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Study American Studies, why & how to study

American Studies explores all parts of life in the Americas, from literature and history to politics and popular culture.

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  1. What’s American Studies?

  2. What American Studies degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto an American Studies degree?

  4. What topics does an American Studies degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study American Studies?

  7. What do American Studies graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as an American Studies graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to American Studies

  11. Have any questions?

What’s American Studies?

America remains a prominent global force in the twenty-first century, with American culture, companies and geopolitical decisions dominating our lives.

American Studies as a subject dissects, deciphers and delves into the inner workings of this significant world power. It looks beyond the boundaries of the United States and incorporates the wider Americas, the Caribbean, the Transatlantic, the Transpacific and beyond.

What American Studies degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in American Studies offer a wide variety of approaches to the subject:

  • American Literature with Creative Writing BA
  • Film and Television Studies and American Studies BA
  • Politics and American Studies BA
  • American Studies/Applied Criminology BA
  • Spanish and Latin American Studies MLang (integrated master’s in Languages)

Couse options can include an integrated foundation year or a year of studying abroad.

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  3. Types of undergraduate degrees

What do you need to get onto an American Studies degree?

Entry requirements will depend on the university you’re applying to, ranging from 90 to 160 UCAS points. The range of qualifications are as follows:

  • A Levels: AAA–CCC
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–ABBBB (or BBC for Advanced Highers)
  • International Baccalaureate: 36–27
  • Universities may require a qualification in an essay-based subject like English literature or history, or Spanish if taking Latin American Studies
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  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does an American Studies degree cover?

Modules will depend on the specific American Studies course, but may include:

  • American literature
  • American politics and society
  • Research skills
  • Creative writing
  • Consuming film and television
  • The making of the modern world
  • Introduction to the Portuguese-speaking world

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module. Examples include:

  • Coursework
  • Exams (not a requirement of all degrees)
  • Essays, reviews, commentary, or reflective writing
  • Group and individual presentations
  • Audience surveys or a portfolio of written or digital work
  • A dissertation completed in the final year

Why study American Studies?

An American Studies degree will give you an insight into American culture, as well as the chance to gain a raft of transferable skills useful in any job.

Career-specific skills:

  • Critical understanding of America’s politics, history and culture
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity

Transferable skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to analyse contemporary issues
  • Developing and leading presentations
  • Creative and analytical writing
  • Collaborative teamwork skills
  • Time management
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What do American Studies graduates earn?

American Studies graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £19,000–£23,000.

As your career progresses, your average salary will depend on the sector you’ve entered. It could range from £35,500 if you’re a journalist or periodical editor, to £75,500 if you become a marketing or sales director.

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What jobs can you get as an American Studies graduate?

The broad range of skills developed through an American Studies degree could lead to many careers:

  • Journalist
  • Web content writer
  • Publishing editor
  • PR officer
  • Marketing executive
  • Academic librarian
  • Civil servant

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at the postgraduate level include:

  • American Studies MA/MRes/MPhil or PhD
  • Iberian and Latin American Studies MPhil
  • Latin American Studies PhD
  • American and Canadian Studies MRes
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Similar subjects to American Studies

American Studies courses can cover politics, history, creative writing and more. Similar subjects you could consider include:

Have any questions?

Email us at with your questions about studying American Studies. We’ll be happy to help!

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