Subject Guide

American Studies Degree

Uni Compare  · Dec 5th 2023

American Studies focuses on American; culture, companies, geopolitical decisions, history, power, literature and popular culture.


As a major world power, forging academic or career connections with the USA can be an exciting prospect.

Having said that, an American studies degree UK is not vocational and will not set you up with an instant career. Instead, the expertise you develop during the degree (historical, political, cultural, and linguistic) can be transferred to wider applications, becoming useful in a range of careers with American Studies degree.

So what is an American Studies degree?

American Studies Degree

What to do with an American studies degree

Firstly, you could work in a sales, marketing, consultancy or customer service role within a multinational company. Having the inside knowledge to bring you closer to other countries, essentially ‘speaking their language’, can be a real advantage in business. If you’ve got a head for numbers, you might even consider joining such an organisation as an accountant.

If you opt to complete a postgraduate law qualification or take on a trainee paralegal position, you could enter the legal profession. With a specialist background, American studies degree UK graduates could find themselves working as a patent attorney in the US, as an immigration advisor, or as a legal advisor for international trade situations.

Some graduates with an American studies degree decide to enter government. Having studied modules on history and politics in something like a Latin American studies online degree or a masters degree in Latin American studies, you’ll feel prepared for many of the intricacies that a government job entails.

There are quite a few jobs with American Studies degree available for graduates.

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a popular track for UK graduates to get into government, but naturally, it’s a competitive field, so having a postgraduate qualification may help more; candidates with a masters degree African American studies, may stand out from those with an undergraduate degree in the same subject. Similarly, you might be interested in going into international aid and development American Studies degree jobs, or working in international organisations such as NATO and the UN.

What can you do with an American studies degree?

Your understanding of the American market could boost your success in advertising or marketing as an account executive, or a media buyer. Or how about PR, working as a public relations mouthpiece for an individual or organisation based in the US?

There are various writing careers available to people with good communication skills, secure writing abilities and specialist knowledge, so you could take your American studies degree with you into a job as a digital copywriter, or as a publishing copy-editor (catching all those colors/colours and pants/trousers to ensure books travel well between the American and British markets). You could become a journalist for TV, radio, newspaper or magazines; this is another highly competitive arena, so you might benefit from gaining an NCTJ qualification too.

Other related American studies degree jobs include social media manager, gallery or museum curator or education officer, or event manager. So now that we’ve answered that pesky ‘what can I do with an American studies degree?’ question, read on to find out more about this degree programme.

In the present day, The United States of America, is a strong, influential and powerful country that affects the entire globe. Those who are interested in learning about all the aspects of this country will be well-suited to this degree.

American studies also look beyond the boundaries of North America and incorporate the wider Americas, the Transatlantic, the Caribbean and the Transpacific, although rooted geographically to the United States it is truly a global degree.

American Studies Degree

What A Levels do I need?

Some institutions may look for a minimum amount of UCAS tariff points, or grades in certain subjects, such as English Language or English Literature at B grade as a starting point. Always check the entry requirements for the courses and universities that you are interested in prior to applying.

What are my study options?

Students will tackle the issues that have been at the forefront of the American experience, gender, class ethnicity and sexuality, as well as explore crucial themes such as freedom, migrant and immigrant experiences, civil rights, American foreign relations and conformism and rebellion.

Those who are undecided as to whether study specific areas such as literature and history degrees are aided by being able to explore all aspects of culture in one degree, including American art, politics and music.

You can always study an American studies degree online and some of its many offshoots. For instance, being able to study an African American studies degree online from the comfort of your own home and with the abilities to do your own research, is never a bad thing, is it? It’s not just limited to undergraduate degrees either, you can also look at doing something like an online Bachelor's degree African American studies as well.

Students develop analytical and rhetorical skills common to those who study humanities, as well as an ability to synthesise an array of perspectives

Many students also look into the possibility of a joint degree too. This allows students to combine their American Studies degree with degrees in other areas too, like a joint degree in English and American studies, which will potentially open further careers with an American Studies degree.

What should I expect from American Studies?

Students should expect to study many areas including; American history, literature, political culture, material culture, music, slavery, as well as Photography and Visual culture and African-American history.

Most institutions will also offer the opportunity to study abroad in America for a year, where students can seek adventure, culture and independence as well as a chance of a lifetime. Students looking to study in America should research American university finances, as some of the process will be different!

American Studies Degree

How will I be assessed?

Assessments will be made up of coursework and formal examinations, although each institution will differ in how they assess their students for each of their modules as well as how much weight they carry. Assessment can also include presentations and group work.

What skills will I learn from American Studies?

Students develop analytical and rhetorical skills common to those who study humanities, as well as an ability to synthesise an array of perspectives, and bring a variety of original approaches and methodologies to the table. Individuals make connections where conventional thinkers may not, and benefits the intellectual within us all.

The majority of American Studies degrees (though, unfortunately not American Studies online degree) will include a term, semester or a year studying abroad at an American university, providing students with a unique adventure and an experience of a lifetime, increasing employability after graduation.

Some institutions may look for a minimum amount of UCAS tariff points, or grades as a starting point.

Students will graduate with the skills of analysing, interpreting, communication, independence, maturity and the ability to thrive and live in other cultures which make their international employment opportunities rise.

University students will also gain knowledge in how to manage time and deadlines at university, as well as how to socialise with others around them through group work and presentations.

Why choose American Studies?

For students who wish to study this degree, they are enrolling on to an open, challenging and exciting degree which has been described as the ultimate liberal arts course. Throughout the degree, students will encounter an array of subjects from European colonisation and up to the contemporary present day.

Whether you love the Great Gatsby or the Great Depression, and everything in between, this degree has the potential to interest you and suit you well.

American Studies Degree

What happens after I graduate?

Many students may choose to further study deeper after American studies, or gain employment within the Media, the culture and heritage sectors, as well as Journalism and finance sectors.

Your degree in American Studies doesn’t have to end there though! You might even be interested in a Latin American studies degree, which will focus more on countries like Mexico or regions like South America and their global influence and their cultures and traditions.

America has a long history and there are many cultures that are tied in, but studying these further could be an interesting idea too, so studying something like a degree in African American studies is a good idea too.

You may even decide to look into the possibilities of a masters degree in American studies or a Latin American studies masters degree, which will further your knowledge and also open further doors for employment opportunities.

What types of jobs can I get from studying American Studies?

There are quite a few jobs with American Studies degree available for graduates.

If you opt to complete a postgraduate law qualification or take on a trainee paralegal position, you could enter the legal profession.

Popular career options for graduates of American Studies include Publishing, Journalism, Marketing, Finance, Advertising, and the Creative industries.

What can I study after American Studies?

There are both full-time and part-time postgraduate options for students who wish to continue with their studies ranging from a degree in Latin American studies, History and American studies degree, African American studies degree, English and American studies degree, a degree in Native American studies (this can also be expanded on in a masters degree in Native American studies), Film and American Studies, American History, and American Literature and Culture.

Also, some universities offer collaborative research programmes and American Studies degree courses with American universities, offering a chance to study abroad at postgraduate level with something like an American Studies masters degree.

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