North American Studies: Culture and Literature (MA)

Dieser Studiengang wird nur in englischer Sprache angeboten.
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What is the degree program about?

North American Studies at FAU has always gone beyond narrow definitions of national borders, shaping a unique research and teaching profile where the USA are considered within a web of hemispheric and transatlantic relations.

Apart from the USA, Canada and the Anglophone Caribbean are important areas of teaching and research. With our focus on these regions and a transnational perspective, North American Studies at FAU combines area-specific cultural studies and cultural history, general cultural theory and literary studies from a culturally and media-specific approach, including literary theory and literary history.

North American Studies: Culture and Literature

  • is a research-oriented programme with a clearly structured, area-specific profile in which cultural and literary developments in the USA, Canada, and the Anglophone Caribbean are analysed
  • systematically interrelates literary studies from a culturally and media-specific approach with area-specific cultural studies and cultural history
  • offers specific and general modules that are systematic and historically in-depth
  • contains special modules that assist students in developing their skills in academic discourse (written and spoken)
  • lays the foundations for a successful doctorate, especially in American Studies or English
Admission requirements
  • A university degree in American studies or English studies (a substantial part of the degree must be relevant to aspects of American studies; this must be proven by a transcript of records)
  • A final grade of 'gut' (good – at least 2.5); applicants with a final grade between 2.5 and 3.5 must attend an interview
  • Proof of English proficiency at level C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (TOEFL 100, IELTS 7.0); German proficiency at level A1 (proof can be subsequently submitted in the first year of study if necessary.
  • Short essay (1,000–1,500 words) as described on the degree programme website
Structure of the program

North American Studies: Culture and Literature systematically combines two closely related fields: cultural and literary studies. Both comprise specific courses with a systematic and historical accentuation in basic, intermediary and advanced modules. The programme is completed by two smaller survey modules in North American cultural and literary history, one basic module in academic language skills and an interdisciplinary project module, which consists of a lecture series or conference sponsored by the North America section of the FAU Centre for Area Studies and co-organised by the students of the degree programme. In the final semester of the programme, students complete their Master's Thesis within six months, focusing on a specific research question in cultural and/or literary studies.

In the 1st semester students learn the theoretical and methodological foundations of cultural and literary studies in the basic modules, laying the groundwork for the further course of the degree programme. These modules consist of a lecture in North American cultural and literary studies and a class in cultural and literary theory. In addition, students take a basic module for language practice which helps them improve their ability to express themselves in academic English.

In the 2nd semester, the intermediary modules examine the research areas of the programme by looking at specific subjects and topics situated in cultural and literary history. These modules consist of a seminar and a class thematically related to the seminar with instructions for the self-study of texts in cultural and literary criticism. These classes build a bridge to the smaller survey module I, which consists of lectures in cultural and/or literary history.

In the 3rd semester advanced modules which deepen knowledge by working on specific topics encourage the development of students' individual research perspectives, also with an eye to their final theses. These modules consist of an advanced seminar in cultural and literary studies and an independent study group in which the topic of the Master's thesis can be planned. In addition, students attend a lecture series or conference module on an interdisciplinary topic in North American Studies.

In the 4th semester students write their Master's theses while attending a Master's thesis study group.

Specialisations and career prospects


North American Studies helps you to develop the following skills:

  • The ability to apply theories and methods of American studies and cultural and literary theory to specific research topics
  • Skills to contextualise, compare and analyse cultural practices and expressions on the basis of an in-depth knowledge of the cultural and literary history of North America
  • Fundamental skills in knowledge organisation and teaching
  • Academic discourse in English
  • Ability to reflect critically based on important paradigms from cultural and literary theory

Professional fields

Graduates of this degree programme are equipped with specific knowledge of cultural areas and skills in cultural analysis and can work in the following fields:

  • Political education
  • International organisations
  • Cultural management
  • Publishing and libraries
  • Journalism
  • In areas where business, politics and culture meet
  • Doctoral studies and academic careers (further research in American studies)
Degree program start date and application deadlines

Please find more detailed information on how to apply for a Master or advanced degree program on the following website:

Back to degree programs


Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree program: Winter Term
Language: Entirely in English
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology
Admission: Qualification assessment