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MA North American Studies

Leiden University Faculty of Humanities

Full time September, February MA Full-time: 1 year

About the course

Taking an integrated approach to the study of the United States, the master's programme in North American Studies at Leiden University focuses on key areas in U.S. history, culture, and literature, with special attention to the influence of the past on contemporary social, political and cultural developments.

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.

Key areas of the programme

The key areas and major issues in the history, literature and culture of the U.S.that the programme explores in-depth include:

  • Slavery and African-American emancipation struggles;
  • U.S. political history and international relations;
  • Immigration and ethnicity;
  • Identity and

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Entry Requirements

A bachelor’s degree from a university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic bachelor’s degree, or demonstrate to meet the requirements for such a degree. Sufficient command of English (IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 (internet-based) or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)). This language requirement does not apply if you have: completed your education in Canada (except Quebec), USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia, or an International Baccalaureate, or a Dutch VWO-diploma.

Course Content

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Student Profile(s)

Lexi Cleveland

4829.jpg As an American, I am understandably interested in finding out more about what makes America tick. Leiden’s program really appealed to me because it takes a holistic approach to America by examining history, culture, and contemporary politics. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students from many fields, such as history, international relations, and literature, all come together to build a deeper understanding of the multiple facets of American topics. Even though I am a historian by trade I found that I actually really liked taking classes on literature as it helped me to understand familiar topics in new ways. I can say, in all sincerity, that I had a wonderful experience studying at Leiden. North American Studies is a relatively small program which allowed for me to become great friends with all of my classmates. Moving abroad to study means having to make a new network of friends in an unfamiliar culture; although this seemed daunting at first students were actively working to befriend each other from the very start. Likewise, not only are the faculty members experts in their fields but they are also wonderful mentors who take a real interest in meeting the needs of their pupils. There was a real sense of community within the program and both faculty and peers went out of their way to help me succeed. Overall, I highly recommend studying in Leiden to anyone looking for an academic challenge as well as lifelong friendships.

Leiden is an excellent city to study in as it is simultaneously quaint and lively. Leidenaars tend to embrace and enliven their history as can be seen in the city’s many wonderful museums and celebrations. Every Wednesday and Saturday an outdoor market with a carnival feel is held which makes grocery shopping a social event. Leiden is small enough that you are always seeing friendly and familiar faces any time you enter town and the locals make everyone feel welcome and at home. If you are into indoor activities, Leiden has plenty of cute, niche shopping boutiques as well as cinemas and cozy restaurants. If you are into the outdoors Leiden does have a few green spaces that are perfect for having picnics and enjoying natural scenery and the beach is just a bike ride away. Even if you don’t like small town life, being located in-between Amsterdam and The Hague means you are only ever a few minutes away from bigger cities.


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