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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

Modes and duration

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

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,020 (FT) £4,510 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

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 analytic 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 in total), and the research dissertation (90 credits). 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.

Core Module

  • Researching the Americas: The USA


  • 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
  • Hollywood Genres
  • The Origins of the American Civil War
  • Politics of US Foreign Policy
  • Post-Cold War US Foreign Policy
  • US Presidents and the Presidency


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 and analytical exercises, depending on selected options), group and seminar presentations, and the dissertation.

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


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. 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

  • Quality Assurance Officer, University of London Secretariat
  • PhD student, University of Oxford
  • Marketing Assistant Manager, Traders Relations Group
  • PhD student, Warwick University
  • Research Executive, UKTV
  • Graduate Trainee, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


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.

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, coordinating 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.

Student / staff ratios › 12 staff including 2 postdocs › 75 taught students › 19 research students

Department: Institute of the Americas

Degree reviews

Alumni review

"I loved the United States Studies module – it covered such a diverse range of topics and it was flexible enough to cater to my interests. The access to several libraries, including the fantastic Senate House, enriched my research, and the coursework-only format allowed me to really focus on the subjects that I wanted to read into further."

Natalija Sasic

United States Studies: History and Politics MA (2013)
Junior Research Executive, UKTV
Staff review

"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 review

"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
29 July 2016
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


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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