Course overview

If you are fascinated by the Americas, North and South, and would like to explore the cultures of the United States and Canada alongside those of Spanish America and even Brazil, then this course is for you.

You will study Spanish language and the histories, literatures and cultures of the United States and Canada and many of the nations of Latin America. If you have an A-level in Spanish, you can also take Portuguese.

By looking at different parts of the Americas – the United States, Canada and Latin America – alongside one another, you will be able to develop a rounded understanding of the relationships between North and South America, in terms of history, culture, literature and politics.

We welcome beginners to Spanish and also students with an A-level in Spanish. For beginners, you could have no Spanish or a GCSE. If you have an A-level in Spanish, you may take beginners' Portuguese in your first year, after which you may continue studying the language into the final year. This gives you the chance to study Brazil in more depth.

Our non-language modules in Hispanic Studies cover the history, politics and cultures of Latin America, including the period of Spanish and Portuguese colonial expansion into the Americas.

In American Studies, you will learn about the history, politics, literature and culture of Anglophone North America.

Your departments

Find out more about what it's like to study with us:

Why choose this course?

Beginners welcome!

No prior knowledge of American studies is needed

Learn a language

Open up new job opportunities by learning a foreign language

Live what you study

Spend a year studying or working abroad, in Spain and/or Latin America

Student satisfaction

92% of students agree that ‘staff have made the subject interesting’

(2022 National Student Survey results)

Double your skillset

Benefit from the skills development and assessment methods of studying two subjects

Skills for your career

Sharpen key skills by developing independent thinking, initiative and team working

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level BBC in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

Spanish requirements in Clearing for home students

Beginners' pathway

  • No language qualification required

Non-beginners' pathway

  • A level - grade C
  • IB - 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (Programme B)
IB score 28 (Certain subjects may be required) in Clearing for home students

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our  Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities. 

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

You will be taught via a mixture of large-group lectures and smaller, interactive seminars. You might also be taught through tutorials and supervisions. These are one-to-one meetings or discussions with an academic tutor.

On the American Studies side of your course, you will benefit from a wide range of learning materials. This could include reading books, online journal articles, e-book chapters, shorter review essays, newspaper and magazine articles. It could also mean watching documentary films, and, on some modules, listening to music on YouTube or Spotify.

“I did a module called ‘The Pop Century, which was on 20th century music, in second year. I loved that because you’d have a playlist every week and reading to go with it. We’d listen to songs and you’d choose your favourite one and link it to the historical context." – Liberty Jones, fourth year student

You will also have a personal tutor from the Department of American and Canadian Studies. This is someone who can:

  • provide general support for your academic life
  • give you the opportunity to raise concerns and discuss issues
  • support you with personal issues

Find out more about personal tutors

Teaching quality

Over 90% of our class of 2019 joint honours students graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification. University of Nottingham Degree Outcomes statement

Nine academics from the Department of American and Canadian Studies have received Advance HE recognition for their contribution to education, becoming Teaching Fellows.

Peer mentor scheme

First-year students can benefit from being paired with a 'peer mentor'. This is an existing student from your department who helps you settle in, get to know your peers and advise on student life.

Find out more about peer mentors

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Oral classes

How you will be assessed

This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year. Your language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon your return to Nottingham.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam
  • Oral exam

Contact time and study hours

You’ll have at least the following hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 9 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 8 hours

Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding. You will have a personal tutor from the Department of American and Canadian Studies. You will also be allocated a joint honours advisor from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. 

We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course. As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Your lecturers will be qualified academic staff. Some of your classes may be run by temporary teaching staff who are also experts in their field.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 50-60 students attending, while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

As well as scheduled teaching, you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as independent reading and research. As a guide, 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study). Each 20-credit module typically involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Study abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Latin America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement.

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

For more information, see our Year Abroad page.


Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.


Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that even if you haven’t studied American Studies or Latin American Studies before, we’ll build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two. 

