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Education Bachelor's degree programmes American Studies
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American Studies

How did Donald Trump become president of the United States? How did Nike sneakers become associated with "Black Lives Matter"? How did gun ownership become a central question of American politics? What do people really mean when they say gender is "performative"?

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.

Facts & Figures
BA in American Studies
Course type
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
Language of instruction
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Think Independently: American Studies at UG is the only program of its kind in the Netherlands. Because we're a freestanding program (not part of the History or English Departments), every course is designed to look at America from multiple angles. Faculty experts in fields like political history, literature and media, religious studies, and Latin American culture will help you to form your own views on America and the world.
  • Connect at University of Groningen: In our small seminars and close-knit intellectual community, you can learn and challenge yourself with the help of classmates, faculty, and our knowledgeable Study Advisor.
  • Connect Abroad: With our network of partner institutions, you can spend a semester working on your BA and experiencing American culture and politics first-hand in a U.S. city like Orlando or Charleston, or at a leading university in Canada or Mexico.

First year courses build a strong foundation in American culture and history, explore the relationship between the U.S. and the world, and prepare you to tackle college writing.

In Americas I and II, you'll learn how the U.S. became a global superpower, and about the origins of the modern Democratic and Republican parties. Theories of Culture I digs into the theme of identity, giving you new tools for thinking about race, class, and gender. Rhetoric and Composition I helps you perform better in all of your courses by working on your writing and speaking skills in English. In U.S. Political Culture, you'll study the founding texts of American politics, and learn about democracy through hands-on debates about controversial issues. And in North and South Americans, you'll read classic Latin American and Canadian literature and go in-depth on pressing issues like immigration, trade policy, and the War on Drugs.

CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Rhetoric and Composition I a/b (10 EC)
The Americas I a/b: The American Century and Beyond (10 EC)
Theories of Culture I a/b: Race, Class and Gender (10 EC)
North & South Americans (10 EC)
The Americas II a/b: New Frontiers (10 EC)
U.S. Political Culture (10 EC)

In the second year, you'll deepen your knowledge of history, politics, and culture, with additional freedom to choose courses that spark your interest.

Theories of Culture II covers classic works of political and media theory that will help you think about problems in new ways. In Americas III, you'll learn about the roots of contemporary concerns, like racial justice and regional diversity, in the encounters and conflicts of the early modern period. Rhetoric and Composition II guides you through writing your first research paper on a topic of your choice. The spring is all about options. If you are into media and popular culture, you can take Media Specialization, which goes in-depth on the way technological changes shape the culture we consume. If you're more curious about economics and policy, check out Global USA. Special Topics courses change every year, exploring topics like 'Canada's Cultural Mosaic', 'Failed Colonies', and 'Seeing Race in America'. Many assignments in these courses go beyond the academic essay: whether you're recording a TED Talk, writing an editorial, designing an exhibit, or helping to develop an app, you'll use your skills in analysis, research, and writing in new ways.

CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Rhetoric and Composition II: Constructing an Argument (5 EC)
Theories of Culture: Political Theory (5 EC)
The Americas III a/b: From Exploration to Early Republic (10 EC)
Rhetoric and Composition II: The Research Paper (5 EC)
Theories of Culture II: Media Theory (5 EC)
Global USA: Business, Work, and Wealth (10 EC, optional)
Media Specialization (10 EC, optional)
Special Topics (choose 4 courses of 5 EC each) (20 EC)

The third year consolidates your learning and prepares you for life beyond, whether in the workforce or a Master's program. In the fall, you can study abroad, take on a placement in the Career Minor, or take courses in another department by pursuing a Faculty or University Minor.

Your spring American Studies courses address evolving global challenges, in which the Americas play a central role: why do people migrate? what does it feel like to live between two cultures? how did “consumer” become so central to modern identity? how are globalization, technology, and climate change transforming capitalism? You'll crown your studies with an intensive research project, the BA thesis. Choose the topic of your thesis, and work with peers and professors to write something you can be proud of!

CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Minor (30 EC)
Mobility, Migration, Transculturation (10 EC)
Theories of Culture III: Consumer Nation (10 EC)
BA Thesis (10 EC)
Theories of Culture III: Sustainable World (5 EC)


N.B. Second and third year courses might change during the academic year. Please check our website regularly for updates.

Programme options
Minor (minor)

The fifth semester of your studies is dedicated to your Minor: a coherent set of future-oriented course units.

It prepares you for a follow-on Master's degree program or for entering the labour market. You can opt for a Career Minor, a Minor abroad, a University Minor or a Faculty Minor.

More information about this option

University of Groningen Honours College (honours program)

The Honours College will give talented, motivated students the chance to be challenged even more by following Honours programmes and taking part in numerous other activities.

The Honours College comprises a broadening part and a deepening part and has a study load of 45 ECTS credit points besides the 180 ECTS credit points from your regular Bachelor programme.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 16 weeks

Study abroad: a minimum of 30 ECTS.

Studying abroad in the United States during the first semester of your third and final year is an asset to the American Studies experience at The University of Groningen. Selected students can enroll in a variety of courses of your choosing at one of our first-rated exchange partner institutions in the U.S.

This is your opportunity to experience first-hand everything you have studied in the classroom, a truly enriching opportunity for students, both academically and personally!

For more information regarding exchange locations, please visit the Department of American Studies website at

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • VWO Natuur & Techniek

    If you have passed the VWO (pre-university education) exam in English, you satisfy the language requirement.

  • VWO Natuur & Gezondheid

    If you have passed the VWO (pre-university education) exam in English, you satisfy the language requirement.

  • VWO Economie & Maatschappij

    If you have passed the VWO (pre-university education) exam in English, you satisfy the language requirement.

  • VWO Cultuur & Maatschappij

    If you have passed the VWO (pre-university education) exam in English, you satisfy the language requirement.

  • HBO propedeuse

    Language requirement English: Minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 180.

    For more information, see:

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is optional. The advice is not binding.

Explanatory notes

The Faculty of Arts believes students can decide for themselves whether they match with their chosen program based on the available bachelor program information, by visiting the Open Days, and by participating in a Webclass and/ or Student for a Day. If you are unable to attend one of these activities, a final opportunity for matching is to contact one of the students of the program in June.

If you have any further questions about matching, check out:

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202401 September 2024
EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024

Choice of degree programme check

The Faculty of Arts believes students can decide for themselves whether they match with their chosen program based on the available bachelor program information, by visiting the Open Days, and by participating in a Webclass and/ or Student for a Day. If you are unable to attend one of these activities, a final opportunity for matching is to contact one of the students of the program in June.

If you have any further questions about matching, check out:

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Dutch VWO diploma, a German Abitur, an International Baccalaureate diploma, a European Baccalaureate or another diploma that is sufficient for acceptance to a Dutch university. Students with a Dutch 'hbo propedeuse' diploma also need to meet the language requirements mentioned below.

other admission requirements

English language requirement: Minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). Cambridge C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 180.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202401 September 2024
EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202401 September 2024
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2023-2024€ 2314full-time
non-EU/EEA2023-2024€ 11200full-time

The Dutch government is halving tuition fees for first-year students in higher education.

Practical information for:

After your studies

If you want to continue with a Master's degree programme after your graduation, as most students do, you will have a wide range of programmes to choose from. With a Bachelor's degree in American Studies, you have access to the following Master's tracks at the University of Groningen:

Job prospects

As an American Studies BA student, you'll learn to

  • Stand for Something - Want to understand what's behind the news headlines? The program's thematic focus on the history, theory, and technologies of democracy will help you become an informed citizen of your country and the world.
  • Go Deep – Rigorous training in history and cultural analysis will help you approach real-world topics with critical insight and historical perspective.
  • Smash the “Thought Bubble” - The world doesn't stop at the borders of a university department, or behave according to the rules of a particular group--so our students learn to examine questions from every angle.
  • Write and Speak with Confidence - Our writing courses (Rhetoric & Composition I and II) will polish your English language skills, giving you the freedom to work in the Netherlands or internationally.
  • Make a Splash - Innovative classroom assignments let you engage with different audiences and platforms: record a TED talk, create a Tumblr site, write an editorial--it might even get published!
  • Join the Conversation - Top-notch international professors prepare you to engage in cutting edge research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Our BA students have presented at local and international academic conferences, and recent graduates have gone on to PhD programs at Brown University and the University of Michigan.

