BA in American Studies University of Groningen
How did Donald Trump become president of the United States? How did Nike sneakers become associated with "Black Lives Matter"? How did gun ownership become a central question of American politics? What do people really mean when they say gender is "performative"?
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 U.S. 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 a U.S. city like Orlando or Charleston, or at a leading university in Canada or Mexico.
First-year courses build a strong foundation in American culture and history, explore the relationship between the U.S. 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 course digs into the theme of identity, giving you new tools for thinking about race, class, and gender. Rhetoric and Composition I help you perform better in all of your courses by working on your writing and speaking skills in English. In U.S. Political Culture, you'll study the founding texts of American politics, and learn about democracy through hands-on debates about controversial issues. And 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.
- Rhetoric and Composition I a/b (10 EC)
- The Americas I a/b: The American Century and Beyond (10 EC)
- Theories of Culture I a/b: Race, Class, and Gender (10 EC)
- North & South Americans (10 EC)
- The Americas II a/b: New Frontiers (10 EC)
- U.S. Political Culture (10 EC)
In the second year, you'll deepen your knowledge of history, politics, and culture, with additional freedom to choose courses that spark your interest.
Theories of Culture II covers classic works of political and media theory that will help you think about problems in new ways. In Americas III, you'll learn about the roots of contemporary concerns, like racial justice and regional diversity, in the encounters and conflicts of the early modern period. Rhetoric and Composition II guides you through writing your first research paper on a topic of your choice. The spring is all about options. If you are into media and popular culture, you can take Media Specialization, which goes in-depth on the way technological changes shape the culture we consume. If you're more curious about economics and policy, check out the Global USA. Special Topics courses change every year, exploring topics like 'Canada's Cultural Mosaic', 'Failed Colonies', and 'Seeing Race in America'. Many 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.
- Rhetoric and Composition II: Constructing an Argument (5 EC)
- Theories of Culture: Political Theory (5 EC)
- The Americas III a/b: From Exploration to Early Republic (10 EC)
- Rhetoric and Composition II: The Research Paper (5 EC)
- Theories of Culture II: Media Theory (5 EC)
- Global USA: Business, Work, and Wealth (10 EC, optional)
- Media Specialization (10 EC, optional)
- Special Topics (choose 4 courses of 5 EC each) (20 EC)
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 Faculty or University Minor.
Your spring American Studies 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? You'll crown your studies with an intensive research project, the BA thesis. Choose the topic of your thesis, and work with peers and professors to write something you can be proud of!
- Minor (30 EC)
- Mobility, Migration, Transculturation (10 EC)
- Theories of Culture III: Consumer Nation (10 EC)
- BA Thesis (10 EC)
- Theories of Culture III: Sustainable World (5 EC)
N.B. Second and third-year courses might change during the academic year. Please check our website regularly for updates.
- 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 their choosing at one of our first-rated exchange partner institutions in the U.S.
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!
Program Tuition Fee
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.
- 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
- A 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 Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs