Postgraduate taught 

War Studies MSc

The Vietnam War In American History And Culture HIST5064

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

During this course we will examine both America's war in Vietnam and also the war that took place at home in the United States over American involvement in Southeast Asia. The first part of the course will explore the key decisions and justifications that led the US to escalate the war in Vietnam, before then analysing how the war was fought. The second part of the course will then examine the war's political, cultural, and social effects on American society. From the experiences of Vietnam veterans, explored through oral testimonies and memoir, to representations in literature, cinema, art and music, we will take a wide ranging look at how the conflict shaped the cultural and social landscape of the United States, both for those who fought, and those who witnessed the war through the media at home. Through a broad and wide-ranging base of primary sources, we will discuss the lasting impact of this long and troubled conflict upon the history and identity of America, right up to the present day.


2 hour seminars per week x 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Essay (2,500 words) - 100%

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to the history of American involvement in the Vietnam War and the conflict's legacy in the United States

■ Offer the opportunity for students to develop interdisciplinary methodologies and techniques

■ Introduce complex historical debates and interpretations, to develop skill in interpreting primary sources where appropriate

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain the history of American involvement in Vietnam and comprehend American policies and experiences resulting from engagement in the Vietnam War;

■ apply the varied and contentious historiographical interpretations of America's war in Vietnam

■ assess how and why the Vietnam War has had such a profound effect upon American society and culture, and what this reveals about the late twentieth century United States;

■ work with a variety of source materials (primary and secondary) on this subject in essays and examination.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the courses summative assessment.