About the course

Our BA Politics & International Relations and American Studies degree will transform your understanding of the world’s most powerful and influential nation, the United States. These two complementary paths of study explore the politics, history, society and culture that shape America and they situate that country within a politically and culturally globalised world.

In American Studies, you will explore American society through literature, historical documents, music, film and television. These will help you to understand America in different ways: by exploring regional differences between areas such as the South and the West and considering the cultural significance of the city in American life; and by focusing on a variety of key themes which have shaped American life, such as revolution, the environment, war, protest and race.

In politics & international relations you will explore the central challenges that American and international politics faces in the 21st century. You will consider why contemporary politics seem so focused on security and how gender and racial discrimination shapes societies. You will gain an independent, critical and nuanced insight into global issues beyond ‘fake’ news stories and one-sided political narratives.

Here at Hertfordshire, as well as learning about political and cultural theory, you’ll be doing rigorous and creative thinking of your own. Our internationally regarded academics will help you learn to address the arguments of others, to understand and engage with them so that you can arrive at your own conclusions and create your own original work.

You will be taught by experts who work at the cutting edge of their research disciplines and will share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community.

You will be able to undertake a placement or study abroad year to gain professional experience or increase global awareness to build skills relevant to your studies in Politics & International Relations and American Studies.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations 2019 Programme specification 2 BA (Hons) American Studies

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • A flexible programme of study across two complementary disciplines that allows you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • Exceptional teaching by academics conducting world-leading research
  • Innovative courses that enable you to understand the rewarding connection between these two disciplines
  • Transferable skills built through work placements, internships and extra-curricular activities
  • The chance to study for a year at one of our many partner institutions across the world
  • The unique opportunity of spending half of your second year studying at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and completing your degree in in three years.

Course details

What job can I get?

The study of both politics and American studies teaches you to ask penetrating questions and identify flawed arguments – skills sought by many employers. At Hertfordshire, you’ll develop other transferable skills, such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to communicate ideas in a structured, productive way. 

Our graduates have an excellent record of securing roles in a range of industries including the civil service, the media, publishing and information management. 

For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. Many graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

A​ll Humanities students have the option to gain valuable career experience through a work placement or a year studying abroad.

Teaching methods

Our politics and American studies students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. Our interactive seminars and workshops help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills.

You will have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. We offer extra-curricular modules in debating and model United Nations. Our Film Club and Oral History Team will allow you to make connections with students from across the School while also exploring different facets of your studies in a social environment.

Study Abroad

A natural step from studying politics and international relations alongside American culture is to spend time experiencing it for real. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. As a student of American Studies, you will also have the unique opportunity of spending a semester abroad in the second half of your second year, studying at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. After this, you would return to UH to complete your degree in three years.

Wherever you choose to study, immersing yourself in a host country enhances your learning, giving you a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies, and a deeper understanding of their everyday lives.


  • Year 1
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Introduction to American Studies 15 Credits Compulsory
    Making America: Studies in American Culture and Society 15 Credits Compulsory
    Introduction to Politics 30 Credits Compulsory
    International Relations Theory 30 Credits Compulsory
    American Voices: Introduction to US Literature and Culture 15 Credits Compulsory
    Leisure and Lifestyle: 20th Century American Music, Sport and Entertainment 15 Credits Compulsory
    Introduction to Strategy 30 Credits Optional
    Contemporary British Politics 30 Credits Optional
  • Year 2
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Graduate Skills 0 Credits Compulsory
    Comparative Political Systems 30 Credits Optional
    Modern Political Philosophy 30 Credits Optional
    Security and Governance 30 Credits Optional
    We, the People: Democratic Theory and Practice 15 Credits Optional
    The State in the 21st Century 15 Credits Optional
    Political History: Milestones, Change and Continuity 15 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points

    A Level





    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    21/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    20/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    21/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students