BA American Studies

General

Program Description

How did Donald Trump become president? Is “America First” a betrayal of values, or a return to origins? Why are “This Is America” memes so controversial? How did gun ownership become a central question of American politics? How did the United States dollar become the currency of global trade?

In American Studies, you’ll learn in-depth about the popular culture, politics, history, literature, economics, race relations, and religions of the United States. And you’ll study the connections between the Americas and the wider world. American Studies is not only “American”—its international scope and inter-American perspective prepare you to lead in the global future.

Our entire program is taught in English by top-notch international faculty who will help you get acquainted with a range of academic disciplines. With America as your case study, you’ll develop essential skills in writing, speaking, and research skills that you can apply far beyond the analysis of American culture and politics.

The United States was once considered “the land of the future” --today, it’s the oldest continuously- existing democracy. An American Studies degree will help you understand the high stakes of the debates that animate global political and social movements today, so you can be an informed citizen of your country and the world.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • Think Independently: American Studies at UG is the only program of its kind in the Netherlands. Because we're a freestanding program (not part of the History or English Departments), every course is designed to look at America from multiple angles. Faculty experts in fields like political history, literature and media, religious studies, and Latin American culture will help you to form your own views on America and the world.
  • Connect at the University of Groningen: In our small seminars and close-knit intellectual community, you can learn and challenge yourself with the help of classmates, faculty, and our knowledgeable Study Advisor.
  • Connect Abroad: With our network of partner institutions, you can spend a semester working on your BA and experiencing American culture and politics first-hand in an American city like Orlando or Charleston, or at a leading university in Canada or Mexico.

Program

Year 1

In the first year, courses build a strong foundation in American culture and history, explore the relationship between the United States and the world, and prepare you to tackle college writing. In Americas I and II, you'll learn how the U.S. became a global superpower, and about the origins of the modern Democratic and Republican parties. Theories of Culture I explore how the social movements of the 1960s transformed American society and changed the way the world thinks about race, class, and gender.

In North and South Americans, you'll read classic Latin American and Canadian literature and go in-depth on pressing issues like immigration, trade policy, and the War on Drugs. And you'll have the chance to choose from among a slate of exciting elective courses such as “The United States of T.V.” and “Canada's Cultural Mosaic.” You will gain a high level of oral and written competency in English through the program's Rhetoric and Composition course which will prepare you to effectively give presentations and write argumentative essays for the program's other English-taught courses. In addition, you can tailor-fit the curriculum to fit your interests through the Special Topics courses that are part of the degree.

Courses

  • Rhetoric and Composition Lab (10 EC)
  • The Americas Lab: The American Century and Beyond (10 EC)
  • Theories of Culture Lab: Race, Class, and Gender (10 EC)
  • Special Topics Ia (5 EC)
  • North & South Americans (10 EC)
  • The Americas IIab: New Frontiers (10 EC)
  • Special Topics Ib (5 EC)

Year 2

In the second year, you'll deepen your knowledge of culture and politics, reading classic works of the theory that will help you think about problems in new ways. In Americas III, you'll learn about the roots of contemporary concerns in the encounters and conflicts of the early modern period. In Political Cultures, you'll learn about the challenges of democratic governance and the way media and technology shape political participation.

Second-year students also have more freedom to choose among exciting elective courses on topics like media and popular culture, geopolitics, or religion and everyday life. Assignments in these courses go beyond the academic essay: whether you're recording a TED Talk, writing an editorial, designing an exhibit, or helping to develop an app, you'll use your skills in analysis, research, and writing in new ways.

Courses

  • Rhetoric and Composition IIab (10 EC)
  • The Americas IIIab: From Exploration to Early Republic (10 EC)
  • Theories of Culture IIab: Media and Popular Culture (10 EC)
  • Special Topics II (10 EC)
    • Political Culture (10 EC)
  • Global USA: Business, Work, and Wealth (10 EC, optional)
  • Media Specialization (10 EC, optional)

Year 3

The third year consolidates your learning and prepares you for life beyond, whether in the workforce or a Master's program. In the fall, you can study abroad, take on a placement in the Career Minor, or take courses in another department by pursuing a University Minor.

Your spring courses address evolving global challenges, in which the Americas play a central role: why do people migrate? what does it feel like to live between two cultures? how did “consumer” become so central to modern identity? how are globalization, technology, and climate change transforming capitalism? Finally, you'll crown your studies with an intensive research project. Choose the topic of your thesis, and work with peers and professors to write something you can be proud of!