Journalism and Media
Use your knowledge of U.S. history, culture, and politics to write for international media outlets, or build new platforms for new audiences.

Business and Banking
Your ability to think, write, and speak confidently in English, coupled with your deep knowledge of U.S. economic, cultural and commercial policies and practices, make you an asset to companies seeking to expand into the Dutch, European, and U.S. markets.

Arts and Culture
Your cross-cultural experiences and English skills can serve you well in roles like organizing cultural programs for a museum, guiding visitors for a travel organization, helping international workers integrate into the Netherlands, or launching your own cultural enterprise.

Government and the Public Sector
Your subject-matter expertise in U.S. socio-political affairs and strong English skills transfer readily to positions in local, national, and international governance. Consider working for an embassy, local or national government office, or NGO.

Communications and Public Relations
American Studies teaches you how to analyze difficult problems and craft a message that will speak to your audience--that’s what the fields of Communication and Public Relations are all about. Our graduates work in communications roles for businesses, governments, and non- profit organizations.

Management Consulting and Human Resources
Put your strong analytical, communication, and writing skills to use helping businesses and organizations assess internal challenges and manage change constructively.

Job examples

  • Editorial staff for TV at EenVandaag
  • Municipality Spokesperson
  • Communications Advisor Digital & Public Diplomacy at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Adviser at European and Regional Affairs
  • Free-lance journalist for BBC
  • Policy Advisor for Art and Culture for local government
  • Creative Director at VidMedia (corporate films) City Council Member
  • Policy Researcher at Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Research Approach and Themes

The research carried out by the Department of American Studies, by and large, mirrors the main concentrations in our educational agenda. At the heart of our research efforts, and hence of our curriculum, are three separate themes:

  • History, cultures, and religions of the Americas
  • U.S. Political Culture
  • U.S. literature, media, and popular culture

Given the nature of American Studies, the key distinguishing feature of our research as well as in our teaching is that it is truly interdisciplinary in approach in which the individual researchers actively work across different disciplines and methodologies as opposed to, for example, research on American topics carried out in the History Department, which would generally reflect historical approaches only.

The same is true for our teaching agenda: individual teachers are required to be versatile in more than one discipline as all major survey courses combine a range of disciplinary areas, approaches, methodologies, and data sets. Aligned with our teaching practices, our research is generally problem-driven as well as theory-driven. That is to say, we explore specific issues that are controversial, contested, or under-investigated, and then seek to resolve these issues through the generalization of our findings, incorporating elements associated with both the structure and the process of the phenomena we study. Among the themes we are currently exploring are:

  • Contemporary migration and mobility issues in the Americas
  • Engaged literature and the politics of reading
  • Narratives of crisis in post-9/11 culture
  • The worldwide effects of white-supremacy on people and environments
  • The role of Catholicism in U.S. settler-colonialism

Research Team and Projects

All members of the American Studies faculty are engaged in cutting-edge independent and collaborative research, and they work as a team to facilitate student research at the BA, MA and PdH level. Please visit the Faculty Roster to view a listing of current American Studies faculty members and their individual research initiatives.

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Bachelor's Open DayBroerstraat 5More information
Bachelor's Open DayBroerstraat 5More information


I love that you are not just studying history, politics, economics or sociology, but all of these at the same time!

Hi! My name is Eline Santema, I am twenty years old and currently in my third and last year of the Bachelor American Studies. I was born and raised in the beautiful province of Friesland and commute to Groningen for my classes. I love to sing, go out to get coffee with friends and I am trying to write a romance novel in my free time. My favorite movie is - of course - Legally Blonde.

Why American Studies?

