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.

Master North American Studies at Leiden University

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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.

Study abroad or do an internship

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

What are your career prospects?

The master’s programme in North American Studies prepares you for a wide range of careers in which well-developed analytical and other academic skills or specialised knowledge of U.S. history, literature, politics, and culture are valued. Our graduates pursue careers in the international job market in fields including teaching, journalism, IT, business, politics, government policy, publishing and research.

Find out more about your career prospects

Is North American Studies the programme for you?

Critical reflection on U.S. exceptionalism is a recurrent topic throughout the programme. Do you want to learn 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? Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme?

Check the admission requirements


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.

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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