American Studies Degree
American Studies is not a school subject and therefore doesn’t spring quickly to mind for the majority of prospective students faced with a blank UCAS form.
If, however, you are studying, or interested in, one or more of the following subjects, it could be the degree for you: Sociology, History, Politics, English Literature, Geography and Economics. For some courses, especially those with a high Popular Culture content, Media Studies could be useful too.
American Studies Degree
Because of its interdisciplinarity American Studies is also attractive to students who have done Access courses, GNVQs and other, often broader based, alternatives to A-levels.
What will I study?
American Studies is an exciting option for students wishing to explore the life, culture and society of the world’s pre-eminent nation.
The United States has such a large influence on politics and culture world-wide that the study of the social structure and the ideals that created it provides a valuable insight into many other communities.
Most students who do American Studies at University find it to be intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun. The knowledge and skills they acquire help them to find jobs in a broad range of interesting careers, in the UK, the US and elsewhere.
Can I go to America?
Many American Studies programmes offer a period of time abroad at a university in the United States, selecting subjects to study in accordance with student interests and the requirements of their UK institution.
This type of exchange is a great adventure and offers intellectual and cultural advantages, students study the United States while experiencing its culture directly.
On some courses this study period is assessed and your grades in America will count towards your degree. Sometimes this visit affects the length of the degree, so at some Universities a BA (Hons) in American Studies may take 4 years rather than the usual 3.
Is it OK to take a Gap Year before I start?
The majority of American Studies Departments are happy, for their students to take a year out. Most would actively encourage students with exciting gap year plans, like travelling, to do that before embarking on their degree.
It’s also possible for students to find interesting vacation jobs in the United States if they wish (e.g. Camp America).
What happens after a Degree in American Studies?
Students who undertake American Studies degrees have a wide range of career options. Some go onto further study either here or in the US, while many go into law, journalism, retailing, the civil service, and various aspects of the media.
While there is no single set curriculum, American Studies encourages students to synthesise, analyse, frame arguments, apply data to complex problems, and work in groups.
Employers find such skills useful and often welcome the breadth of educational experience gained by American Studies students.