American studies (2016 entry)

Subject overview

  • American studies at Sussex is ranked 2nd in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2017).
  • We have an active and friendly research culture at all levels, including regular open seminars with guest speakers, and frequent symposia and academic conferences. Our postgraduate student community, including UK and US students, is vibrant and diverse.
  • Particular strengths include race and ethnic relations, labour history and slavery, the American Civil War, discourses of migration, aesthetic modernism, modern poetry, popular culture and 20th-century writing.
  • Sussex is home to the Marcus Cunliffe Centre for the Study of the American South. It also has close links with the Centre for Modernist Studies, here at the University. We have close associations with the leading literary journal Textual Practice and with the interdisciplinary journals Journal of American Studies, Atlantic Studies and The Sixties.
Specialist facilities

Our Library boasts one of the strongest American studies collections in Europe. Its large holdings are exceptional in history and literature. It has an array of electronic resources, including Early American Newspapers, African-American Newspapers, US government documents, and the Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice database. Microform archival collections include the Mattachine Society Papers, the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union Papers, and the Butler Plantation Papers. Manuscript collections include the Harvey Matusow Papers, the Kenneth Allsop Papers, and the Rosey Pool Papers.

Academic activities

Open seminars in subjects related to various Americanist topics – American popular music, history, critical theory, English literature, lesbian and gay studies, international relations, postcolonialism – are scheduled in addition to the regular American studies research seminar.

Programmes

  • PhD in American History
  • PhD in American Literature
  • MPhil in American History
  • MPhil in American Literature
MPhil in American History
MPhil in American Literature

An MPhil is a Masters-level research degree on a topic of your choice, achieved through personal research and the close guidance of an academic supervisor with relevant expertise. A highly flexible qualification, your MPhil can either be ‘stand alone’ or, via an upgrade examination, can form part of doctoral-level work, extending your thesis further and leading to a PhD.

To facilitate greater autonomy and develop a range of skills, all MPhil students are normally required to take one or more research training modules during the first year of their study.

Recent MPhil thesis titles

Savage desert, American garden: popular imagery in the selling of California, 1876-1929

Selective amnesia: truth and reconciliation in the American South

Assessment

You are assessed by a 40,000-word thesis.

PhD in American History
PhD in American Literature

Research applications are actively sought in the following areas: American poetry and fiction from the 18th century to the present, and the history of the US. We have specialist expertise in American modernism, postmodernism and the historical avant-garde, the history and literature of the American South, and of American literature since 1900. Proposals on other or related topics are welcome.

Recent PhD thesis titles

‘City of refuge’: Harlem and the urban aesthetic in 20th-century American literature 

Ronald Reagan and the mythology of American history

Entry requirements

MPhil in American History

UK entrance requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in history, literature or American studies.

For advice on research supervision, prospective applicants are encouraged to look at the research areas in the faculty interests section, and to contact the relevant Coordinator (see the School and Contacts section).

Overseas entrance requirements

If your country is not listed below, please contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

If you have any questions about your qualifications after consulting our overseas qualifications, contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

MPhil in American Literature

UK entrance requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in history, literature or American studies.

For advice on research supervision, prospective applicants are encouraged to look at the research areas in the faculty interests section, and to contact the relevant Coordinator (see the School and Contacts section).

Overseas entrance requirements

If your country is not listed below, please contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

If you have any questions about your qualifications after consulting our overseas qualifications, contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

PhD in American History

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

For advice on research supervision, prospective applicants are encouraged to look at the research areas in the faculty interests section, and to contact the relevant Coordinator (see the School and Contacts section).

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

PhD in American Literature

UK entrance requirements

A Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

For advice on research supervision, prospective applicants are encouraged to look at the research areas in the faculty interests section, and to contact the relevant Coordinator (see the School and Contacts section).

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

Visas and immigration

Find out more about Visas and immigration.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex

For pre-application enquiries:

Student Recruitment Services
T +44 (0)1273 876787
E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

For post-application enquiries:

Postgraduate Admissions,
University of Sussex,
Sussex House, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877773
F +44 (0)1273 678545
E pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

Fees and funding

Fees

MPhil in American History fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

PhD in American History fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

MPhil in American Literature fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

PhD in American Literature fees

Home UK/EU students: £4,1211
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,1212
Overseas students: £14,8003

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2016.