I chose American Studies because of its diverse and interdisciplinary program. I love the fact that you are not just studying history, politics, economics or sociology, but all of these at the same time! During high school, I always thought the United States was an interesting nation, but I never had a “special” interest in it. This completely changed when I started studying American Studies. The United States is such a diverse and fascinating country, in both positive and negative ways. It often shows more extreme forms of social problems we encounter here in Europe, which is why this study is more relevant to non-Americans than you might think. You also get to study Latin America and Canada, which is a great bonus!

Read more about Eline and why she chose to study American Studies in Groningen!

Questions? Send Eline an e-mail!

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The program is really small (everyone knows everyone, teachers included), yet very highly regarded. You'll easily become friends with your fellow students!

Hi! My name is Chloë. By the time you can find this little piece on the student ambassadors page I am twenty-two years old and a second-year BA American Studies student. I grew up in Germany and the Netherlands, and I am currently living in Groningen. Next to my studies I spend time in the Crossfit gym, I go for walks and runs, and I have an additional job. I also love to read books and watch movies/tv shows, and live life to the fullest with my best friends and family.

Why American Studies?

Before applying for American Studies at the UG, I attempted studying International Studies in The Hague and European Law in Maastricht. However, neither were the perfect fit and so I dropped out. I knew I wanted to study something with a certain international aspect, since international communities, politics, economics, history, cultures, etc. really interest me. The BA American Studies consists of this aspect and all these territories, and combined with the fact that program is really small (everyone knows everyone, teachers included, and you'll easily become friends with your fellow students), yet very highly regarded, made me apply. Students develop academic/research skills to an incredible extent, which is of course super handy for your future career. Besides, we have a very active study association (EPU) that organizes a ton of great events. In addition, joining (one of) their commissions provides you with amazing experiences and memories.

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Since this studies is interdisciplinary it not only takes on history, but there are also classes on culture, media, and politics

About Kelly

Hi! My name is Kelly van Hienen and I am in my third year of the Bachelor American Studies. I tried out a few different studies before I found my way to American Studies and, to this day, I am happy that I made the decision to go to the RUG as I feel very content here; both in the program and in Groningen. Next to my studies, I play lacrosse and I am also in the board of the association, I listen to music (a lot) and I love to watch series.

Why American Studies?

Ever since I was a kid, everything about the United States amazed me. I could not stop talking about the events happening there, which annoyed my mom a lot. The reason I chose American Studies was because I have many interests that usually do not match up in one study program. However, American Studies is interdisciplinary as it not only takes on history, but there are also classes on culture, media and politics. All this knowledge is used simultaneously when we have to write essays, which you will also learn how to do in the academic writing class. Just to give some examples, I wrote an essay on race in U.S. women's lacrosse and I wrote one on disability representation in an American TV show.

The convincing factor for me was getting the chance to pursue so many of my interests in this program and being able to talk a lot about the United States.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Read more about Daniel and his student life in Groningen.

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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.

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Study associations


E Pluribus Unum (EPU) is the study association for students who study American Studies. EPU's main goal is to unite all American Studies students, both from the Bachelor and Master programs. By doing so, the study association can represent the entire student body in their interests, and provide them with ample opportunities to expand those interests. EPU organizes a vast array of activities, ranging from monthly (themed) drinks to study trips abroad.
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Student profile

You want to understand what Black Lives Matter is all about, or how #MAGA became so popular. You want to make a podcast about "Stranger things", or write a convincing editorial about U.S. immigration. You want to work at an embassy, or write for a Netflix show, or pursue a PhD at a top U.S. university. Then American Studies is the perfect program for you! Join our talented and diverse community of students, who follow their own intellectual paths and shape dynamic futures.

(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be offered study advice after the first year of study. You can expect a positive result if you have earned more than 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative result, you will not be allowed to continue with your degree programme.

You will receive preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you stand. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system. N.B. Some degree programmes use a tutoring system; please check with your study advisor.

Study support

If you have any questions about your studies, you may contact the American Studies academic advisor who can assist you with academic planning, university services, and other relevant matters. Students can schedule an appointment via the Office of Student Affairs or stop by during the advisor's weekly consultation hours to discuss a variety of academic issues.

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