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

Compulsory core modules (120 credits) – In Hispanics, you take Spanish language at beginners' (Spanish 1: Beginners) or post-A level (Spanish 1). Post-A level students may also take beginners' Portuguese. Your non-language modules (you choose one or two) introduce you to the cultures, history and societies of the Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking worlds. These modules are taught in English and give you an overview of Hispanic Studies.

In American Studies, you will choose between introductory courses on the basic themes and events of American history or the key authors and texts of American literature, from European settlement to the present. You will also take a multidisciplinary module that explores the literature, film and culture of Canada.

You must pass year one, but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

From Landscapes to Mixtapes: Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

Examine literary, film and visual texts in their historical, political, regional and national contexts.

You will explore debates about cultural definition and the construction and deconstruction of Canada. We mainly focus on the 20th century.

Possible topics include:

  • The wilderness
  • Migration and multiculturalism
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Canadian and Québécois nationalisms
  • Popular culture
  • Canada’s relationship to the US

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature in Spanish

This module is designed as a foundation for all later modules covering Spanish and Portuguese literatures. The main aims of this module are to give you a general introduction to literature and the study of literature, while providing you with a partial overview of literary writing in the Spanish language. As well as to introduce some of the key theoretical issues of literary study and instil good reading and critical habits. Through this you will be tested on your skills in close reading, textual analysis, seminar participation and the ability to write cogent and convincing commentaries and essays. This module is worth 20 credits.

Modern Latin American History

Through a combination of lectures, guided reading and research you'll explore the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century.

We'll focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question. We'll also encourage you to appreciate the interaction between the ‘political history’ of major events and protagonists in official positions of power, and the ‘social history' of populations who both contributed to, and were affected by, political change.

You will learn to develop a critical approach to the study of history through a variety of materials; gain an ability to distinguish between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis.

Spanish 1

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency shall really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Spanish 1: Beginners

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency begins!

Designed for students who have little or no prior experience of the language, this module will support you as you develop all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts. By the end of this module, you'll be able to read basic texts, follow everyday conversations and engage in social conversation.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Plus either:

Race, Power, Money and the Making of North America, 1607-1900

Discover the history of North America, from European contact through to the start of the 20th century.

You will explore how the interactions of European colonizers with Native Americans shaped the future of the region, as well as the rise of Atlantic slavery, its development over time and the eventual emergence of distinctive African-American cultures.

We cover a broad chronological period, which includes European colonization, independence and Civil War. You will also examine the influence and development of attitudes towards race, class, gender, democracy and capitalism.

This module is worth 20 credits.

American Freedom? Empire, Rights and Capitalism in Modern US History, 1900-Present

Discover the history of the United States in the 20th century.

You will explore the changes in the lives of American people, focussing on:

  • Prosperity
  • Depression
  • War
  • Liberal reform
  • Political conservatism
  • Minority protests
  • Multicultural awareness
  • International power

This module is worth 20 credits.


American Literature and Culture 1: 1830-1940

Gain an introduction to major American literature and culture.

You will explore a wide range of 19th and early 20th century American writers of fiction and poetry.

You will also:

  • Address questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’, raised by critics
  • Explore related developments in visual culture and music

This module is worth 20 credits

American Literature and Culture 2: Since 1940

This module follows on from ‘American Literature and Culture 1: 1830-1940’.

You will explore a wide range of 20th and 21st century American writers, including Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Shirley Jackson, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, and Colson Whitehead.

You will also explore related developments in late 20th and early 21st century American culture, including, for example, the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Altman, abstract expressionist art, and the emergence of digital media.

This module is worth 20 credits

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 02 September 2022.

You will take 120 credits of modules.

In this year, your language classes in Spanish (and Portuguese, if you continue with it) are dedicated to giving you the fluency and confidence for work or study during the year abroad. Your Hispanic Studies modules expand your knowledge of these cultures and societies.

