Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 4-6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112* (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



Joint Honours

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

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.

Course description

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.

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.

Fascinating research

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.

Study abroad

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:

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: 

  • Audible Republic: American Music and Society
  • From Civil Rights to Hip Hop: African-American Lives
  • The American West
  • Research Project
  • Work-Based Learning in the Media and Cultural Industries
  • American Youth Cinema
  • American Screen Cultures
  • Freedom's Conflicts: An Introduction to American History (PDP)
  • The Making of Modern America
  • World Literatures in English
  • New Hollywood and Beyond
  • Children of the Revolution: Popular Music in the Long Seventies
  • Culture and Counter-Culture
  • Independent Study (PDP)
  • Work-Based Learning (PDP)
  • Keeping the Peace? Conflict, power and diplomacy since 1945

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

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).

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112* (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


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.

Simon Philo

Simon Philo
Programme leader

Simon is Programme Leader for BA Liberal Arts; and Subject Leader for American Studies and Popular Music in Society.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Contact us

Simon Philo +44 (0)1332 591482

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.

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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

Teaching hours

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, excellent 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

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

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American Studies can be combined with:

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