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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 memory politics.

An important aspect of the programme is learning how to conduct independent interdisciplinary research, comprehend and apply theoretical insights, learn about and engage with scholarly debates, and take a critical approach to all materials. Opportunities are available for an internship (for example at the Roosevelt Institute of American Studies at Middelburg, which is affiliated with Leiden) or study at a university in the U.S. or Canada.

Learn from acclaimed researchers

During your studies you will learn alongside talented and highly-motivated students in an 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.

Career prospects

The MA North American Studies programme prepares students for a wide range of careers in which well-developed analytical skills or specialised knowledge of U.S. history, literature, politics, and culture are valued. 

Leiden University Humanities graduates do very well in the international job market. A master's degree enhances the career prospects of all bachelor's graduates, as does relevant work experience during their studies and choosing their electives strategically.

The MA in North American Studies offers excellent preparation for students seeking a profession that requires advanced analytical skills and specialised knowledge of U.S. history, literature, politics, and culture. Our graduates have pursued successful careers in research and in public, private and non-profit organisations.

Some positions held by our graduates include:

  • Owner of a publishing house
  • Teacher of English at a secondary school
  • Functional applications manager at a government organisation
  • Communications officer
  • Freelance writer and researcher
  • Assistant conference manager at a company specialising in data analysis
  • Editor at an academic publishing house
  • Product manager at a software company

Visit the MA North American Studies page on the Leiden University website for more details!

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