Your American Studies modules will help you to develop a multidisciplinary approach and you can choose from two key modules:

  • North American Regions, which draws on literature, film and television to examine regional identities


  • Key Texts in American Social and Political Thought, which explores debates about religion, race, class, capitalism, gender, sexuality and war in different periods.

You will also select from a range of specialised modules to enable you to study certain periods, events, authors or texts in more depth.

You must pass year two, which counts 33% towards your final degree classification.

Core module

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

In this module you will explore a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (eg Pablo Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, such as Romanticism, Realism, and Modernism. A large part of your focus will be reading literary and visual texts of the period in relation to the socio-economic and political context of Spain’s and Spanish America’s rapid, but hugely uneven, modernisation.

Individual novels, plays, films, paintings or poems will also be used to exemplify and explore particular movements and historical moments. You will develop skills in close analysis of complex texts, an understanding of some of the major directions of Spanish and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts. This module is worth 20 credits.

Then choose one of the below:

North American Regions

This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, “place” to explore key North American texts— drawn primarily from the spheres of film, television and literature. The notion of the "regional" will be applied expansively as well as conventionally to incorporate everything from the urban to the suburban/exurban; border territories; the transnational. Possible areas of study may include the American West; the Pacific North-West; New York City; the black inner city “ghetto”; "mountain" people and the Appalachians; Hispanic-America; first nations; French-Canada; Texas; Chicago; New Orleans; California; and the transnational impact of extensive US military occupations (post-war Japan; South Vietnam; twenty-first century Iraq). 

Key Texts in American Social and Political Thought

American history, from the period of colonisation to the nation's emergence as a global superpower, has always involved intense social and political debate.

This module analyses key texts in the history of American political and social thought, from the settlement period to the present day.

You will be introduced to debates over issues such as:

  • religion
  • race
  • class
  • capitalism
  • gender
  • sexuality
  • war

We analyse primary sources by a diverse range of thinkers and writers to interpret these debates, showing how they continue to shape American society and politics in the present.

This module is worth 20 credits.

And choose the appropriate level Spanish module, based on your prior experience:

Spanish 2: Beginners

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes and will get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of speaking and writing practice during classes, collaborative projects and on your own time through a wide range of online and in-person interactive activities.

Spanish 2

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year 3. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of practice during laboratory classes where you'll have access to a wide range of contemporary audio-visual materials.

Optional modules

Hispanic Cinemas

Take your understanding of Spanish and Portuguese further by delving into the rich history of cinema in Spain, Portugal, Latin America and Portuguese-speaking Africa. This will assist your language skills and also deepen your knowledge of a diversity of global cultures.

In the first semester we'll examine cinema from Spanish America since the 1960s, then, in the second semester, cinema from Brazil, Portugal and Africa. In so doing, we'll address questions of cinematic style and technique, socio-historical contexts and the politics of film-making.

Don't worry if you're just starting out on your language journey, the films will be available with English subtitles.

New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture

Explore relations between early modern Spain, Portugal and their empires through art, cinema and historical documents to better understand the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries in Latin America today.

Together we’ll study paintings starting from the mid-15th century in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, to Mexico and Brazil in the late eighteenth century.

To explore the political and cultural relations between the old countries in Europe and the new lands in the Americas we’ll read travelogues, testimonies and political discussion about the New World and look at modern cinematic and theoretical responses to the conquest and colonisation of the Americas.

These complementary areas of history and culture are perfectly balanced to help you understand how the Portuguese and Spanish empires are so relevant to contemporary global geo-politics.

Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This module examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We trace the making and remaking of immigrant communities, cultures, and identities from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will analyse models of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation by focusing on the perception and reception of immigrant groups and their adjustment to US society. We will ask questions such as: How have institutions and ideologies shaped the changing place of immigrants within the United States over time? How have immigrants forged new identities within and beyond the framework of the nation state? And how has immigration transformed US society?

