How did Donald Trump become president? Is “America First” a betrayal of values, or a return to origins? Why are “This is America” memes so controversial? How did gun ownership become a central question of American politics? How did the U.S. dollar become the currency of global trade?
In American Studies, you’ll learn in depth about the popular culture, politics, history, literature, economics, race relations, and religions of the United States. And you’ll study the connections between the Americas and the wider world. American Studies is not only “American”—its international scope and inter-American perspective prepare you to lead in the global future.
Our entire program is taught in English by top-notch international faculty who will help you get acquainted with a range of academic disciplines. With America as your case study, you’ll develop essential skills in writing, speaking, and research-skills that you can apply far beyond the analysis of U.S. culture and politics.
The United States was once considered “the land of the future” --today, it’s the oldest continuously- existing democracy. An American Studies degree will help you understand the high stakes of the debates that animate global political and social movements today, so you can be an informed citizen of your country and the world.
You do not pay for your degree; you are expected to earn it.
The choice to study in Groningen was not easy, but it was a decision that has changed my life and moulded me into an ambitious, active, and adaptable student. I wanted to experience something very different to what many of my peers would experience. I have developed into a more independent student and grown very mature at a young age through my time in Groningen.
Academic and personal supports for international students at the University of Groningen have only developed and improved since I first arrived in 2012. From the International Student Office to monthly faculty borrels (a term you will become familiar with and happy to hear after hard day’s work) to the endlessly friendly and approachable staff members, your exciting new educational journey will be made more manageable and enjoyable throughout your time as a student.
However, you are still expected to be independent and innovative. By paying considerably less tuition fees than the average university student in the United Kingdom, you will sometimes feel the pressures to give more of yourself in your studies, and you will soon realise why the University of Groningen remains one of the top universities in the world: do not let the relatively low grade admission requirements fool you. The dropout or failure rate in my course, for instance, is high. You do not pay for your degree; you are expected to earn it. In the long-term, however, this is hugely beneficial, and something that employers will greatly appreciate.
The program has changed my perspective on the world around me
What brought me to Groningen was both its atmosphere, which immediately made me feel at home, and the interdisciplinary program that American Studies offers. The program allows me to combine many of my interests, such as art, sociology, history and cultural theory. The courses challenge me to ask questions, be critical, and to think creatively. Through discussions with fellow students and instructors, lectures and readings, American Studies in many ways has changed my perspective on the world around me. Additionally to American Studies, I got the opportunity to start the Honours Program in Philosophy, which I think will be a great addition. Studying American Studies has both deepened my understanding of phenomena, as well as broadened my horizon.
Vital skills and competences
After my graduation I decided to move back home to the UK and seek employment. Within a month of returning I was employed with the local government in Manchester as part of a large team responsible for managing west Manchester’s social housing stock. In my role I manage a team of 8 customer facing staff who offer advice and support on effectively managing their tenancies and providing advice on housing options. The transferable skills and generic competences I acquired during my studies have proven to be vital in making my career a success. For instance, writing effective reports, analysing data, and considering different perspectives have been a crucial part of my role. In the future I hope to complete a Master’s program at the University of Manchester and further develop my career in Britain’s social housing sector.
Plenty of ways to explore your interests
One of my favorite aspects of American Studies is the flexibility of the program. You can adapt the studies to your interests by choosing research subjects and elective courses. Whether you want to write about Beyoncé’s Black Panthers homage at the Super Bowl for the “Art of Protest” course, or finish your elective course on the Constitution with a case study on Guantanamo Bay, it’s all possible! Additionally, American Studies offers a great exchange program, which allows me to study at the University of Central Florida next year.
There are also plenty of ways outside of the studies to explore your interests. For example, I am the chairwoman of the Academic Committee of our study association EPU. Together with three other students, I organize lectures, conferences, and career events. I also get to explore my interest in public speaking by giving presentations about my studies at high schools and Open Days of the university. These are all great ways to strengthen your skills, expand your social life, and make your student experience an unforgettable one!
What I really enjoy is that we are well taught in academic writing, which, in combination with the other knowledge I acquire during this study, will greatly improve my perspective on the world.
My name is Megan Maartens and I am a second-year bachelor American Studies student. Before I started American Studies, I took a gap year during which I worked as student-assistant at the Amsterdam University of Applied sciences, took the pre-course for the school of music in Amsterdam, and travelled through New Zealand for three months. After half a year I was eager to study again, so I decided to move to Groningen and study American Studies. Even though I decided not to go to the school of music, singing and writing songs is still my passion.
The United States have always been a part of my life because a large part of my family lives there. The first time I went to the U.S., I was impressed by how different its culture was from the Netherlands. As I grew older and went there more regularly, I started noticing the cultural differences. My social media was flooded with news about cultural events but also social issues. I had no idea how to process this information until I found American Studies. The study teaches me how current social problems came to be, but also how that particular U.S. culture has emerged in the first place. One other aspect I really enjoy is that we are well taught in academic writing, which, in combination with the other knowledge I acquire during this study, will greatly improve my perspective on the world.
Are you at secondary school and want to know what studying at university is like? The American Studies programme is offering a web class! This online course from the University of Groningen is specially designed for secondary school students.
Are you interested? Please register here.