American Studies Postgraduate Research - PhDs and Studentships

Full Time/ Part Time
PhD by Research, MA (Res), MPhil (Res)

Our areas of research strength cover the critical issues in American studies today through the lenses of American histories, American literature and American cultural studies. Our research themes cross disciplinary boundaries and combine the expertise of our academic staff. We have lively concentrations in the areas of race, gender and civil liberties, American environments, places and spaces; interdisciplinary Area Studies; comparative American studies, American avant-gardes and popular culture.


RESEARCH - Your teaching will be research led, and you will become an active member of our research community. You will have the opportunity to explore your interests in depth under supervision during your dissertation. 

Themes our students have explored as research scholars include: 
African-American and Native American history and literature; Cold War and American international relations; Gender, race, and sexuality; Great American historical figures; American religion; Youth cultures and subcultures; American superheroes, feminism and neo-liberalism; Native American literature and land; The politics of environmental pollution; Transnational American culture, and American writing, from Mark Twain to Leslie Marmon Silko, from Gertrude Stein to Toni MorrisonOur historians specialise in nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century history, and our literary supervision takes in nineteenth century, modern, postmodern, contemporary and newly emerging poetry, prose and mixed media writing. For more information on our current research opportunities please visit: 

STUDENT RESEARCH - We welcome applications for PhDs, MPhil degrees and Masters by Research. You’ll be supervised by a team of at least two faculty members. If you are interested in applying for a research degree, please feel free to contact academic staff directly. 

Our current students are working on groundbreaking topics including the constitutionalism of the death penalty, Native American writing, activism and environmental justice, the poetics of the mid-century domestic space, black filmmaking in the age of Obama, the rise of digital anti-feminism, representations of mixed-race women in early 20th-century America, the work of Louisa May Alcott and Christina Rossetti, and the poetry of Charles Bernstein, AR Ammons, and Susan Howe. For contact details and research interests see: 

RESEARCH EVENTS AND RESEARCH SKILLS TRAINING - As a postgraduate student you will be part of a vibrant research community that brings faculty and students together regularly. You’ll participate in our research seminars, where visiting speakers and American studies staff and students come together to present and discuss papers based on their research. You’ll also develop your research and professional skills through sessions organised by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Graduate School. 

Course Modules 2019/0

As a postgraduate research student, your research degree will not contain modules.   


Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirement

To be accepted onto a doctoral degree, the standard minimum academic entry requirement is either at least a 2:1 from a UK undergraduate degree, a Master’s degree, or equivalent. Some research programmes might have higher requirements and the possibility of more specific requirements. Please take a look at our current PhD opportunities or our Faculty Graduate School and School pages to find out more.  

How to Apply

Please take a look at our information on how to apply. 

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515