BA Program in American Studies

Short Introduction to the BA Degree in American Studies

American Studies at Leipzig offers students a multifaceted and challenging program that helps them acquire the sort of integrated expertise expected more and more in all sectors of the work world. The program explores the United States - its history, culture, politics, literature, and language - from multiple perspectives and in multiple contexts. Next to acquainting students with key international knowledge, courses in American Studies also teach them to think analytically, independently, and to express ideas clearly.

For a brief overview (in table format) of the BA Program, please click here.

The BA American Studies covers three branches: 1) Society, History, & Politics, 2) Literature & Culture, and 3) Language & Society. After acquainting themselves with these sub-disciplines of American Studies, students may specialize among the three, and they can focus on an additional thematic specialization around questions of Ethnicity & Diversity.

Society, History, & Politics

The modules on American society, history, and politics explore the themes in American history that have shaped the country until now, look at how the country practices politics and why, and examine the incredible diversity, tensions, and contradictions of American society.

Away from simple and misleading clichés, employers in business, media, culture, government, and international organizations are looking for people with solid and sophisticated knowledge about American history, politics, and society, knowledge that has a direct impact on German life, European affairs, and global developments.

Literature & Culture

This branch of American Studies introduces you to US literature and culture. At Leipzig, we work with a very broad concept of ‘literature’ that branches out from the classic genres of prose, drama, and poetry to all kinds of other ‘texts’ and forms of popular culture, from movies to mail-order catalogues, from cookbooks to video games.

From the very beginning of your courses, you will be acquainted with a broad variety of technical skills - the methods and theories of literary and cultural studies - to equip you for reading, understanding, and critically reflecting on the many different texts that are ‘American culture.’

Language & Society

The classes in this field are offered by our colleagues in English Studies. Language & Society introduces you to the study of the English language with a focus on American-English. Language & Society focusses on the ways in which language fits into the world: its social function, how it is acquired, how it is produced and perceived. For American-English, an emphasis is placed on the relationship between language and its social, cultural and geographical influences (for example, ethnicity, pop culture, regional differences) to stress the diversity and dynamism of American-English.

Ethnicity & Diversity

In two additional modules focused on Ethnicity & Diversity, students acquire an understanding of the United States as a multiethnic and multicultural space. They thus learn how to discuss the cultural productions of various ethnic groups in the contexts of their specific historical and cultural development.

Considering American Studies for Your Minor (Wahlbereich)

We encourage people to consider American Studies for a variety of Wahlbereich (Minor) options. We offer various options to permit American Studies to fit with your overall study goals. For example,

We offer a so-called “Kleiner Wahlbereich” where you can combine any three modules of your choice.

You can also select a so-called “Grosser Wahlbereich” consisting of six modules of your choice. This “Wahlbereich”-option is one of the official ways to qualify for the MA Program in American Studies.

Lastly, you can select any combination of modules that best fits your study plans, from a single module upwards.

In making your choices, you are free to “sample” between the different concentrations (Literature & Culture; Society, History, Politics; Language & Society; and Ethnicity & Diversity), and “mix-and-match” as suits your interests.

To keep in mind while planning for your courses in American Studies is both the language requirement and the prerequisite courses necessary to enroll in some of the advanced modules.

If you want to ensure that you can take American Studies as your minor, please consider choosing it as a “Wahlfach” (“elective subject”).

You can also download the following document to learn more about your options for building a minor in American Studies: