BA History and American Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Introduction to American Studies

Course unit fact file
Unit code AMER10501
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


In addition to helping students make transition from studying at school to studying at University, especially in the key area of essay writing, the course will provide students with an introduction to the discipline of American Studies, with a particular emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. The course will focus on a particular theme (e.g. New York) that will vary from year to year. The course will be tied to EAC’s Academic Advisor structure.


  • To help students make the transition from school to university-level study
  • To provide an introduction to the skills of the discipline of American Studies
  • To provide intensive training in writing essays
  • To make students aware of the requirements of referencing and academic honesty
  • To foster an environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning
  • To provide an enhanced academic advisor system to support students throughout their course
  • To provide an introduction to a particular American Studies topic

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will:

  • Possess a broad knowledge of the particular theme
  • Show an understanding of a range of primary and secondary sources relating to the topic
  • Have a good grasp of the history and methods of American Studies
  • Be familiar with the University’s regulations concerning plagiarism

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will:

  • Be on their way to becoming independent learners
  • Understand the different disciplinary approaches that contribute to American Studies, and synthesise different approaches in an interdisciplinary fashion where appropriate.
  • Be able to research and write a University level essay.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will:

  • Be able to use the library effectively, including e-resources
  • Be able to carry out both independent and group-based assignments within the allotted time. 
  • Be able to deliver a presentation.
  • Be able to reference correctly.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Abilities to carry out research, and high-level writing skills
  • Development of verbal skills—delivering presentations.
  • Ability to work independently and in groups.

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.
Group/team working
Students taking this unit will be able to work courteously and constructively as part of a larger group.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
Students on this unit must take responsibility for their learning and are encouraged not only to participate in group discussions but to do so actively and even to lead those discussions.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Oral communication
Students taking this unit will be able to show fluency, clarity and persuasiveness in spoken communication.
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

Method Weight
Other 40%
Written assignment (inc essay) 60%

Essay 2

Feedback methods

Written feedback on all written assignments, including the Blackboard presentation. Additional oral feedback delivered on written assignments in individual tutorials.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joy Michelle Coghlan Unit coordinator

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