American Studies - MA, PhD

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Overview

Members of the Centre for American Studies provide supervision in many aspects of American Studies. Supervision is team-based and reflects the active research interests of the Centre.

We treat the American experience in a critical and reflective manner, and offer an extremely good base for postgraduate study. While able to supervise a wide range of American topics, the Centre currently operates three specialist research clusters of particular interest to candidates; the American West; US Environmental Issues; Race, Ethnicity and Borders. 

About the Centre for American Studies

American Studies at Kent dates back to 1973 and, over the last few decades, has developed a strong research culture; this matches the commitment of the University to interdisciplinary study as well as the mandate of American Studies to explore the American experience in ground-breaking ways. 

Our team of scholars maintains close links with a number of North and South American research institutions and archives, and the University’s Templeman Library houses impressive collections on slavery, Native American culture, and photography/visual materials.

We treat the American experience in a critical and reflective manner, and offer an extremely good base for postgraduate study. While able to supervise a wide range of American topics, the Centre currently operates three specialist research clusters of particular interest to candidates:

  • The American West
  • The Study of US Environmental Issues
  • The Study of Race, Ethnicity and Borders.

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 class honours degree in an appropriate subject (for example, American Studies, History or English degrees with US study component).

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

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Course structure

Duration: MA 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

PhD 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

American Studies - MA by Research at Canterbury

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time TBC
  • International part-time £8400

American Studies - PhD at Canterbury

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time TBC
  • International part-time £8400

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk.

EU students

Kent is supporting its EU students as the UK leaves the EU with a special EU fee offered for students joining in 2021 for the duration of their programmes. EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. It will not affect students starting courses in academic year 2020/21, nor those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. It will also not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.


Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Independent rankings

School of English

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
 

School of History

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of History was ranked 8th for research intensity and in the top 20 in the UK for research power.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Research areas

Staff interests broadly fit within the parameters of American literature, American history, American film and American politics, although we actively welcome interdisciplinary projects that investigate several areas of study.

Current strengths in American Studies at Kent are: Native American literature and culture; African-American history; slavery and the Atlantic world; the American West; US environmental issues; US visual culture; Disney and recreation; American realist fiction; modern American poetry; US immigration politics; American science fiction; Hollywood; US foreign policy.

The American West

Kent is the only UK institution to operate a research cluster on the American West, with five members of the Centre specialising in trans-Mississippi studies. The research cluster engages in pioneering work on Native American literature, Western films and video games, female frontiering and several other elements of the Western experience.

The Study of US Environmental Issues

US environmental history is a relatively new field of study, but of increasing importance. Our two environmental specialists work on wildlife management, animal studies, nuclear protest and concepts of ecological doomsday.

The Study of Race, Ethnicity and Borders

The Centre has a long history of studying race and ethnicity. Currently, six members of the team cover a range of topics that include African-American political, cultural and social history, Native American literature, Latin American relations and immigration writing and politics.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the school websites:

Literature: www.kent.ac.uk/english/staff

History: www.kent.ac.uk/history/staff

Politics: www.kent.ac.uk/politics/about-us/staff

Film: www.kent.ac.uk/arts/staff

Latin American Studies: www.kent.ac.uk/secl/hispanicstudies/staff

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the school websites:

Literature : www.kent.ac.uk/english/staff

History: www.kent.ac.uk/history/staff

Politics: www.kent.ac.uk/politics/about-us/staff

Film: www.kent.ac.uk/arts/staff

Latin American Studies: www.kent.ac.uk/secl/hispanicstudies/staff/

Careers

Recent postgraduates now work in media, publishing and a variety of businesses in the UK, Europe and the USA. Teaching is also a popular option, as are marketing and public relations.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

American Studies benefits from excellent library resources, and is especially strong in literature, film and history. Specialist collections include slavery and anti-slavery, a large collection of works on photography and contemporary images, and a slide library with well over 100,000 classified slides. The Library also houses the British Cartoon Archive. Kent is within easy reach of London’s major library resources.

Postgraduate students have access to the resources provided by the Centre for American Studies and its related departments. The Centre runs regular research events each year. Other schools and departments such as English, Film, Politics and International Relations, and History also host research seminars that students are welcome to attend.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of American Studies; American Review of Canadian Studies; European Journal of American Culture; and American Indian Quarterly. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests section.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Canterbury

PhD at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

Claire Taylor

T: +44 (0)1227 823140

E: c.l.taylor@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk