United States Studies: History and Politics MA

This multi-disciplinary MA provides a broad range of specialist modules in the humanities and social sciences, bringing together the academic expertise of staff of the Institute of the Americas with United States specialists from other UCL departments and University of London colleges.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,750
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,500

Application date

  • All applicants: 31 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

Students will develop analytic and critical perspectives in multi-disciplinary aspects of US history, politics, cultural studies and international relations, depending on their chosen areas of specialisation. They will gain key research skills, enhance their capacity for oral and written presentation, and develop their knowledge of up-to-date scholarship and theoretical/conceptual debates in United States studies.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The Institute of the Americas occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of the region in the UK, promoting, coordinating and providing a focus for research and postgraduate teaching on the Americas - Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States.

The Institute actively maintains and builds ties with cultural, diplomatic and business organisations with interests in the Americas, and provides resources to the wider academic community, serving and strengthening national networks of North Americanist, Latin Americanist and Caribbeanist scholars.

Students benefit from tuition by world-leading scholars in an academic environment at the cutting edge of research in the humanities and social sciences.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), five one-term (15 credits) option modules - or equivalent if a two-term (30 credits) module is selected (75 credits in total), and the research dissertation (90 credits).

Please note: Some options may not be available in 2013–14.

Core Module

  • Researching the Americas: The USA


  • American History on Film
  • Politics of US Foreign Policy
  • African Americans and the Struggle for Civil Rights
  • Origins of the Civil War
  • The Rise of the Sunbelt since 1945
  • Post-Cold War US Foreign Policy
  • Case Study in US Foreign Policy
  • US Economic Policy: From the New Deal to Obama
  • US Presidents and the Presidency
  • Hollywood Genres
  • America in the World 1776-1900
  • Environmental Issues, Movements and Policies in the Americas


All students write a dissertation of 15,000 words on a research topic of their choice linked to the subject area of one of their taught modules.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, presentations, research skills training, independent reading and research. Assessment is through written assignments (which may include essays, term papers, analytical exercises and closed book examinations, depending on selected options), group and seminar presentations, and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:

Scholarships available for this department

Institute of the Americas UK/EU Departmental Studentship

Institute of the Americas Overseas Departmental Studentship

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

Normally an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

Please note that some funding schemes have an earlier application deadline; please view the Funding section for further details.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at graduates with a first degree in a relevant discipline who wish to gain the subject-specific and transferable skills necessary to prepare for careers in research, teaching, and private/public sector organisations in the multi-disciplinary field of United States studies.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study United States Studies: History and Politics at graduate level
  • why you want to study United States Studies: History and Politics at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to elaborate on your reasons for applying to this programme and how your interests match what the programme will deliver.


Graduates of this programme will be well placed to use their skills and knowledge to find employment in government, business, journalism, finance and international NGOs, and teaching, or to engage in doctoral research in this field.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • University of London Secretariat, Quality Assurance Officer, 2012
  • Oxford University, Funded PhD Scholarship, 2012
  • Traders Relations Group, Marketing Assistant Manager, 2012
  • Warwick University, Funded PhD Scholarship, 2011
  • PGCE Studentship and consequent appointment as fast-track graduate teacher2011
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office Graduate Entry2011


Our graduates go into wide-ranging occupations. The most subject-specific of these research-degree programmes are the pathway to becoming university lecturer in the UK and US. Otherwise, our students have drawn on broader skills of communication, research, and presentation developed on the programme to obtain posts in the civil service (mainly Foreign and Commonwealth Office), other public services, think-tanks (such as the Henry Jackson Society), university administration, secondary-school teaching, and management positions in the private sector. Those interested in careers in the academy, national government, and think-tanks have particular opportunities to interact and develop networks with representative members of these communities who participate in our rich US events programme.

Next steps


Postgraduate Officer

T: +44 (0)20 7679 9748


Institute of the Americas

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Student View

"After finishing my PhD, I would love to work for a security agency in the public sector, such as Europol, or federal crime agencies or ministries in Brazil, Germany or the UK. I have undergone a lot of careers training while at UCL (Leadership in Action, Women in Management, Career Days)."

Verena Brahler

Degree: PhD

Alumni View

"I was able to develop my research interests into a more focussed package, which then helped me enormously when drafting my PhD research proposals."

John-Paul Salter

PhD Candidate, UCL School of Public Policy, 2011

Subject: Political Science, Faculty: Social and Historical Sciences