The American Studies programme at Canterbury Christ Church University is widely recognised as one of the most successful in the United Kingdom, whether in terms of the high standard of the teaching on offer, the quality of the student learning experience, or the breadth and multi-disciplinarity of the curriculum that ranges from the colonial period and the American Revolution to the Presidency of Barack Obama and America's so-called "culture wars" over issues such as immigration, gun control and capital punishment. The programme explores many facets of US history and society as well as examining America’s role in the world, including US foreign policy in Latin America. In the last round of HEFCE teaching quality assessments - the university sector's equivalent of OFSTED - American Studies at Christ Church was judged as "excellent". The assessors gave particular praise to the wide range of options available in the programme and the excellent staff-student relations. This range has recently been extended further with new courses starting in 2013 including a history of lynching and racial violence, and a history of the CIA in 2014. The American Studies team at Canterbury Christ Church University prides itself on offering a popular and dynamic programme that is constantly evolving to keep up to date with events in the USA - such as the recent re-election of President Obama and the impact of the financial downturn on American society and culture. In two of the last three National Student Surveys ‘overall student satisfaction’ with the degree course was 100%. American Studies students also have several opportunities to study in the USA or Canada, ranging from a short annual field trip to a major US city such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago, to a summer school in Year 2 or a semester or year studying at a university or college in North America in Year 3. These options provide an excellent range of experiences for students and add greatly to their self-confidence, CV and employability. Students decide in Year 2 whether they want to study in North America in Year 3. Further information is available here. Students taking American Studies benefit from a very friendly environment where the staff are concerned, above all, that the subject should be enjoyable and useful. A major aim of the programme is to enable students to develop the skills, knowledge and experiences that will help them to achieve a good degree, which benefits them after graduation. There is a variety of coursework assessment approaches – not just essays – and there are no exams in American Studies.
Learning and teaching techniques used on the programme include lectures, seminars and workshops (including student-led seminars and workshops held in classes and conducted on the University virtual learning environment), tutorials, reviews, reflective logs, document and artefact analyses, independent readings and investigations, bibliographical annotations, and students‘ self-directed learning.