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American Studies (History)

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In American Studies at the University of Amsterdam, we study the United States – from inside and out – historically and with an eye toward the present. We explore politics and foreign policy, but also the culture that has influenced and reflected the world.

Interdisciplinary and international

The Master's in American Studies at the UvA is a one-year programme, taught entirely in English. We are based in the history department, but our students come from many disciplines. You will study alongside students from a wide range of backgrounds, such as literature, media studies, cultural studies, sociology and art history. Interdisciplinary pollination means our field of inquiry is broad: Moby-Dick and Mickey Mouse, the sentimental novel and the war on terror. We study American politics, but also the power of culture.

Why study American Studies at the UvA?

  • Our approach is international. ‘America’, as dream or nightmare, is an outsider’s myth as well as a concrete reality; international perspectives have always informed American Studies as a field. Our students gain a deeper understanding of America’s hidden histories, from colonisation to global empire.
  • Excellent career prospects. You will learn to conduct research with archival and cultural sources, and to write with eloquence and force in English. As a graduate you are qualified to move on to a PhD, and to work in a range of professional fields.
  • Amsterdam. The city was itself a model for progressive American intellectuals a century ago. It became a key entrepôt for American culture and commerce: from the Marshall Plan to the American music that still blasts from every bar.
  • Today this major European cultural centre is an ideal vantage point from which to study the United States, closely or from a critical distance. American Studies is a lively community in a bustling city.

Unique strengths of the programme include:

  • Interdisciplinary: work with students from many intellectual backgrounds
  • Individual: craft an original thesis on a subject of your own choosing
  • Excellent career prospects

The character of the American Studies programme:

The program's intensive seminars explore a broad array of sources and scholarship, from classic texts to current dilemmas. Our goal is to equip students to pursue their own interests and to discover new ones. You will be challenged to become better readers, better researchers, and better writers.

Career prospects

After graduating you have learned to conduct research with archival and cultural sources, and to write with eloquence and force in English. You have also learned to relate academic knowledge to the contemporary world. You will be equipped to work in a range of professional fields.

Student profile

As a student in the Master’s programme in American Studies, you will be expected to have the following knowledge, skills, and insight:

  • You have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and have taken academic courses equivalent to at least one full-time semester of academic studies (30 ECTS) in American history, society, culture, literature, media, or politics.
  • You are eager to grapple with scholarship in different fields. By following an interdisciplinary program based within a history department, American Studies students can pollinate their historical sense with the approaches of other disciplines, and bring a historical sensibility to bear on the present and future.
  • You know how to formulate inquiries into primary sources, how to gather materials, and how to make your way to an original argument. You are also committed to good and lively writing.

Studying full-time or part-time

You can study the Master’s degree in American Studies on a part-time basis. This option allows you to follow a maximum of 30 EC per year (12-18 EC per semester). The courses are spread over two years. As a part-time student, you take the regular courses alongside the full-time students.  Please consult the programme coordinator for an individual academic plan.

Facts & Figures
Degree programme MA History
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time, part-time
Credits 60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 66034