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United States Studies: History and Politics MA

This multidisciplinary MA comprises a broad range of specialist modules in the humanities and social sciences, bringing together the academic expertise of the institute with United States specialists from other UCL departments and University of London colleges. The programme's graduates have established careers in research, journalism, teaching and policy formulation and implementation in both government agencies and NGOs.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£9,840 (FT) £4,970 (PT)
£20,540 (FT) £10,430 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree information

Students will develop analytical and critical perspectives in multidisciplinary 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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (15 credits), five optional modules (75 credits), and the research dissertation (90 credits).

Please note: All optional modules are subject to availability.

Core module

  • Researching the Americas: The USA

Optional modules

Students choose five optional modules from a selection that includes the following:

  • Confronting the Colossus: US Anti-imperialism, 1945-present
  • The Culture Wars: Arenas and Issues in Contemporary US Political Conflict
  • From Emancipation to Massive Resistance: Race, Racism and the African American Freedom Struggle 1865-1960
  • From Skid Row to Obamacare: The Politics of Social Welfare in the United States Since 1900
  • From the Civil Rights Revolution to Obama: Race, Racism and the African American Freedom Struggle in Modern America
  • Politics of US Foreign Policy
  • Post-Cold War US Foreign Policy
  • US Presidents and the Presidency
  • Race and US Foreign Policy
  • From the New South to the Modern South: The (Re)Making of an American Region

Of the 75 optional module credits, students can choose a maximum of 30 credits from other departments or from other University of London colleges, subject to the Programme Director's approval.


All students write a dissertation of 15,000 words (90 credits) 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 and analytical exercises, depending on selected options), group and seminar presentations, and the dissertation.


Many of our Master's students undertake fieldwork in order to carry out research for their dissertation projects.

There may be travel costs associated with fieldwork. The institute has limited funds available to students to help towards the costs of fieldwork. These funds are awarded on a competitive basis on the criteria of academic performance to date, the quality of the research proposal and the importance of fieldwork for completing the research.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: United States Studies: History and Politics MA


Funding opportunities at the Institute of the Americas can be found here.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


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 degree

  • Junior Research Executive, UKTV
  • Justice Committee Support Assistant, House of Commons
  • Administration Manager, University College London (UCL)
  • Interpreter and Translator, National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI)
  • PhD US History, University College London (UCL)


Our graduates enter wide-ranging occupations, the most subject-specific becoming university lecturers in the UK and US. Students have drawn on broader skills of communication, research, and presentation developed through the programme to obtain posts in the civil service (mainly Foreign 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 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.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why 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, co-ordinating and providing a focus for research and postgraduate teaching on the Americas, including 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.

Department: Institute of the Americas

Student / staff numbers › 14 staff including 2 postdocs › 88 taught students › 28 research students

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Institute of the Americas
80% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"It's both a pleasure and a privilege for me to be at UCL. It's the pinnacle of my career and I'm not going anywhere else. What's not to like about great colleagues, great students, and a great research environment – all in a leafy spot in the heart of London!"

Professor Iwan Morgan

MA United States Studies: History and Politics MSc International Relations of the Americas MA History
Professor of US Studies and Commonwalth Fund Professor of American History
Staff view

"London has so many rich resources. The British Library, with its Eccles Centre for American Studies, is a short walk from UCL, and the LSE has a number of archival collections related to queer history in the United States. I co-convene a research seminar in American history at the Institute for Historical Research that brings together US specialists from all over London. And my own department hosts an impressive programme of research and public events that are always very well attended. "

Professor Jonathan Bell

United Studies: History and Politics
UCL Institute of the Americas

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

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 multidisciplinary field of United States studies.

Application deadlines

All applicants
28 July 2017

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

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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.

Contact information

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