Half of the programme utilises American Studies perspectives, which are typically organised around a theme. Ideas and theories about gender, ethnicity and race, and other forms of identity, are used to analyse American culture and to debate issues. Study in the first full academic year introduces you to the core ideas, such as American national character and the opportunities and challenges of modern multicultural America. The growing focus in the second academic year is cultural America, with a shift towards contemporary America in third academic year. The other half of the programme takes a firmly historical approach, beginning by introducing you to the core aspects of historical study, before going on to focus on specific periods or themes in American and modern history, such as the American South, slavery, the USA in the first half of the twentieth century and the USA in relation to the Cold War. In subsequent years, you choose from a variety of modules on modern history, including American, European and international topics.