BA American and Canadian Studies with year abroad

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours, Study abroad year

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2019/20:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£17,640 (Overseas)
More detail.

This multidisciplinary degree explores the culture, history, literature and politics of the United States of America and Canada. 

The variety of topics include studying book illustrations, analysing North American film, considering the legacies of slavery, reading modern North American fiction, studying the workings of Washington and examining the War on Terror. 

Our BA America and Canadian Studies is a coherent, integrated programme, which is distinctive in its in-depth consideration of Canada, as well as the United States. You will be taught by experts who are leading the way in critical evaluations of North America’s history, culture and sense of itself in the world. We are currently ranked 1st for American Studies in both the Complete University Guide 2020 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.

For your Year Abroad, you are able to study at one of our wide-ranging partner institutions across the US and Canada, or complete a business internship. Both options allow you to immerse yourself in another culture – a major asset in a competitive job market.

To give a sense of the breadth of study in the course, our lecturers have recommended books, films and websites, for anyone considering choosing American and Canadian Studies. 

We have the privilege of attending great partner universities for a whole academic year either in the United States or Canada. This enables me to experience first-hand the content being taught, whilst opening up a world of graduate opportunities both within the UK and internationally.


Why Study this Course?

  • Excellent teaching - We are currently ranked 1st for American Studies in both the Complete University Guide 2019 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Our teaching emphasises discussion, group work and independent learning and is led by enthusiastic, approachable lecturers.
  • Outstanding employment - 100% of our graduates enter work or full-time study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).
  • Rewarding teaching experience - 94% of our students said they felt our academic staff were good at explaining things and made the subject interesting, whilst the course itself was intellectually stimulating (NSS 2018).
  • Strong research profile - American and Canadian Studies has a strong research profile and one of the most respected of its kind in the world, with academics who are at the forefront of interdisciplinary research into literature, culture, history, film, TV, politics and international relations. This research feeds into teaching on the programme, for example, Dr Steve Hewitt offers expert opinion for the BBC and other news organisations and continues his analysis of current events in his foreign policy teaching.
  • Excellent year abroad options - we have links with a huge range of excellent institutions across the US and Canada from which you will be able to choose, as well as the unique option of applying to complete an internship through the BABC. 


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

First year

Your studies will revolve around core courses in American history and literature.

Compulsory modules:

  • Introduction to American and Canadian Studies
  • Research Skills in American and Canadian Studies
  • Discovering North American Literature A - to 1900
  • Discovering North American Literature B - 1900 onwards
  • US History 1607 - 1865
  • US History 1865 - 2000

Detailed descriptions of first year modules

Second year

You will continue to study history and culture, but you will also develop your own interests - political, sociological, literary or multicultural - by selecting 80 credits of specialist options modules.

Compulsory modules:

  • Core module 1: 'Yankee Go Home': American-Canadian Relations
  • Core module 2: North America in Crisis: Culture and Politics

Detailed descriptions of second year modules

Year abroad

You will spend the third year in North America . You will begin research for your dissertation this year and the year counts towards your final degree. Please note, you must pass the second year course with a mark of at least 50% to be eligible for study abroad.

You will have the opportunity to study with one of our exchange partner Universities, where you will be free to select from a wide range of American and Canadian civilisation courses. 

Alternatively, we also offer a limited number of students an internship (a work placement) working with the British American Business Council (the BABC) or a company who have membership of the BABC.

More information on the year abroad options

Final year

Your final year modules are drawn from a wide range of options which examine multiculturalism, cross-cultural themes, contemporary literature and film and American international history and politics. You will also complete a substantial research project for your dissertation.

Compulsory module:

  • Dissertation

Detailed descriptions of final year modules


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £17,640

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
Not accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

International Students

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • Academic Skills Centre - The centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Contact hours

In years 1, 2, and 4 of your American and Canadian Studies degree you can expect around 10 contact hours per week - year 3 will be spent in a North American university. This will be made up of a combination of lectures and seminars in your first and second years. In your final year this will also include 1 to 1 supervision meetings with a lecturer who will support you as you conduct independent research.

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit: 


Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit: 


Year three

You will spend the third year in North America.

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit: 


As a student of American and Canadian Studies, you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are highly prized by employers, as well as benefitting from the diversity offered by this multidisciplinary degree.

Our graduates understand complex information, write clearly and effectively, can build a case for a particular view, strategy or course of action, respect the views of others even if they disagree with them and generally think for themselves.

Your year abroad will be an asset to you when you apply for jobs. Talking about your experiences abroad will help you stand out in job interviews and help to demonstrate your confidence and maturity to employers.

As a graduate of American and Canadian Studies, you will have athe skills to enter a wide range of careers including government, the media, law, accountancy, advertising, human resources and retail management, teaching, research and many other types of employment that offer graduate-entry schemes. Many of our graduates choose postgraduate study to extend their knowledge of this and similar disciplines or to prepare for careers such as law and teaching.

 100% of our graduates enter work or full-time study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). They start careers with employers including:

  • the BBC
  • Freud Communications
  • Maverick TV
  • the National Youth Theatre

Graduate roles are equally diverse:

  • Business Development Executive
  • Events Co-ordinator
  • Financial Analyst
  • Marketing Executive
  • Production Assistant
  • Research Assistant
  • Youth Mentor

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.