BA American Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Long Essay

Course unit fact file
Unit code AMER30002
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course gives students the freedom to formulate their own research topic and produce a 7,000-word essay on it. They are also required to produce an annotated bibliography to assist them in the formulation of a suitably focused research question.


  • To enable students to formulate a suitable topic for research 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 critical material on their chosen topic;

  • To develop students' writing skills by encouraging them to think about the demands, in terms of form and complexity, of an extended piece of written work.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course unit the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • Independence in her/his ability to formulate a suitable research topic 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 critical material on that topic;

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

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%
Essay 85%


Recommended reading

Students are encouraged to begin thinking about a research topic over the summer.  Defining and forming a question, in consultation with a member of the academic staff, will be undertaken before Christmas.  Further details on this will be distributed early in Semester 1.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Project supervision 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 197

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Joy Michelle Coghlan Unit coordinator

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