Universiteit Leiden

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North American Studies (MA)

About the programme

The multidisciplinary one-year master’s programme in North American Studies provides students with comprehensive knowledge of North American history, literature, film, and culture and their connection to contemporary social, political, literary and cultural developments in an international perspective.

For a detailed programme, please check the Prospectus.

Please note that this prospectus applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

You may also choose to participate in an exchange programme at one of the  universities in the U.S. or Canada with which Leiden University has an exchange program at the postgraduate (MA) level, for example, Rutgers University or the University of Calgary. Note, however, that the deadline for application for study abroad is December 1 for the following academic year. Participation in an exchange program therefore will normally involve extending your studies for at least one semester. The International Office of the Faculty of Humanities will help you make the right decision for your time studying abroad.

The core course Major Issues in American Studies explores the major issues and scholarly and theoretical debates in the field of American history, politics and culture. At the end of this course, you will write a historiographical essay on a few key scholarly works related to the topic of your master’s thesis.

The elective courses provide an in-depth analysis of a particular subject covered by the core course. You will carry out research within these seminars, using, for example, primary source materials (e.g., historical documents, literary works or films), digital and conventional archives, published documents and/or critical and theoretical sources. Subjects regularly taught include:

  • The Great Migrations in African American history;
  • Post-9/11 Literature, Film and Memory Culture;
  • Human rights and U.S. History;
  • The Rise and Decline of American Empire;
  • Graphic Narratives and Autobiography;
  • Immigrant and minority literature and film;
  • Environmental history and Climate fictions.

An MA thesis concludes the programme. You will be guided through the process of writing your MA thesis in a thesis seminar and in frequent individual meetings with your thesis supervisor.

Sara Polak

University Lecturer

Sara Polak

"North American Studies in Leiden is characterized by a multidisciplinary and integrated approach, in which we really try to combine historical approaches with literature, culture and politics of primarily the United States. Most of the courses in one way or another focus on the question of American exceptionalism, which we critically reflect upon. Slavery and emancipation movements, as well as international relations and human rights, migration, ethnicity, cultural identity, and environmental justice are themes that are important in the programme."

Admission and Application

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

Check the entry requirements

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