What is Joint Honours?
A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.
You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.
If you are fascinated by American culture, history and society, this degree is ideal for you. American Studies is a stimulating, topical and challenging course which prepares you for success in a wide range of careers.
- Explore historical, socio-political and cultural themes, building your awareness of key debates relating to race and ethnicity, identity and power
- Take part of your degree at one of our partner universities in Europe or North America where you can immerse yourself in an exciting new life and enhance your employability
- Examine key aspects of American history, politics, literature, art, film, television and music through exciting modules covering everything from 9/11 to civil rights, Hollywood to hip-hop
- Develop your intellectual flexibility, confidence and critical skills by engaging with a broad range of subjects: this degree is truly interdisciplinary
- Learn from a highly experienced team of engaging and inspiring subject experts who have produced important books in the field
- Broaden your skills and knowledge by combining American Studies with another subject, opening up an even wider range of career paths
- Impress a prospective employer: an American Studies graduate is typically adaptable, insightful and culturally aware, with refined communication and negotiation skills
- This course is ranked in the UK Top 10 for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide Subject Tables.
The political, economic and cultural power of the USA affects us all. This course will give you the fullest possible understanding of the different ways in which the American nation defines and represents itself to the world.
A modern emphasis
Our focus is on the USA from the 19th Century onwards. As you explore cultural, historical and socio-political themes and issues, you will be challenged to think deeply - both within and across disciplines and genres - about America’s pervasiveness and influence. In the early stages of the course, you will receive a good grounding in the subject and then progress to modules on more specific themes. And, as you grow in confidence, there is plenty of opportunity for independent project work.
Expertise and enthusiasm
Our experienced and enthusiastic team are passionate about American Studies and keen to share their knowledge with you. They will encourage you to do your best throughout your studies and adopt a friendly and supportive academic culture where staff are approachable and know your name.
You will be inspired and motivated by our research-active team whose specialist areas span issues such as post-9/11 America and the ‘War on Terror’, and transatlantic popular culture. We have written influential books including: American Cultural Studies, 9/11 and the War on Terror, Issues in Americanisation and Culture, American Youth Cultures, and British Invasion: The Crosscurrents of Musical Influence.
Broaden your perspective
We will foster your awareness of key issues - such as ethnicity, identity, class, gender, representation and power - that are relevant not only to the study of America but also to your own wider experience of life.
A personal approach
Active student participation and a relaxed, inclusive style are hallmarks of American Studies. Special events such as our Thanksgiving celebration create a strong sense of community.
You can choose to spend the second part of your second year in Europe or North America, experiencing a different academic culture, acquiring a new set of skills and deepening your global perspectives. You can study at one of our partner universities including:
- Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
- Eastern Michigan University
- Keene State College, New Hampshire
- Longwood University, Virginia.
Popular Joint Honours combinations
Joint Honours gives you the flexibility to cover two subjects in one degree. Popular combinations with American Studies include:
What you will study
You can study American Studies as either a joint, major or minor subject. This will determine how many modules you’ll study at each stage. Please check your other subject to ensure it is possible to create your chosen combination.
The emphasis throughout the programme is upon interdisciplinary work that encourages you to see the connections and inter-relationships between different disciplines. We draw upon literature, history, politics, the visual arts, music, popular culture, and cultural studies to provide an expansive and stimulating range of ideas for your analysis of America. You will study modules such as:
- Freedom's Conflicts: An Introduction to American History
- Reading American Literature
- The Making of Modern America
- Audible Republic: American Music and Society
- From Civil Rights to Hip Hop: African-American Lives
- The American West
- The Research Project
- United States Foreign Policy
- Work-Based Learning in the Media and Cultural Industries
- American Exchange Modules 1-3
- American Youth Cinema
- 9/11 and the War on Terror
- Contesting Cultures: American Popular Culture in the Contemporary World
- Culture and Counter-Culture
- Independent Study
- New Hollywood and Beyond
- Work-based Learning
- Children of the Revolution: Popular Music in the Long Seventies
Equipped with analytical and critical skills, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of key historical debates, cultural theories, political ideas, and artistic works as these relate to an American context.
You will learn and practise technical skills, honing your abilities in research, writing and argumentation. This will be achieved through lectures, seminars, individual and group presentations, workshops, screenings and guest lectures. Study visits will be an important part of your learning experience: just one recent example was a tour of the Transmitting Warhol exhibition at Tate Liverpool.
Assessment is 100% on coursework, incorporating different tasks and modes such as essays of varied length, scale and scope; document analyses; book, film and music reviews; project and dissertation work; individual and group oral presentations; and seminar participation.
Supporting you all the way
We pride ourselves on being approachable and supportive. You'll have a personal tutor to help and advise you throughout your degree, providing an exceptional level of support. Workshops on issues such as writing and study skills, preparatory sessions for project-based study, and employability events will also assist your progress.
Who you will meet
American Studies at Derby is taught by a highly qualified and experienced team of lecturers. They are committed to the subject as an interdisciplinary exploration of American culture in its broadest sense, but all have individual areas of expertise, research and publication.
Simon Philo - Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader. His research interests include American rock music and art in the 1960s, the cultural Vietnam War, and American TV. Simon has published chapters and journal articles on The Simpsons, MTV in Europe, US TV teen dramas, Vietnam War literature, Pop Art, punk, ska and the Rolling Stones. He is the author of British Invasion: The Crosscurrents of Musical Influence (2014).
Dr David Holloway - Senior Lecturer and Exchange Co-ordinator. His research interests include 19th and 20th Century American literature and film, narratives of apocalypse in American culture, and the “War on Terror”. He has published a number of articles on the novelist Cormac McCarthy and has written a chapter on the literature of youth in Radiant Hour (2000). His book on Cormac McCarthy was published in 2002 and 9/11 and the War on Terror was published in 2008. He is also the co-editor of American Visual Cultures (2005).
Joanne Bishton - Lecturer in American Studies. Jo’s research expertise is in the field of 19th and 20th Century American and comparative literatures, adaptation, the historical novel, gendered narratives and sexuality. She has published on lesbian historical fiction and has forthcoming publications on gendered narrative voices, erotic adaptations and popularising lesbian narratives.
Alasdair Kean - Principal Lecturer in American Studies. His areas of research include 19th Century Social History, US popular culture abroad and American music. Alasdair is co-author of American Cultural Studies (1997).
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||112* (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
For joint honours degree entry you will need to choose two subjects. The entry criteria here is for this subject only. Your offer will be based on the higher entry criteria from the two subjects you choose to do. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
*The UCAS Points required for entry will depend on the subjects you choose to combine. The subject with the higher entry requirements will determine your offer.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
As an American Studies graduate, you could pursue a career in many different areas, including teaching, journalism, media, advertising, marketing, law, the civil service, retail management and the uniformed services.
Skills for success
Your degree will help set you apart as an independent and confident individual who can view the world from different perspectives. Your experience of studying abroad, for instance, will signal to any prospective employer that you have maturity, adaptability and organisational skills. As the business world becomes increasingly global, these are impressive qualities which will help you secure a rewarding career.
Ensuring you’re ‘work-ready’
Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure that you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate - industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you will also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions. The support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
You will typically study your two subjects equally at stage one, before choosing whether you want to major in one subject at stages two and three.
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Included in your fees
- For all mandatory study trips, we will cover the full cost of transport and any entrance fee, for example, The Victoria & Albert Museum.
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Printed copies of independent study approx. £6 per copy
- You should allow for £100 per year for the purchase of set texts
Optional costs not included in your fees
- You will not have to pay the transport costs for optional trips, but will have to pay any entrance fee (if applicable)
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.