The American Pop Century

This module surveys the history of American popular music in the 20th century, focusing on the major genres and exploring the artistic, cultural and political issues they raise. In addition to examining the music’s aesthetic qualities genre by genre, the focus will be on key developments within the music industry, on the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and on the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. We’ll spend quite a bit of time listening to and analysing music, but you do not need any specialist musical expertise or knowledge to take the module.

American Radicalism

American radicals have been dismissed as impractical, wild-eyed, and subversive - even "un-American"- although many of their most visionary aims have been realized. This module will consider these paradoxes, beginning with the American Revolution in the late 18th century. 19th century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20thcentury subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and more recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalisation.

The US & the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy, 1898-2008

How can we understand the evolution of America's relationship with the wider world? What interests have been behind the execution of American power?

This module offers a critical introduction to understanding America's place in the world. From the war of 1898, to the conflicts of the early 21st century, we examine how America's involvement abroad has changed over time.

Through historical and political analyses of US foreign relations, we will look at the themes that have shaped America's increasing influence in global affairs.

We consider:

  • traditional political and diplomatic issues
  • the link between foreign and domestic policies
  • the role of foreign actors and private organisations, from religious groups, to citizen organisations, to NGOs that have served to shape America's actions abroad

We will also explore contemporary trends in the history of US foreign policy, including race, gender, emotions, and religion.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Contemporary North American Fiction

This course will consider the contexts and development of contemporary fiction and the novel in the United States and Canada since the 1990s. It will do so by positioning literary works within their wider historical, political and cultural context. The course will examine the dominant ideas and concerns of a number of fictions and novels by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds. Issues for discussion will include the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, class, generation and sexuality on North American fiction and the novel; the bearing of technology on contemporary fiction; and various debates about the nature of the historical novel in the twenty-first century.

America's Borders: Culture at the Limits

This module offers a hemispheric approach to North America by focusing on the history and culture of two significant borderlands regions, the Canada-US border and the Mexico-US border,as well as providing a general introduction to border theory and comparative approaches to the borderlands.

The module adopts a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to the border as a place, culture and concept and moves from the colonial period into the twenty-first century. We will analyse a diverse range of historical, literary and cultural texts (testimony, fiction, poetry,drama, film, television, art, architecture, music and performance) and engage a series of critical debates about the nature of cultural and ethnic encounter, race, nation and empire. 

American Violence: A History

This module seeks to analyse the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. You will consider theories such as its origins in frontier settler societies and this may allow comparative study of Canada. You will understand the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. You will also look at the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government’s use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy. Possible topics include violence incidental to settler-native people contact or plantation slavery, the right to bear arms in the Constitution, the resort to force within US foreign policy including atomic weaponry, ‘state terrorism’, and the military-industrial complex.

African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance and thus indicate how African Americans have sustained themselves individually and collectively within a racist, yet liberal society. These will illustrate the resilience of African American culture via music, literature, art and material culture. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. Weekly topics might include material culture in the Gullah region of South Carolina; or the growth of urban black churches in the North during the period of the Great Migration highlighted by the development of Gospel choirs and radio preaching.

Business in American Culture

This module introduces students to the conflicting views about business that can be heard echoing through American literature and culture in the last two centuries. These views are evident when literature and culture directly represent the business culture-its executives, managers and employees, or the physical and mental conditions of employment and entrepreneurship; they are also evident in the narrative unconscious of works appreciated for qualities other than their treatment of business. This module aims to try and understand not only what drives American culture's preoccupation with business, but also to study the various strategies used as literature and culture represents what the module calls the discourses of business: the way that business as a theme is written and talked about in the United States by presidents, by social critics, by journalists, and by writers and other cultural producers; the way that the historical accumulation of this collective input has fashioned a set of rules that govern the way successive generations can think about business; the way that specialised and professionalised languages of business become tropes and metaphors to be used outside of a strictly business environment. The module examines these discourses in a variety of representational forms from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day: shorts stories and novels; newspapers, magazines and illustrations; speeches, autobiographies and memoirs; film and television.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Latin America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement.

