History Short Period: America in the 20th Century (V1408)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

The modern United States emerged in the years after the American Civil War. On this module you will explore the forces that shaped the country in the twentieth century, focusing both on its internal transformation and its powerful influence on the rest of the world in a chronological manner.

You will study the degree to which the rise of the US as a global economic superpower was characterised by social dislocation, racial prejudice and class conflict in the domestic sphere.

You will also be introduced to the tensions that emerged as the US sought to extend its vision of democracy to the world throughout the century, including the degree to which its status as an atomic power raised the stakes in the ideologically polarised world of the Cold War, bringing the world close to the point of nuclear destruction.

The social and cultural challenges brought by ambitions for gender equality, the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 70s represent key questions of the module.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: