The Master of Arts in American Studies is an interdisciplinary program aimed at qualified graduate students from Germany and around the world. American Studies at the HCA is characterized by exemplary and interdisciplinary teaching of U.S. culture and society:
- The curriculum includes courses from economics, geography, history, literary & cultural studies, political science, and religious history.
- The unique design of the MAS gives students ample opportunity to choose an individual configuration for their course of study, including multiple combinations of disciplines.
- Individual study plans may concentrate on disciplines from the humanities or the social sciences, or combine both.
The German academic calendar is divided into winter and summer semesters. Both the winter and summer term are divided into a course work period and a lecture-free period:
- The MAS is a four-semester program starting each winter semester.
- During the lecture-free period students are able to devote time to their papers and/or theses.
- The HCA concentrates the bulk of required course work during the first three semesters, with the fourth semester reserved primarily for the preparation of the M.A. thesis.
- Students earn 120 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points during the course of the program.
- A course handbook will be available by September 2018.
Suggested Order of Study
- Lectures deal with general and specific themes in American Studies and are taught by faculty of the respective academic fields both at the HCA and at the participating departments. In their Specialization Module students choose two of the individual disciplines represented at the HCA and take a seminar and a second course (seminar or lecture) each. In their Research Module students gain more in-depth knowledge in one of the two disciplines of their Specialization Module and take one seminar in that respective discipline. Students are free to use their Flexibility Module to earn credits in either their fields of specialization or in other disciplines offered in the program. In addition, the Practical Part of the curriculum allows students to earn credits in academic subjects outside of American Studies.
- Tutorials accompany some of the courses and deepen their content and concepts.
- The interdisciplinary MAS Colloquium provides a venue for MAS students to meet with renowned experts from various fields, such as politics, economics, journalism, or academia. Most are Americans who will talk about their current interests or most recent scholarship. The MAS Colloquium also serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of state-of-the-art research in a great variety of academic disciplines that make up the large and diverse field of American studies.
- The Interdisciplinary Seminars exemplifies the interdisciplinary approach of the HCA. It is organized and taught by scholars from two different academic fields. This joint approach enhances learning opportunities, as the students, and the professors themselves, are subject to and benefit from different – and sometimes conflicting – methodological approaches. The combination of analytical methods allows for deeper exploration of critical issues and stimulates lively discussion and consideration of the topic at hand, particularly at the intersection of disciplines.
- The Methodology Module consists of two classes. The seminar “Theories and Methods” focuses on American Studies as a discipline and introduces theories of the field. The Academic Writing class offers practice in writing, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.
- The Research Colloquium gives students the opportunity to present their M.A. thesis and receive helpful feedback both from their peers and advisors.
The "Examination and Study Regulations" (Prüfungs- und Studienordnung) for the newly designed four-semester program are currently being approved by the University’s boards and will be available soon.