American Studies at the University of Groningen is an interdisciplinary study program that deals with the history, culture, economy, politics, and literature of the American continent, and is, interestingly, in this field the only complete Bachelor program in the Netherlands. The program is taught by internationally-renowned professors, and is entirely in English.
American Studies courses require students to think critically and do a lot of independent research. Students are obliged to attend the program’s three major courses:
1) “The Americas” encompasses the continent’s history (although with a clear emphasis on the United States). The two first year “The Americas” courses deal with the eras 1900-present and 1800-1900, and the second year course discusses 1492-1800. After having followed these three courses, students will have gained a good grip on America’s comprehensive history and will be able to fit their knowledge into contemporary events.
2) “Theories of Culture” will allow students to get a clearer sense of America’s fascinating culture. The first year course, “Race, Class, Gender,” teaches them how these concepts have been, and still are, present in the United States. Second and third year courses of this major course are respectively called “Media and Popular Culture” and “Consumer Nation.”
3) In “Rhetoric and Composition” (which is both a first and a second-year course) students will learn how to write proper essays and how to give good presentations. This course will be extremely helpful when writing a Bachelor’s Thesis, as well as in a student’s future career.
Besides these mandatory courses, the American Studies program allows its students to tailor-fit the curriculum to fit their own academic and personal interests. In both the first and second year, “Special Topics” are offered, which could, for example, deal with the relationship between Europeans and Indians; the way war is represented in literature; the American Constitution; the 1960s in the United States; or the manner in which the Europeans failed to maintain their American colonies. Moreover, students can choose between 32 minors, which have to be attended in the first and second year.
Students are allowed to apply for an exchange with an American university that will take place in the first semester of their third year. Possible universities include the University of Charleston (South Carolina), Central Michigan University (Michigan), Furman (South Carolina), and Chapel Hill (North Carolina). The exchange has proved to be very interesting and fun, and is above all a wonderful way to learn even more about the United States. More information on the Exchange program can be found through this link, and reports from students who went on an exchange can be found here.
After graduating the program, students might find jobs in journalism, business, culture and arts, the public sector, or education.
For more information about the Bachelor American Studies program, visit the official University page here.
Our website also offers first-hand accounts from American Studies students and graduates accessible through this link.