MA North American Studies

North American Studies: Culture and Literature

  • is a research-oriented MA program with a clearly structured, area-specific profile in which cultural and literary developments in the USA, Canada, and the Anglophone Caribbean are analyzed,
  • systematically interrelates literary studies from a culturally and media-specific approach with area-specific cultural studies and cultural history,
  • offers specific and general courses that are systematic and historically in-depth,
  • contains special courses that assist students in developing their skills in academic discourse (written and spoken),
  • lays the foundations for a successful doctorate, especially in American Studies or English Studies.

Program and Curriculum

The program starts in the winter term of each year and can be completed in 4 semesters. The curriculum equals 120 ECTS-points, 90 ECTS-points in ten modules plus 30 ECTS-points for the Master Thesis.

The Master program North American Studies: Culture and Literature systematically combines two closely related fields: cultural and literary studies. Both comprise specific courses with a systematic and historical accentuation in basic, intermediary, and advanced modules. The program is completed by two smaller survey modules in North American cultural and literary history, one basic module in academic language skills, and an interdisciplinary project module, which consists of a lecture series or conferenc. In the final semester of the program, students complete their Master Thesis within six months, focussing on a specific research question in cultural and/or literary studies.

A list of currently offered classes can be found in UnivIS.

Overview

Semester Module hours per week ECTS
1 (1) Basic Module Cultural Studies 2+2 10
(2) Basic Module Literary Studies 2+2 10
(3) Basic Module Language 2+2 10
2 (4) Intermediary Module Cultural Studies 2+1 10
(5) Intermediary Module Literary Studies 2+1 10
(6) Survey Module 2+2 10
3 (7) Advanced Module Cultural Studies 2+1 10
(8) Advanced Module Literary Studies 2+1 10
(9) Interdisciplinary Project Module 2 10
4 Master Thesis 30

Details

In the first semester, basic modules (1) and (2) provide the theoretical and methodological foundations for cultural and literary studies and thus a programmatic introduction to the Master program. These modules each consist of a lecture course in North American cultural or literary studies and a class in cultural or literary theory. Added is the basic module Language (3), assisting students in developing their skills in academic discourse in English.

In the second semester, the intermediary modules (4) and (5) examine the research areas of the program by looking at specific subjects and topics situated in cultural and literary history. These modules consist of a seminar and a class thematically related to the seminar with instructions for the self-study of texts in cultural and literary criticism. These classes build a bridge to the survey module (6), a lecture course in cultural and/or literary history.

In the third semester, advanced modules (7) and (8), which deepen knowledge by working on specific topics, encourage the development of students’ individual research perspectives, also with an eye to their final theses. These modules consist of an advanced seminar in cultural or literary studies and one Independent Study Group, which also serves as a preparation for the Master Thesis. In addition, students attend an interdisciplinary, thematically specific lecture-series or conference in North American studies (9, a selection of current conferences in American Studies can be found under “Links & Downloads“).

In the fourth semester students write their Master thesis, accompanied by a Master Study Group.

Skills

Our Master North American Studies helps you develop the following skills:

  • the ability to apply theories and methods of American Studies and of cultural and literary theory in general to specific research subjects;
  • the competence to contextualize, compare, and analyze cultural practices and expressions on the basis of an in-depth knowledge of the cultural and literary history of North America;
  • basic competences in the organization and communication of knowledge;
  • fluency in academic discourse;
  • independent and critical reflection skills, schooled by important paradigms in cultural and literary theory.

Professional Fields

Graduates of our MA program, with their culturally specific and comparative knowledge and their skills to analyze culture, are often active in the following professional fields:

  • political education;
  • international organizations;
  • cultural administration;
  • publishing houses and libraries;
  • publishing and journalism;
  • in fields at the intersection of economics, politics, and culture;
  • in addition, you are trained to continue your academic career with a doctorate and thus to become a professional academic.

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