ASL offers a BA and an MA degree in American Studies, modules for the teacher training program, as well as BA modules as minor subjects for other programs.
American Studies Leipzig serves students in a variety of academic programs, most visibly in the BA American Studies and MA American Studies programs. Additionally, we offer modules for students studying to become teachers (“Lehramt”/“Staatsexamen”) as well as select BA modules as minor subjects for other programs (“Wahlbereich”).
While you will find general information on our study programs below, for those already enrolled in one of our programs, please see the section for current students on more detailed information that will be relevant to you during your studies.
In turn, if you are not yet a student at ASL but are interested in one of our degrees, please see the section for prospective students for more detailed information that will help you in your decision to enter an academic program at ASL.
The BA American Studies introduces students to US American culture, literature, history, society, and politics, and to the varied academic skills needed to critically engage the many dimensions of the United States and its roles in the world. The program thus offers students a multifaceted and challenging learning environment that helps them acquire the sort of integrated expertise expected more and more in all sectors of the work world. Next to acquainting students with key knowledge about the United States, courses in American Studies also teach students to think analytically, independently, and to express ideas clearly.
The BA American Studies covers three branches: 1) Literature & Culture, 2) Society, History, & Politics, and 3) Language & Society. After acquainting yourselves with these sub-disciplines of American Studies, you may specialize among the three, and you can focus on an additional thematic specialization around questions of Ethnicity & Diversity.
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 cookbooks, from television series 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 constitute ‘American culture.’
Society, History, & Politics
The modules on American society, history, and politics explore the themes in American history that have shaped the country until now, examine the incredible diversity, tensions, and contradictions of American society, and look at how the country practices politics and why.
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.
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 focuses 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, you acquire an understanding of the United States as a multiethnic and multicultural space. You thus learn how to discuss the cultural productions of various ethnic groups in the contexts of their specific historical and cultural development.
The MA American Studies offers a unique program in graduate studies of the field. It provides students with sophisticated expertise in US culture, literature, history, society, and politics, and it allows them to acquire advanced academic skills and research capabilities. The program prepares participants both for pursuing a further academic career and for positions in the international employment market in fields such as cultural affairs, media and communication, publishing, political and international organizations, science and research management, or adult education. While the MA program overall deepens students’ understanding of the complexities of the United States from an interdisciplinary perspective, through individual choices in thematic modules and research projects, it also allows students to specialize in a discipline or field within American Studies.
The program’s scholarly modules stand out by their strictly interdisciplinary design. Grouped around core themes and concerns in the study of the United States, they combine classes from different disciplinary perspective and allow wide room for pursuing individual interests. The titles of the modules make this clear, as does the nature of the expertise integrated into the modules.
The titles of the modules for the MA include:
- Cultures of Difference
- Global America
- Imagining the Past
- Immigration, Community, and Citizenship
- Media, Society, and Culture
- Myths, Narratives, Memory
- Political Cultures
- Trans-/National Spaces, Bodies, Cultures
In addition to the scholarly components of the program, we offer a highly innovative Professional Skills Module (Schlüsselqualifikationsmodul) that enables students to develop advanced abilities in integrating academic training with applied knowledge via project creation and implementation. In this this module, called iCAN (or individual-international-integrated Career and Academic Knowledge and Networking), students acquire practical and analytical skills needed for the publication of an academic journal, aspeers: emerging voices in american studies. Working together as a team, they go through all steps involved in reviewing, discussing, improving, editing, etc. academic articles for publication.
Rounding off the program, and formally embedded into the possibilities to earn credits, are opportunities to study abroad and to pursue a professional internship.
We encourage students to consider American Studies for a variety of Wahlbereich (Minor/elective area) options. Generally, you can select any combination of modules that best fits your study plans, from a single module upwards. While planning for your courses in American Studies, do keep in mind both the language requirement and the prerequisite courses necessary to enroll in some of the advanced modules.
For instance, as part of your Wahlbereich, you can choose single, individual modules that introduce you to American Studies—specifically Literature and Culture I, Society, History, and Politics I, and/or Introduction to Linguistics for American Studies.
If you are even more interested in American Studies, you can choose subsequent modules that build on these introductory modules. For instance, successfully having completed Literature and Culture I then allows you to take Literature and Culture II, and so on.