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

For more information, see our Year Abroad page.

You will take 120 credits of modules.

This year is your opportunity to develop the language skills you built up on the Year Abroad. Beginners can reach the same degree standard as non-beginners. In addition, you can take specialist modules based on the research we are currently doing in Hispanic Studies.

You must pass year four, which counts 67% towards your final degree classification.

Core module

In addition to the core Spanish module, you will write a dissertation in either American Studies or Hispanic Studies (the choice is yours).

The dissertation gives you a valuable opportunity for multidisciplinary and comparative study. For example, you might use the dissertation to examine US-Latin American foreign relations, or patterns of migration, labour and activism across different regions of the Americas.

Spanish 3

This advanced module will be your final step towards fluency, training you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

We'll continue to use a wide range of authentic Spanish texts to further deepen your knowledge and confidence at this advanced level. We'll look at how the texts are put together so that you may use these skills within your written and spoken Spanish, taking you to the highest level of proficiency.

Dissertation in Hispanic Studies

This module aims to provide you with the training necessary to be able to engage independently, under the guidance of a supervisor, in self-directed research on a topic that the student selects on the basis of an aspect of your Year Abroad experience.

Through a series of one-on-one tutorials, and the submission of a proposal, a literary review, and chapter draft, the student is advised on how to sustain an argument over up to 7,000 words, and how to underpin this argument with appropriate and innovative research.

Dissertation in American and Canadian Studies

This module involves in-depth independent study of a subject in American and Canadian Studies. It encourages both student-centred and student-initiated learning. The topic you choose must be appropriate for your course and must be approved by the module convenor. You are assigned a supervisor with expertise in your chosen area of study.

The completed dissertation should be 5,000-7,000 words in length for the 20 credit module and 10,000-12,000 words in length for the 40 credit module. The 20 credit dissertation is for one semester only and the 40 credit version is year-long.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • To Ban or Not to Ban: Changing Motivations Behind Efforts to Censor African American Literature in America’s Public Schools, 1976-2018
  • The Development of Television in the Canadian North and its Role in the Preservation of Inuit Culture
  • The Feminist Justification for the Afghanistan War: The Cooperation Between the Bush Administration and the Feminist Majority Foundation
  • "The Teeth of the World are Sharp”: James Baldwin’s Protest Novels
  • Towards Humane Borders: Activist and NGO Responses to the Militarisation of the US-Mexico Boundary
  • “A Blended World … A Safe Space for Everybody”: A Case Study of Underground Ballroom Culture
  • “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues”: The Empowerment of Black Female Blues Singers - Romance or Reality?
  • “Older Arts and Newer Technology”: Cultural Recoding in Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters

Optional modules

Spanish American Narrative and Film

This module looks at key 20th century Spanish American novels and short stories and considers issues such as race, gender, sexuality and the conflict of cultures. You will be trained in using a broad range of tools of narrative and rhetorical analysis so as to engage in debates about literary representation and aesthetics, and will hone your use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.

In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.

Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts

Explore how literature and film can give us a deeper insight into the experiences of conflict in 20th and 21st-century Latin American and Iberian societies.

Together we’ll investigate the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (with a particular emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).

Your Spanish and Portuguese language skills (along with translations or subtitles where needed) will help you adopt a comparative approach focussing on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts.

You will discuss questions around a range of themes which may include; authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality, social injustice, gender and sexuality, and living on with the legacies of past traumas.

You can expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Liliana Heker. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.

Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain

You may believe that politics and literature are two distinct fields of study, but this module will help you understand the complex but integral relationship between the two.

We’ll explore the representation of key social and political issues within contemporary Spanish literature. You’ll discover how literature in late capitalism, and contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors in particular, dealt with issues of language, identity, culture, society, nationhood, gender, class, memory, time and writing.

We also explore debates regarding the consistency of the categories of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanishness’ when analysing cultural production in contemporary Iberia. This shall lead us to assess the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.

