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North American Studies

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

The MA programme's structure is as follows (60 EC):

Compulsory core course (10 EC)

Electives (30 EC)

MA thesis (20 EC)


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First & second semester

Thesis Seminar North American Studies 0
Thesis North American Studies 20

First Semester

Required course

Major Issues in American History and Culture 10


Deep Rivers: The Great Migrations in African-American History 10
American Identities, 1850 to the present 10
A Water’s History of the United States 10
Stage MA North American Studies 10

Second semester

Required course

Readings in American History 10


Migration Matters: (Im)migration, Memory, and Identity in American Literature 10
Arsenal of Democracy?: The United States and the World since 1945 10
Stage MA North American Studies 10

More Info

Programme information

In this programme you will study U.S. history, politics, and culture, including literature, film and other forms of cultural expression, as part of an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to American Studies and with a special (though not exclusive) focus on themes like emancipation struggles, human rights, migration, global interactions, US exceptionalism, and cultural identities. This approach enables you to discover connections between historical events and cultural and literary developments.. The focus of the program is on the United States, but not in isolation: in this programme we also study the U.S. in relation to other parts of the world.

The programme consists of four courses of 10 EC each and an MA thesis (20 EC), 60 EC total:

  • a required core course about Major Issues in American History and Culture (10 EC); students who start in February take the following core course: Readings in American History;

  • three elective courses, which gives a more in-depth understanding on some of the themes that are discussed in the Major Issues core course (total elective courses: 30 EC);

  • students can opt to replace one elective course by an internship (10 EC)

  • the programme will be completed with a 20 EC master’s thesis (including thesis seminar).

Fore more details, check the website for prospective students North American Studies

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