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.
By dividing the program into various modules, the HCA has three goals for students:
- To acquire and deepen the latest subject-specific knowledge and research methods of the individual disciplines.
- To implement multi- and interdisciplinary approaches, and to demonstrate the synergistic potential of such approaches.
- To practically apply methodological and research skills in order to make graduates competitive in both the academic and the non-academic international job market.
The M.A. program “American Studies” is comprised of:
- A study plan (Kernfach)
- An examination module
The study plan encompasses:
- A subject-specific component
- A section on building “comprehensive competencies”
The subject-specific component of the program is divided into four parts:
- Main modules: Students choose two of the HCA’s offered disciplines as core disciplines in which they will develop and deepen their subject-specific knowledge and skills. Main modules in the chosen disciplines come with a minimum of one seminar that will be exclusively available to M.A. students, as well as an additional course (in either lecture or seminar format). Students can select their core disciplines freely. They may combine two fields from the humanities or from the social sciences, or they may choose to traverse academic disciplines. All combinations are possible.
- Research module: After finishing the main modules, students complete a research module in order to immerse themselves more fully in one of their two core disciplines. For the research module, students will participate in a seminar offered exclusively to M.A. students. In an “Independent Study” format, students will autonomously work through and discuss with their professor an assigned reading list. This will usually serve as preparation for writing the M.A. thesis.
- Flexibility module: In the flexibility module, students may choose 12 credits worth of courses from any discipline offered in the program. For these elective credits, any combination of courses is allowed. Students can either choose to broaden their understanding of American Studies with classes outside of their core disciplines, or they can choose to focus more deeply on their primary areas of interest.
- Interdisciplinary module: The interdisciplinary module serves to promote an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and demonstrate the synergistic potential of such an approach. Students will take part in an interdisciplinary seminar offered by instructors from two different disciplines, as well as a two-semester interdisciplinary colloquium in which variegated topics and approaches from the field of American Studies will be discussed.
The section of the program on “comprehensive competencies” is divided into the following three parts:
- Methodology module: In this module, students will deepen their understanding of the theoretical and empirical methods of American Studies, as well as develop their academic writing skills.
- Cross-cutting perspectives: In this module, students will take courses outside of the area of American Studies. These courses may either be related to or independent from the disciplines of American Studies. Language course credits also count toward this module.
- Mobility window: The mobility window provides students with the opportunity for intensive and practical engagement with their degree in American Studies. Students can complete an internship in a relevant field, or can choose to study abroad in order to foster cultural understanding and strengthen intercultural competencies. For students interested in pursuing an academic career, completion of a teaching assignment can also be counted toward this module, provided the assignment does not concern a constituent curricular component of the HCA’s B.A. or M.A. programs.
The program concludes with the examination module:
- Examination module: With the completion of a Master’s thesis in the same area as their research module, students will have acquired specialized knowledge in a particular area of American Studies and will have demonstrated the ability to use academic methods to work on and research a topic independently. The particulars of the M.A. thesis are described in section 7.11 of the Modulhandbuch. Completion of the thesis takes four months during which students will present an outline of the thesis to their peers at a research colloquium. After completing the thesis, students will take a 60-minute oral final exam. Additional details about the exam are covered in the exam regulations.
|First Semester (28 credits)||Second Semester (30 credits)|
Main module I
Main module II
Main module II
|Third Semester (28 credits)||Fourth Semester (34 credits)|
The "Regulations for Admission" (Zulassungsordnung), the "Examination Rules and Regulations" (Prüfungsordnung) as well as the "Module Handbook" (Modulhandbuch) for the newly designed four-semester M.A. program are currently available in German only. Only the official German versions are legally binding.