 2 will give you a solid knowledge of America's political, legal and administrative infrastructure, enabling you to become familiar with concepts such as:

  • mass incarceration
  • inequality
  • racial stratification
  • poverty
  • the logics of policing
  • the changing nature of work and leisure
  • radical organising
  • military power
  • cultural imperialism
  • environmental policies
  • urban politics.

You will also have the option to study abroad for a period in Year 2.

In Year 3, you will be able to choose from one of the richest selections of American Studies units in the country while completing a substantial piece of independent research.

Aims

We aim to:

  • provide a systematic introduction to key aspects of American literature, history, politics and film, exploiting their interdependence and distinctiveness within the discipline of American Studies;
  • encourage independent study, the spirit of enquiry and a commitment to scholarly method appropriate to the field of American Studies;
  • help you develop powers of critical and analytical thinking, the ability to apply these to primary and secondary texts, and written and oral communication skills;
  • give you the opportunity to benefit from an optional period of study abroad at a North American partner university.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Teaching and learning

In Year 1 and 2, you will learn through a combination of lectures and seminars.

Lectures are used to sketch an outline of the major themes and questions, and often to underscore the wider significance certain topics have had in society or among scholars.

Seminars usually involve groups of around 10 to 15 students, enabling you to discuss in detail a body of reading, or to advance inquiry into a specific subject area. This will help you to hone your ability to express and defend your ideas.

To benefit from lectures and seminars you will spend a significant amount of time preparing through reading, taking notes, preparing presentations, and drafting and writing essays. 

On some units, students are also taught in regular tutorials, which may be used to discuss a draft of an essay, or provide feedback on one already submitted.

Several final-year course units are also taught through a weekly workshop model, in which students work collaboratively with each other on a research project, assignment, or presentation.

Your degree is completed by your final-year dissertation, which is undertaken under the supervision of a specialist, and will allow you to carry out independent research and produce an extended piece of writing.

Coursework and assessment

Our assessment methods for this course are designed to improve your ability to work and think independently, to express your ideas with clarity, and to allow you to produce imaginative and incisive interpretations of the subject.

We are keen for our students to learn to write for different audiences. To do this you will produce varied written work, including essays, journals, gobbet responses and your final-year dissertation.

Most units are assessed through a combination of an essays and final examinations. American Studies modules also allow you to undertake more creative forms of assessment, such as producing visual essays, films, historical map-making and short radio-style oral essays. All modules encourage you to work collaboratively with other students.

Course content for year 1

Receive an introduction to the field of American Studies, the development of American literature, and US history from the period of colonisation to the end of the Cold War. You'll also examine more recent social, political and cultural issues, and be able to take an optional course unit of your choice.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
From Reconstruction to Reagan: American History, 1877-1988 AMER10002 20 Mandatory
Introduction to American Literature to 1900 AMER10021 20 Mandatory
American History to 1877: Columbus to Civil War AMER10211 20 Mandatory
Twentieth Century American Literature AMER10312 20 Mandatory
Introduction to American Studies AMER10501 20 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

Receive an advanced training in interdisciplinary ways of working through a module on African-American history and culture, `From Jamestown to James Brown', and select from a range of units covering 20th century US history, literature, film and politics. You can also apply to spend some of your second year abroad in the US.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
From Jamestown to James Brown: African-American History and Culture AMER20141 20 Mandatory
American Cultural Studies AMER20331 20 Mandatory
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
Work and Play in the USA, 1880-2010 AMER20112 20 Optional
Southern Crossings: Race, Gender and Sexuality AMER20412 20 Optional
American Literature and Social Criticism, 1900-Present AMER20481 20 Optional
American Civil War AMER21001 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Complete a Long Essay or dissertation on a subject of your choice and under individual supervision. You'll also select five other course units from a range of specialised modules in American Studies.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Long Essay AMER30002 20 Mandatory
Conspiracy Theories in American Culture AMER30381 20 Optional
Harlem and the State of Urban America AMER30511 20 Optional
The Visual Culture of US Empire AMER30522 20 Optional
Climate Change & Culture Wars AMER30572 20 Optional
Progressivism in the United States AMER30581 20 Optional
Beat Writing AMER30792 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional

Facilities

Students in library
The University of Manchester Library is one of only five National Research Libraries.

The University of Manchester has one of the strongest collections of archival, printed, and digitised materials relating to the Americas anywhere in the UK. Some of these materials, such as those relating to the transatlantic abolitionist movement, civil rights and race relations and 19th century American popular culture are housed at the University's John Rylands Library, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Centre, and the University Special Collections Library.

The University Library, which has benefited from Manchester's long history of scholarship in this field, has one of the largest collections of electronic databases relating to the US, providing access to important newspapers, literary works and movements, entertainment and popular culture journals, as well as unique materials relating to US politics, civil rights and black power groups, and the cultural industries.

Further details on these resources can be found on the subject's Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

Study American Studies at Manchester and you will come away with a range of versatile skills that can be applied to various roles across a host of industries, including writing, publishing, journalism, librarianship, teaching and marketing.

You will have various opportunities to improve your skills and make yourself more employable through your course, as well as through events, schemes and guidance provided by the University Careers Service. These range from work experience and mentoring to networking events and workshops.

If you study abroad as part of your degree, you will be able to broaden your horizons by experiencing new cultures and forming new networks during your period overseas.

Find out more on the careers and employability  page.

The University has its own dedicated  Careers Service  that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of  opportunities to help boost your employability .