Business and Society in Spain

Taught in Spanish, this module has been designed to give you a thorough insight into Spanish business including the contexts that have influenced its development and the ways it interacts with wider society.

We'll investigate a range of factors that have shaped the Spanish business landscape since the transition to democracy, such as:

  • changes within the global and European regulatory environment
  • ideological factors
  • entrepreneurship
  • government action to attract foreign investors, promote Spanish FDI and boost trade with regions such as Latin America, Europe and China.

You'll not only gain a historical understanding, but a contemporary perspective too by looking at case studies of both companies like Inditex (the owners of Zara and other important fashion brands) and important Spanish industries such as tourism. The module also explores some of the less positive impacts and criticisms of Spanish business practices relating to the environment, debt and corruption.

Making the Cuban Revolution: Ideology, Culture and Identity in Cuba since 1959

Free education from cradle to grave has been central to modern Cuba’s cultural and ideological identity. This module will encourage you to explore Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideologies. You’ll review the critical factors of nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership which shaped developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.


Together we’ll discover the role of education policies and the ways in which a ‘cultural revolution’ was fundamental to the socialisation process of, and popular participation in (or dissent from) the Revolution.


This study will help you form conclusions about both the meaning of ‘ideology’ within the context of the Revolution, and the international geo-political significance of Cuba's self-definition and evolution.

Literature and Film under Franco

One of the best ways to truly understand a nation is to study its culture. Together we’ll explore a key moment in 20th century Spanish history, literature and film-making. By looking at the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco you’ll develop awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film and perfect your skills in close textual analysis. 

You will gain a solid knowledge of the Franco régime and of the literature and film produced at this time, plus an understanding of the conditions for cultural production under the Dictatorship. 

By the end of the module, you will have developed a good command of the concepts and vocabulary required to analyse literary and filmic texts, a capacity for close reading and textual analysis, as well as presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.

Painting in Spain

This module will offer a panorama of painting in Spain from the late 16th century to the late 19th century taking in four themes: portraiture, history and genre painting, religion, and mythology and myths.

Artists covered will include Domenikos Theotocópoulos, Diego de Silva y Velázquez, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from the Spanish Golden Age and Francisco de Goya, Vicente López, Martín Rico and Marià Fortuny from the 19th century.

You will have the opportunity to study other painters in the preparation of assessments throughout the year. There will be an emphasis on designing exhibitions and on understanding the paintings both within the context of art history and the history and cultures of Spain.

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

US Foreign Policy, 1989 - present

Explore US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period.

You will examine the historical narratives of American international relations, considering the drivers behind the foreign policies of Presidents George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

More specifically, we will consider:

  • Whether the post-1989 period constituted a break from previous traditions in US foreign policy, or whether there has been an essential continuity through the war on terror and beyond
  • The impact of economics, geopolitics, ideology and security issues on post-1989 strategy in different regions of the world
  • The impact of a new international environment, marked by the demise of bipolarity and the rise of globalisation

You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars on this module.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

This module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. We focus on the ways in which marginalised, subordinate or dissenting social groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition and for re-negotiating their relationship to the social, economic and cultural mainstream. We explore how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation and analyse how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory.  Among the key moments examined are the folk revival and the 1930s Popular Front, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, and postmodernism and identity politics in the music of the MTV age.

Troubled Empire: The Projection of American Global Power from Pearl Harbor to Covid-19

This module will challenge students to critically engage with the period that Henry Luce referred to as the “American Century”. It will cover a range of case studies between Luce’s injunction and the subsequent US entry into World War Two in 1941 and the recent twin-crises marked by the 2008 Great Recession and the Covid-19 global pandemic. In doing so, it will prompt students to consider both the projection of American power on a global scale after 1941 and the considerable challenges that this project faced. Incorporating a series of focused case studies and reflections on the wider contexts relating to them, it will give students first-hand experience of weighing up the practical challenges US policymakers faced and the way that historians have subsequently assessed their efforts and understood their actions. 

