The American Studies Master’s Program is designed to emphasize research-oriented perspectives on American language, literature, culture, and their theories. It builds upon the B.A. program in American Studies at Mainz University but also welcomes applications of students from American Studies programs in Germany, Europe, and other parts of the world.

American Studies has seen a number of major changes in theory and practice in the last decade. Its traditional emphasis on the language, literature, and culture of the United States has been expanded both conceptually and methodologically. Reaching beyond the continental geographical focus of the United States, the more recent concept of Transnational American Studies includes new regions of language and literature, branching out into Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific Studies. The Mainz M.A. program responds to these new developments and encourages students to explore the transnational dimensions of American Studies.

The program offers a broad spectrum of courses and conducts research on American literature and culture from the 16th to the 21st century with areas of specialization in comparative indigenous studies, early American studies, and transnational life writing. It maintains old-established exchange programs and international cooperation with North American, European, and Chinese universities.

The program also includes a special module on interdisciplinary studies allowing students to expand their research into cognate fields for a broad-based perspective on the Americas. The M.A. program especially emphasizes the need for students to experience the United States at first hand and is committed to offering students the possibility of studying at one of our partner universities in the United States, Canada, or China.

The M.A. program consists of several modules:

  • Module 1: Methodology
  • Module 2: Early American Studies
  • Module 3: Cultural Studies
  • Module 4: Modern American Literature and Media
  • Module 5: Advanced Research and Professional Orientation
  • Module 6: Advanced American Literature and Media Studies
  • Module 7: Advanced Interdisciplinary Research
  • Module 8: Advanced Research and Thesis Preparation

Based on students’ previous B.A. experience, modules 1-6 focus on cultural and literary studies in research-oriented courses. Students discuss methods, theories, and techniques of academic research.

One of the central aims of the M.A. program is to introduce students to different forms of textual and cultural analysis and to involve them in current research projects. In the second year, students engage in a larger guided research project that combines different historical, thematic, and methodological approaches.

At the same time, the M.A. program enables students to further develop their own professional goals in orientation sessions geared towards a career outside or inside academia. Study abroad is recommended for the second year and highlights the importance of an international training program for students seeking a Master’s degree in American Studies.

How to Apply

German Applicants

Master’s and continuing education programs require an initial university degree. They can therefore not be chosen by a freshman. So-called consecutive Master’s programs build on the content of a previous Bachelor’s program, i.e. they enhance the knowledge acquired or offer the opportunity to learn additional skills in another discipline. For example, after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, one can choose to pursue a corresponding Master’s degree in Physics to acquire deeper knowledge and especially a research-oriented perspective in the discipline. One must, for instance, choose to pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism to acquire specialist and professional skills for journalistic work (e.g. science journalism). A consecutive Master’s program, together with an appropriate Bachelor’s program, is classed as a basic course of studies. For this reason, a consecutive Master’s program is eligible for BAföG funding. The standard period of study is 4 semesters at the most. In addition to a university degree, continuing education programs require relevant professional experience of at least one year. The length varies between 1-4 semesters, depending on the courses offered.

International Applicants

Please direct your application to the university’s International Office. Although German skills are not an official prerequisite for enrolling in our program, please be advised that you should be sufficiently fluent in the German language to conduct your everyday affairs at the university as well as outside a university context. A letter stating that M.A. students of the American Studies program are exempt from an official German certificate can be obtained from the head of the Department of English and Linguistics (Geschäftsführende Leitung).

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Last updated February 15, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Oct 2019
4 semesters
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Oct 2019
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