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MA in North American Studies




What will I learn?

The master’s programme in North American Studies at Leiden University takes an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to the study of the United States, with a particular emphasis on examining key aspects of American history, culture, and literature, from a historical perspective and within an international context.

Why study North American Studies at Leiden University?

The Leiden programme offers a diverse and international learning environment. While the programme focuses on the U.S., you will also explore the role the U.S. plays in the region and in the world, as well as the impact of the region and the world on developments in the U.S. Some of the key areas and major issues in the history, politics, literature and culture of the U.S. that the programme explores in depth and from a multidisciplinary and historical perspective include:

  • Slavery, migration, and emancipation movements;
  • The history and politics of international relations and human rights;
  • Immigration and ethnicity;
  • Identity constructions and memory politics.

An important aspect of the programme is learning how to conduct independent multidisciplinary research, comprehend and apply theoretical insights, learn about and engage with scholarly debates, and take a critical approach to all materials. Critical reflection on U.S. exceptionalism is a recurrent topic throughout the programme.

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University

What our graduates do

The master’s programme in North American Studies prepares you for a wide range of careers in which well-developed analytical and other academic skills or specialised knowledge of U.S. history, literature, politics, and culture are valued. Our graduates pursue careers in the international job market in fields including teaching, journalism, IT, business, politics, government policy, publishing and research.

Positions held by Leiden North American Studies graduates since 2014 include:

  • History teacher at a high school
  • English teacher at a high school or a university
  • PhD candidate in American history, University of Edinburgh
  • Project Coordinator Funding & Events at TU Delft
  • Junior Policy Officer Ministry of Foreign affairs, Brussels
  • Policy Officer/Researcher at Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate
  • Trainee Information Manager, Ypublic
  • Vice President for Client Services, Early American history and interactive programming, ARtGlass, Richmond, VA
  • Collections Manager and Curator, John Ruskin Home Brantwood, Cumbria, UK
  • Freelance researcher and writer with De Correspondent

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (1 Year)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (US$ 18,867) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2023

More details

Start date

Expected September 2023


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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