The master’s degree program “American History, Culture and Society” is a research-oriented and highly flexible program of study. It offers advanced knowledge on historical, social, cultural, literary, economic and political topics in the USA as well as Canada and encourages its students to develop and pursue individual research interests. In order to complete the 120 credit point program, nine modules have to be taken over the course of the first three semesters. The fourth semester is dedicated to writing the master’s thesis.
Faculty teaching in this program have particularly strong research credentials in the fields of history, literature, media and visual culture, popular culture, gender, race and ethnicity, technology, and cultural theory. Students developing research projects are encouraged to place them in a transatlantic, transnational or global framework and to use comparative or interdisciplinary approaches.
The program consists of three basic modules: “American Studies,” “Literature and Media” and “History and Society.” Students can specialize in the fields of literary, media or historical studies, or they can combine them. They may also get up to 18 credit points in the third semester in a wide range of disciplines (e.g. history, literary studies, cultural studies, gender studies). For most of these programs excellent German language skills are needed and special requirements may apply. Students wishing to enter the program need to meet certain requirements.
Each semester students take courses from the compulsory module “American Studies (Fields, Topics, Research Traditions)” as well as courses from two optional modules: “Literature and Media” or “History and Society”. They may focus exclusively on one area, or they may combine the two. In order to gain 30 credit points, students have to choose two out of four optional modules offered each semester.
In the third semester, instead of choosing optional modules at the Amerika-Institut, students may alternatively get 18 credit points from the Profilbereich / Profile Area of subjects (e.g. English, German, History, Gender Studies, Comparative Literature, Theatre Studies, and others). Please note that this is an either/or choice. Either you get 18 credit points at the Amerika-Institut OR from the Profile Area. For most of these subjects excellent German language skills are needed and special requirements may apply.
The modules in this program include different types of courses: research-oriented advanced seminars, reading courses, lectures providing introductions, foundation courses dedicated to questions of methodology and theory as well as independent study projects.
1. A copy of a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) from a regionally accredited university or university-level institution. If the program has not yet been completed, a transcript of records from the fifth semester indicating the completion of 150 credit points must be submitted. As part of this application process, unofficial copies may be submitted.
2. A transcript of records listing all courses completed in the study program.
3. Proof of English language skills at the C1-level of the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”.
4. A writing sample in English or German from the previous study program on a topic related to the USA or Canada (not more than 5 pages).
5. A research-oriented essay in English on either one of the two following topics:
Discuss a topic related to the history of cities and urban space in the United States from the 19th, 20th or 21st century.
Discuss a topic related to the representation of cities and urban space in U.S. American literature, media or visual culture from the 19th, 20th or 21st century.
The essay should not be longer than five pages (2000 words). It should not be an overview or summary, but an argumentative essay. It must include five secondary sources; only one of which may be a web-based source (however, it’s ok to use scholarly articles or books that you can access through an online database such as JSTOR).
The selection committee will review all applications. After the final decisions have been made, all applicants will be informed. All international students should please pay attention to the special information below.
Important information for international students:
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