Universiteit Leiden

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North American Studies (MA)

The master’s programme in North American Studies at Leiden University takes a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the United States, with a particular emphasis on examining key aspects of American history, culture, and literature.

Start in February 2024

You can apply now to start the programme in February. The deadline is 15 October for students who need a visa or residence permit, and 15 November for students who do not.

An introduction to the programme by Dr. Sara Polak

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Why study North American Studies at Leiden University?

The Leiden programme offers a diverse and international learning environment. While the programme focuses on the U.S., you will also explore the role the U.S. plays in the region and in the world, as well as the impact of the region and the world on developments in the U.S. Some of the key areas and major issues in the history, politics,  literature and culture of the U.S. that the programme explores in depth and from a multidisciplinary and historical perspective include:

  • Slavery, migration, and emancipation movements;
  • The history and politics of international relations and human rights;
  • Immigration and ethnicity;
  • Identity constructions and memory politics;
  • Environmental justice.

An important aspect of the programme is learning how to conduct independent multidisciplinary research, comprehend and apply theoretical insights, learn about and engage with scholarly debates, and take a critical approach to all materials. Critical reflection on U.S. exceptionalism is a recurrent topic throughout the programme.

Internship or study abroad

Students are encouraged to do an internship, either in the Netherlands (for example at the Roosevelt Institute of American Studies at Middelburg) or abroad (for example at the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in the U.S.). Opportunities are available for study at a university in the U.S. or Canada.

Learn more about the study programme

Learn from acclaimed researchers

During your studies you will learn alongside talented and highly-motivated students in a diverse and international classroom setting. Classes are kept relatively small to allow for a high level of interaction with your instructors, all of whom are internationally acclaimed researchers in the field of American Studies, and to facilitate a research-led learning environment.

More reasons to study North American Studies in Leiden


LUNAS (Leiden University North American Studies) is the study association for students in and alumni of North American Studies in Leiden. LUNAS helps new North American Studies students to find their way in and around the university and the city. In addition, LUNAS organises social, cultural and networking events for current students and alumni. For more information, visit the Instagram page of LUNAS.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme?

Check the entry requirements

North American Studies degree

North American Studies at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a master’s degree in North American Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 17 Culture, sports and recreation
  • 17 Government and semi-government
  • 17 Research
  • 8 IT
  • 8 Media and journalism
  • 8 Education
  • 8 Publishing
  • 8 Financial institutions
  • 8 Wholesale and retail
  • 1 Other

The graph above is based on alumni data from the MA in North American Studies 2016-2020.

Find out more about the career prospects

Listen to Dr. Andy Gawthorpe's podcast America Explained which gives an international perspective on American politics, foreign policy and culture.

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