Courses

  • Minor (30 EC)
  • Mobility, Migration, Transculturation (10 EC)
  • BA Thesis (10 EC)
  • Theories of Culture IIIab: Consumer Nation (10 EC)

Curriculum

The second and third-year courses might change during the academic year. Please check our website regularly for updates.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 16 weeks
  • Study abroad: a minimum of 30 ECTS.

Studying abroad in the United States during the first semester of your third and final year is an asset to the American Studies experience at The University of Groningen. Selected students can enroll in a variety of courses of your choosing at one of our first-rated exchange partner institutions in the United States.

This is your opportunity to experience first-hand everything you have studied in the classroom, a truly enriching opportunity for students, both academically and personally!

Entry requirements

Choice of the degree program check

If you intend to start with a bachelor's degree program at the University of Groningen in September, make sure to apply before May 1 in Studielink. The degree program will give you the option to participate in a matching activity to see if you and the degree program are a match. Which matchings activity they provide depends on the faculty and program.

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
language test Minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Language Center English Test (LCET) level C1 (B2 for no more than two components)
previous education Dutch VWO diploma, a German Abitur, an International Baccalaureate diploma, a European Baccalaureate or another diploma that is sufficient for acceptance to a Dutch university. Students with a Dutch 'HBO propedeuse' diploma also need to meet the language requirements mentioned above.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2021 01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 9500 full-time

The Dutch government intends to halve the statutory tuition fees for specific groups of first-year bachelor's students starting from the 2018/19 academic year.

Job prospects

Journalism and Media

Use your knowledge of U.S. history, culture, and politics to write for international media outlets, or build new platforms for new audiences.

Business and Banking

Your ability to think, write, and speak confidently in English, coupled with your deep knowledge of U.S. economic, cultural and commercial policies and practices, make you an asset to companies seeking to expand into the Dutch, European, and U.S. markets.

Arts and Culture

Your cross-cultural experiences and English skills can serve you well in roles like organizing cultural programs for a museum, guiding visitors for a travel organization, helping international workers integrate into the Netherlands, or launching your own cultural enterprise.

Government and the Public Sector

Your subject-matter expertise in U.S. socio-political affairs and strong English skills transfer readily to positions in local, national, and international governance. Consider working for an embassy, local or national government office, or NGO.

Communications and Public Relations

American Studies teaches you how to analyze difficult problems and craft a message that will speak to your audience--that’s what the fields of Communication and Public Relations are all about. Our graduates work in communications roles for businesses, governments, and non- profit organizations.

Management Consulting and Human Resources

Put your strong analytical, communication, and writing skills to use helping businesses and organizations assess internal challenges and manage change constructively.

Job examples

  • Editorial staff for TV at EenVandaag
  • Municipality Spokesperson
  • Communications Advisor Digital & Public Diplomacy at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Adviser at European and Regional Affairs
  • Freelance journalist for BBC
  • Policy Advisor for Art and Culture for local government
  • Creative Director at VidMedia (corporate films) City Council Member
  • Policy Researcher at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Research Approach and Themes

The research carried out by the Department of American Studies, by and large, mirrors the main concentrations in our educational agenda. At the heart of our research efforts, and hence of our curriculum, are three separate themes:

  • Early American culture and history
  • Contemporary socio-political issues
  • Popular culture and media studies

Given the nature of American Studies, the key distinguishing feature of our research as well as in our teaching is that it is truly interdisciplinary in approach in which the individual researchers actively work across different disciplines and methodologies as opposed to, for example, research on American topics carried out in the History Department, which would generally reflect historical approaches only.

The same is true for our teaching agenda: individual teachers are required to be versatile in more than one discipline as all major survey courses combine a range of disciplinary areas, approaches, methodologies, and data sets. Aligned with our teaching practices, our research is generally problem-driven as well as theory-driven. That is to say, we explore specific issues that are controversial, contested, or under-investigated, and then seek to resolve these issues through the generalization of our findings, incorporating elements associated with both the structure and the process of the phenomena we study. Among the themes we are currently exploring are:

  • Contemporary migration and mobility issues in the Americas
  • Alliance cultures in the modern media landscape
  • Cultural memory and popular culture
  • Circum-Atlantic reconstructions the era of the eighteenth-century Revolutions
  • Transnational perspectives on the idea of “America” and the Americas (both in historical and contemporary contexts)

Research Team and Projects

Within the Department of American Studies, research is facilitated by five senior researchers and four Ph.D. students. Please visit the Faculty Roster and the Faculty Projects sections of the Departmental website to view a listing of current American Studies faculty members and their individual research initiatives.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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