Master American Studies Utrecht University

Utrecht University
Jaap Verheul

A one-year master’s program in American Studies Utrecht University, the Netherlands

"What then is the American, this new man?"
The perennial question that the French observer J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur formulated in 1782 has long been an intriguing starting point for the exploration of American culture and society. Although the search for American identity stood at the cradle of the discipline, American Studies no longer seeks to define exceptional qualities of the American Creed or essential traits of the American Mind. Rather, it now foregrounds the cultural interactions and negotiations within a multicultural and extremely diverse society.

The Utrecht program
The American Studies program at Utrecht University focuses explicitly on the political and cultural interaction between social and ethnic groups within the United States and on the global projection of American culture. The program uses a broad cultural concept, embracing cultural and political history, literature and the arts, and including both popular culture and intellectual history. This offers interdisciplinary vistas on concepts such as cultural hierarchy, cultural imperialism, cultural national identity, anti-Americanism and globalization.

Across Geographical and Disciplinary Borders The Utrecht American Studies program energetically builds on the educational expertise and multifaceted research identity of the Faculty of Humanities. Characteristic of humanities in Utrecht are its intensive cooperative efforts in education and research, especially across geographical and disciplinary borders. Shared interests are issues of cultural hierarchy, intellectual heritage, popular culture, mass culture and mass media.

Taught degree program
Language: English
Start: September 2012
Duration: 1 year, full time (60 ECTS)
Applications are accepted from 1 December to 1 April (EU/EEA students may apply until 1 June; in this case however, admission cannot be guaranteed.) Tuition fee EU/EEA: 1,771 euro (2012-2013) Tuition fee non-EU/EEA: 14,400 euro (2012-2013)

For more information about the current program and course outlines visit For online application, downloadable application forms, and information about Utrecht University please visit To learn more about the American Studies program at Utrecht University, please contact the program director, Jaap Verheul at

Courses offered

First semester (required)
- Introduction to American Studies (7.5 ects). An introduction to the discipline of American Studies and to the study of American culture from a European perspective. Participants will explore the specific history and methodological focus of this interdisciplinary field.
- Topics in American Diversity (7.5 ects). Explores American diversity by focusing on the experience of one or more ethnic groups in relation to multicultural America. The ethnic groups that serve as the focus of the course will be studied for their history, culture, and literature.
- American Studies Research Seminar (15 ects). Students explore one of the central debates in the field of American Studies. The central aim is to analyze academic discussions within a body of knowledge in preparation for the development of an individual research project.

Second semester
- Christianity in the United States (7.5 ects, elective). Offers a survey of American Christianity, and the ways in which religious beliefs and practices, identities and institutions intersect with class, ethnicity, or gender and secular institutions such as the state, the market, and the media.
- Gender and Diversity in US Culture (7.5 ects, elective). Offers an examination of gender and gendered formations in US culture in their intersections with race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class.
- Readings in American Studies (7.5 ects, elective). Content-intensive course that explores one theme or topic within American Studies in depth.
- American Studies Master's Thesis (15 ects, required). Supervised independent academic research in the field of American Studies. A wide range of topics can be considered.

Career perspectives
Graduates of the program are well prepared to hold policy-making positions in international institutions and corporations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, political institutions and interest groups. Graduates also find employment in research institutes, private businesses, international agencies and educational and cultural institutions. Furthermore, many American Studies graduates enter careers in the publishing and media industry, as journalists or in editorial positions for newspapers, magazines, television and radio.

Why opt for Utrecht?
Founded in 1636 and located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht University is one of Europe's leading research universities, recognized internationally for its high-quality, innovative approach to both research and teaching. Utrecht University offers a unique gateway to Europe and the world. One of Europe's leading research universities, Utrecht University is ranked best in the Netherlands, 12th in Europe, and 48th in the world by the prestigious Shanghai Academic Rankings of World Universities 2011. In the Times Higher Education Ranking Utrecht University is 1st in The Netherlands, 18th in Europe and 68th in the world. The internationally oriented Faculty of the Humanities is located in the beautiful old city centre.

International Environment
Every year, approximately 2.000 international students come to Utrecht University to take part in English-taught degree programs and other courses. With some 125 nationalities working and studying closely together, students learn to work in an international environment from the start - essential for scientists and scholars in an increasingly globalized world. Our demanding programs provide ambitious, dedicated international students the opportunity to learn and grow in a world-class academic environment. We encourage students to develop the best within themselves. Dare to excel.


Jaap Verheul

Drift 10
3512 BS Utrecht

Master American Studies Utrecht University, 01.09.2012 Utrecht, in: H-Soz-Kult, 24.01.2012, <>.
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