University College Dublin | An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath

UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland | Director: Professor Liam Kennedy

Global Irish Civic Forum
June 2015

Prospective Students

    President Clinton addresses the Institute Sept 2010

Graduate Diploma in American Studies

We are now accepting applications for 2017/'18

Because of the United States' unrivalled status in the world today, the debates on American values and the mission of American democracy have become a matter of global concern. This programme introduces students to advanced study of American culture and politics, in both domestic and international contexts.It is a multidisciplinary programme that promotes study of the interactions of cultural social and political factors.

The Graduate Diploma is taught over two semesters, students are required to take 60 credits during this time. No thesis is required. The programme draws on the expertise of UCD faculty across a number of departments, as well as that of the Professor of American Studies and the contributions  of visiting scholars.


Applicants for the Graduate Diploma should hold one of the following qualifications:

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Course Outline (2016/17) Provisional

This is a provisional list of modules that will be offered and is subject to final confirmation and scheduling arrangements. Some modules may also have a 'cap' placed on them.

Compulsory Modules


America and Globalization AMST 40010 (10 credits)

This course will explore aspects of globalization with a particular focus on the role of the United States in the development and maintenance of a new global order.  It covers key issues and debates: the transformation of state power and changing patterns of global governance; the global expansion of a market economy and issues of inequality; the globalization of media and communication; the emergence of transnational and postnational cultures; the makeup of the global city; and anti-globalization and new social movements.

American Studies Seminar  (5 credits)

This seminar will focus on selected issues and themes of contemporary American Studies research, drawing on faculty and Institute-directed research projects as case studies, and provide all postgraduate students with opportunities to present working papers on their dissertation/thesis research.


The American Political Tradition AMST40290 (10 credits)

This module traces the evolution of American political thought and practice over time.  Special emphasis will be placed upon the many areas of continuity and linkage, and the occasional moments of discontinuity, between the various political traditions.  Students will also be encouraged to draw upon these ideas to better understand how Americas think about politics today.  Concepts to be explored include the Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian conceptions of federalism, populism, Progressivism, the New Deal, the evolution of the democratic and Republican parties and the emergence of the modern conservative movement.

American Culture AMST40410 (10 credits) 

Hegemonic but never monolithic, American culture has always been produced through intellectual, political and social conflict.  These conflicts have arisen from debates around citizenship, ever-evolving identity politics, the lasting cultural impact of America's founding, and the role of religion in forming the United States' sense of itself.  There has never been consensus on the nature of the American project, and it is in the production of culture that this becomes most apparent.  This module will proceed from an intrinsically interdisciplinary perspective, examining a range of cultural projects, historical and contemporary, from literature, film, music, architecture and visual art, journalism and new media.  It will address particular areas of generative cultural debate, from foundational conflicts around the establishment of American polity and the emancipation of marginalised or subjagated peoples, to frameworks

American Politics Today (5 credits)

This module examines contemporary American politics from a variety of perspectives in order to impart a sophisticated understanding of the ways in which the system operates at the national level. Drawing upon literature from history and political science, the writings of prominent political observers, and video and social media content, the module will explore three interrelated and overarching themes. One is the fact that the United States is in a period of transition. The country is growing increasingly diverse, a fact which is celebrated by some, especially on the left, and a cause for concern among others, especially on the right. In addition, income inequality is growing and has reached levels last seen during the Gilded Age (and which would be unthinkable in other advanced nations). The possibility that American influence abroad has begun to recede fuels the uncertainty that has accompanied these changes. A second theme of the module is the problem of gridlock. Even though Americans frequently complain about the inability of their elected representatives in Washington, D.C. to accomplish anything, especially in light of the challenges facing the country, there seems to be little prospect of more cooperation anytime soon. One frequently suggested reason for this is the increased level of ideological homogeneity in the two main parties. The final theme of the module, then, will be an examination of the nature of the Democratic and Republican Parties, including the principal policy goals and political culture of each.  

Research Skills and Methods AMST40080 ( 10 credits)

This module will introduce students to key components of research skills and methods germane to American Studies.  These will include: interdisciplinary study methods; topics, frames and fields of study; locating and using primary and secondary sources; citation and bibliographical skills; oral and audio-visual presentation skills; and library use.


Optional Modules - These will vary from year to year and are taught in other Schools

Foundations of US Foreign Policy (10 credits)

Challenges in US Foreign Policy (10 credits)

Chick Flicks (10 credits)

Stardom and Celibrity (10 credits)

Documentary (10 credits)

Media Theory and Culture (10 credits)

20th Century US Foreign Pollicy (10 credits)

Latin American Politics (10 credits)

American Theatre 10 credits

Post Modern Writing 10 credits

Contemporary American Fiction 10 credits

19th Century American Writing 10 credits


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Student Assessment

The Graduate Diploma will be assessed by means of course work for the modules by essay at the end of each semester, but this may vary.

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Teaching and Tuition

Each module tutor will provide students with documentation setting out the structure and content of the module.

Modules will normally consist of weekly two-hour seminars. These are group discussion classes where students are expected to bring up issues arising from their independent study.

Tutors will also be available to discuss individual students' written assignments.

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Provisional Fees 

Course Details EU Students     Non-EU Students
Graduate Diploma in American Studies Full Time €5,200



Application Procedure for Graduate Diploma

Applications are now being accepted online, to apply visit

Please note you will need to have the following documents to support your application

If you have any questions on the process please contact,, or tel +353 7161560

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