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PhD American Studies and History

University of Nottingham

Designed for those interested in the examination of American history and historical studies, this course is located in a department with interdisciplinary strengths that allow for creative approaches to American history.

History is the study of change and continuity over time. In examining the American past, the Department of American and Canadian Studies has strengths in American social, cultural, and political history, including diplomatic history and intellectual history. The department’s strengths also include expertise in race, gender, and sexuality.

Our work reflects and leads a growing transnational agenda and research students are encouraged to think about America in a global context. We have long-standing experience and expertise in supervising PhDs to successful completion.

Particular areas of research specialism include:

A PhD in American Studies and History is mainly made up of independent study, with supervision meetings spread throughout the year.

The PhD involves a minimum of three years full-time or six years part-time directed research, at the end of which you will produce an 100,000-word thesis on your chosen subject. The topic will be agreed with your supervisors (usually two co-supervisors). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce, where you explain your project in depth to an examination panel.

You will attend research training sessions and weekly graduate 'work-in-progress' seminars, led by the research student community. They are an opportunity for everyone to present their ongoing research to their peers, supervisors and invited members of academic staff and research students. The idea is that you receive feedback and support from this community.

All periods of registration are followed by a period of writing-up (called the thesis-pending period) when tuition fees are not paid and students are writing up their thesis.

All students take part in annual review assessments to ensure that their project is progressing satisfactorily. An annual review usually consists of a written report.

For full-time students, the first year is probationary (first two years for part-time students), and the first year annual review involves a viva with an independent internal assessor.

The Department of American and Canadian Studies offers:

We also offer a programme of visiting speakers and regular symposia organised by staff and students.

You will be encouraged to organise and attend conferences, act as editors for postgraduate journals, and publish book reviews and articles. Many former students have successfully turned their PhDs into books with major presses including Oxford University Press, Manchester University Press, University of California Press, University of Illinois Press, Routledge and Palgrave.

There are regular opportunities to take part in outreach activities, public talks and departmental events. In addition to serving as Departmental Outreach and Engagement Coordinators and Directors of our LGBT and Black History Month programmes, students are given logistical and financial support in order to run their own conferences and organise a week-long research retreat.

Students also act as teaching assistants, after appropriate teacher training offered by the university and the school. Teaching Assistants are supported and monitored by module convenors, the Chair of Teaching Committee and the Director of Research.

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They will be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

You can find our academics listed across three broad themes:

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Listed below are the documents required to apply for this course.
£21,500 Per Year

International student tuition fee

3 years


Sep 2024

Start Month

Aug 2024

Application Deadline

Upcoming Intakes

  • September 2024
  • September 2025

Mode of Study

  • Full Time