American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

Experiences of and ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have varied and changed radically within American history and culture. This module will survey and analyse these changes from the mid-19thcentury to the present. We will consider how and why medical authority, gender, and class have all impacted the way in which mental illness is understood, and consider the significance of changing approaches to treatment. Sources used on this interdisciplinary module range from medical accounts and psychiatric theory to memoir, fiction and film. The aim is to place representations of mental illness in their historical context, and to ask what they reveal about related ideas about identity, conformity, social care and responsibility.

Sexuality in American History

From the Puritans to Playboy, sexuality has been a focal point in the culture, politics, and society of the United States. This module will examine Americans' differing attitudes over time toward sexuality. Representative topics covered may include marriage and adultery, homosexuality and heterosexuality, nudity, abortion, birth control, prostitution, free love, and rape.

The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery - Britain and the US 1776-1877

Reassess the Anglo-American relationship, during an era of major upheaval in both nations.

Spanning from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era, you will be challenged to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.

You will engage with concepts that are crucial in the formation of the modern world, including:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • liberty
  • republicanism
  • class
  • gender
  • manners
  • reform

This module is worth 20 credits.

Recent Queer Writing

This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include: 

  • LGBTQ sexuality;
  • constructions of masculinity and femininity;
  • the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens;
  • intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites
  • writing for LGBTQ youth
  • literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories

Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.

Ethnic and New Immigrant Writing

This module will consider the development of ‘ethnic’ and new immigrant literature in the United States from the late 19th century to the contemporary era.  You will examine a range of texts from life-writing to short fiction and the novel by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds, including Irish, Jewish, Caribbean and Asian American. Issues for discussion will include the claiming of the United States by new immigrant and ‘ethnic’ writers; race and ethnicity; gender, class and sexuality; labour and economic status; the uses and re-writing of American history and ‘master narratives’; the impact of US regionalism; how writers engage with the American canon; multiculturalism and the ‘culture wars’; and the growth of ‘ethnic’ American writing and Ethnic Studies as academic fields.

History of the Civil Rights Movement

This module examines a range of documents and scholarly controversies pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement between 1940 and 1970. Documents will include public and organisational records, photo-journalism, speeches, memoir and personal papers.

Controversies will include those relating to the chronological limits, spatial dynamics, and gender politics of the movement, as well as those relating to the movement’s goals and achievements.

North American Film Adaptations
This module examines North American short stories and novels and their film adaptations, paying attention to the contexts in which both the literary and the cinematic texts are produced as well as to the analysis of the texts themselves. In particular, the module takes an interest in literary texts whose film adaptations have been produced in different national contexts to the source material.
Varieties of Classic American Film, Television and Literature since 1950

What is a film, television or literary classic? How has this term come under pressure and fractured over the past half century or so? In this module you will consider the concept of the mid and late twentieth century American “classic” in a variety of contrasting and overlapping contexts. These contexts will be elaborated on the basis of their formal, generic, period and/or cultural designations that will cover university and exam curricula reading lists, popular opinion and widespread critical consensus (such as the currently prevalent view, for instance, that the early twenty-first century constitutes a ‘golden age’ of US television).

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

  • Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Year Abroad

Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a Year Abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries.

More information on your third year abroad.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships


You will develop your Spanish language skills to degree level and have a wide-ranging and specialist knowledge of North American and Spanish-American literature, history, politics and culture.

Your international experience will show employers that you are independent, resourceful and able to cope with new challenges. Studying and working abroad will also deepen your levels of cultural understanding and increase your competence in one of the world's main languages.

Find out more about skills and experience gained and career destinations of American and Canadian Studies and Latin American Studies students.

Read graduate profiles from the Department of American and Canadian Studies.

Average starting salary and career progression

72.2% of undergraduates from the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £21,539.*

*Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.