American Studies students spend their third year at a US or Canadian university.

Studying American Studies abroad for a year

If you are an American Studies student (single and joint-honours) or Law with American Studies, you will spend your third year at a US or Canadian university. The year abroad is an essential and compulsory component your degree.

These universities have been carefully selected for their academic standard, pastoral and administrative support, and cultural and geographical environment.

You need to pass modules you take while you're abroad. Marks will count towards your overall degree classification. Find out about the marking system.


To be eligible to go on the year abroad, you must demonstrate continued good academic standing on your course. As long as you carry out the work required, attend tutorials and seminars, and submit essays on time, this average grade should be possible to achieve.

You will need an average of at least 50% in formal assessment in the first year of your course, and mantain a good academic standing. Some of our partner universities require students to have achieved higher grades.

Academic programme

The advantage of studying in the USA and Canada is the wide range of courses offered to you. You also do not need to stick to one particular Major or Faculty/School (unless required by the other university).

American Studies (single and joint honours) students can choose modules abroad that have an American topic, including Hispanic history and literature, Native American, Asian American, African American and Canadian studies. Choices range from Politics, History, Gender Studies, English, Sociology and more.

If you’re studying Law with American Studies, the modules you will study abroad will be a mixture of pre-Law and any that have an American topic component. Choices range from Criminology, Politics, History, Gender Studies, English, Sociology and more.

The level of courses are divided in lower and upper-division. Lower-division courses would normally correspond to Years 1 and 2, whereas upper-division are more for Years 3 and 4.

All modules need to be assigned a grade, which will count towards your degree classification. This means you should not take modules which are pass/fail only. We will give you more information about the academic programme during the
meetings we arrange in Year 2.

Preparing for your year abroad

You will be invited to meetings and can also talk with returning final year students, who can give you valuable insight. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn more, so you are prepared and confident.

If you can't attend these sessions, you should contact the Sussex Abroad team so that you still receive all the information you need for your study abroad experience.

How to apply to study abroad at a university 

At the start of your Year 2, you will be asked to complete a preference form which will include:

  • a list the universities you want to be considered for
  • a personal statement
  • any adjustments you need to declare.

The deadline for submitting you preference form will be October or November. 

This is an internal process between you and Sussex. The form is not shared with our partner universities.

After the deadline has passed, we will start assessing all the forms received. We aim to give you a conditional place at one of your chosen universities, and will communicate with you through your Sussex email address.

Allocations to certain universities can be very competitive. Be flexible, as you could be allocated to any of your choices.

After the allocations have been announced, you will be nominated to the partner university and complete a formal application with them. This process can last from January until May, depending on the partner university.

Additional applications, such as for housing, a visa and other administrative arrangements, will happen during Spring semester in Year 2. It is important that you keep on top of these and make sure you meet any deadlines.

If you have any queries you can contact the Sussex Abroad team.

Where can I study

See the list of partner universities available to American Studies students. These require 24 credits for a full year unless indicated otherwise.  


Important: Not all of our partner universities are available every year, and the list below is subject to change.

Many of these institutions have very limited availability, with 1 or 2 spaces per university. You should keep your options open when selecting the institutions you’re interested in studying at.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Withdrawing from a study abroad year

The Study Abroad Year is very highly valued and considered to be a central part of your degree course. However, it is recognised that there may be grounds for exemption from it in individual cases based on personal circumstances.

You may apply for exemption on personal grounds, such as a health problem (a medical certification or counselling report will be necessary), family commitments involving a ‘duty of care’, or severe financial difficulties. Applications on personal grounds must always be discussed fully with the School’s Director of Student Experience before a decision can be reached.

All requests for exemption must normally be made by 28 February before the Study Abroad year starts. To apply for exemption, complete the Exemption from the integrated study abroad year [DOCX 27.61KB]

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