Find out more about fees

Visit Living costs

Scholarships

The sources of financial support listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual source of financial support to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

Visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016

Visit Career development and part-time work

We are in the process of updating funding sources for postgraduate study in the academic year 2016/17. For general information, visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2016.

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Faculty interests

Prof Stephen Burman
Professor of American Politics & History
S.F.Burman@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: International Studies & Relations

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Dr Natalia Cecire
Lecturer in English & American Literature
N.Cecire@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American Studies, English and American literature, Feminist theory, History and Philosophy of Science, Modern and contemporary American poetry

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Prof Robert Cook
Professor of American History
R.Cook@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: History, Political History

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Dr Sue Currell
Reader in American Literature
S.Currell@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American History, American Studies, Cultural History, English and American literature, Twentieth Century Literature

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Dr Tom Davies
Lecturer in American History
T.A.Davies@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: 'race' and class, African American history, American History, American Studies, History

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Prof Richard Follett
Professor Of American History
R.Follett@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American History, Atlantic History, Brazilian Football, Caribbean History, Emancipation, Historical Demography, Latin America, Plantation Societies, Public Health (Eighteenth & Nineteenth Centuries), Race Relations, Slavery, Sugar

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Dr Doug Haynes
Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Visual Culture
D.E.Haynes@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Affect Theory, American Modernism, American Visual Art, Critical Theory, Economic Theory, Fictions of Threat, Ideas of pornography, Ideas of security, Marxism, Modern and contemporary American literature, Postmodern Literature, Psychic phenomena as types of literature, Thomas Pynchon

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Dr Michael Jonik
Lecturer in English and American Literature
M.Jonik@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: African American literature and culture, American Philosophy, American Studies, Continental Philosophy, Critical Theory, Critical Theory and Marxism, Deleuze, Early American Literature, Emerson, English and American literature, Foucault, Henry James, History of science, Intellectual History, Melville, Nineteenth-Century American Literature, psychoanalysis, systems theory, Systems Theory; Control, The Transatlantic Enlightenment, Theory of mind, Thoreau

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Dr Daniel Kane
Reader in English & American Literature
Daniel.Kane@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Modern and contemporary American poetry, Popular Music, US cinema and popular culture

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Prof Maria Lauret
Professor of American Literature and Culture
M.Lauret@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: 20th C Americanisation in the US, African American literature and culture, Alice Walker, American feminism, American immigrant literature, American immigration, Bharati Mukherjee, Junot Diaz, multilingual literature, Richard Rodriguez

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Dr Katharina Rietzler
Lecturer in American History
K.E.Rietzler@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: 20th C history, American History, charity & philanthropy, Diplomacy & International Relations, History of international law, history of the social sciences, history of think tanks and expertise, International History, International Organization, International theory, Liberal internationalism, Postcolonial/Decolonial theory, Transnational history

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Prof Clive Webb
Professor Of Modern American History
C.J.Webb@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Anglo-American relations, Political violence, race and ethnicity

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Dr Tom Wright
Senior Lecturer in English
Tom.Wright@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American History, American Studies, Cultural History, English and American literature, Media & Communication Studies, Multimedia - sound, Nineteenth century literature and culture, Victorian literature

View profile

Careers and perspectives

Our graduates are lecturers, teachers and entrepreneurs; some have travelled to the US to pursue further research, others are working in the UK Higher Education system.

To find out more, visit Careers and alumni

Research training

The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.

Visit the Doctoral School website

Visit Stages of doctoral study

School and contacts

Contact us

MPhil, PhD in American Literature 

Laura Vellacott, Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator, 
School of English, Arts B, 
University of Sussex, Falmer, 
Brighton BN1 9QN, UK 
T +44 (0)1273 873429 
E l.vellacott@sussex.ac.uk 

MPhil, PhD in American History 

Fiona Allan, Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator,
School of History, Art History and Philosophy, Room 10,
Arts A, University of Sussex, Falmer, 
Brighton BN1 9QN, UK 
T +44 (0)1273 876612 
E f.m.allan@sussex.ac.uk

Visit the Centre of American Studies

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