In making your choices, you are free to ‘sample’ between the different concentrations—Literature & Culture (LC); Society, History, and Politics (SHP); Language & Society (LS); and Ethnicity & Diversity (ED)—and to mix and match as suits your interests. Since some modules are only offered in the winter term and some in the summer, and since the advanced modules require having completed the previous ones, we recommend planning out in which semester you want to take which modules if you are going for six American Studies modules in your Wahlbereich. Examples of how you can chart your path include:
|Ex. 1||Ex. 2||Ex. 3||Ex. 4||Ex. 5|
|1st Winter Term||LC-I||LC-I||LC-I||LC-I||LC-I|
|1st Summer Term||SHP-I||SHP-I||LC-II||SHP-I||LS-I|
|2nd Winter Term||ED-I||SHP-II||ED-I||ED-I||ED-I|
|2nd Summer Term||LC-II||SHP-III||SHP-I||LC-II||LC-II|
|3rd Winter Term||SHP-II||ED-I||SHP-II||SHP-II||LS-II|
|3rd Summer Term||LC/SHP-III||LC-II||LC/SHP-III||SHP-III||ED-II|
If you have questions about planning out your American Studies Wahlbereich courses, feel free to get in touch with your study advisers.
While the Wahlbereich leaves you with a lot of flexibility, spots in our modules are usually limited. If you want to guarantee that you can take American Studies modules for your minor, you should consider choosing it as a “Wahlfach” (“elective subject”).
American Studies courses are integrated into the teacher training program for teaching English, a program that is generally managed by the Institute for British Studies. Our American Studies courses for teacher trainees introduce students to the interdisciplinary study of US literature, culture, history, society, and politics. Additionally, they familiarize them with core methods, concepts, and approaches in American Studies that aim to hone their theoretical, argumentative, analytical, and writing skills.
- In the module Literatures and Cultures of the USA (04-AME-1402), students acquire basic knowledge about US literature, culture, history, society, and politics. The lecture provides students with an overview of US literature and the sociocultural questions tied to different literary periods. The seminar in turn introduces them to core concerns and narratives in and about US cultural history.
- Later in their studies, in American Literatures, American Societies (04-AME-2401), students pursue a portfolio project that lets them learn, practice, and refine advanced theoretical and analytical skills on a topic exploring aspects of US culture. While the students’ choice of lecture provides them with further insights into US history or into questions of diversity and difference in particular, in the seminar, they expand and deepen their knowledge of American (popular) culture and literature and practice key methodological skills.
- Additionally, students interested in a stronger focus on America and American Studies in their studies can also choose the modules US Society and Diversity: Politics, History and Culture (04-AME-1601) or US Popular Culture and American Literature (04-AME-1701) as part of their elective modules (Ergänzungsbereich/Wahlmodule).
Finally, teacher training students can also choose to write their final thesis or do their oral exams with American Studies faculty. For more information, see the Degree Exams page.
Scope and Guiding Principles
American Studies Leipzig is an institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, and public service. These objectives can only be pursued effectively through a joint effort of faculty, staff, and students. Consequently, the following code of conduct applies to instructors of ASL courses, ASL’s staff members, and students who take classes at this institute.
The guiding principles that lay the foundation for conduct at ASL are respect, responsibility, and integrity.
Interaction among students and between students, staff, and faculty is based on mutual respect. This applies to interaction inside and outside the classroom. Respectful classroom conduct is the basis of a productive learning and teaching experience. Students should, for example, show respect for other students’ ideas and opinions; treat their instructors respectfully; inform their instructors before coming too late or leaving early, or being absent altogether; and, use technology in the classroom responsibly, i.e., use cell phones and laptops as designated by the instructor. In return, instructors provide for a classroom atmosphere that enables students to engage in fruitful learning and treat their students on the basis of mutual respect.
Studying at a university requires a high degree of organizational skill and responsibility. In order to pursue an academic education successfully, students are required to complete their course work on time and engage all course material with the necessary professional attitude. Whenever questions arise, students ought to look for answers independently (e.g., on the ASL website, on the Moodle course) before they contact faculty or staff members. When contacting faculty or staff, students should bear in mind that face-to-face consultation during office hours are the preferred platform for outside-classroom communication. In return, faculty and staff will address student concerns and issues earnestly and in a timely fashion. Faculty and staff will moreover dedicate themselves to providing students with a professional and productive learning environment.
A university’s core mission is the creation of robust, falsifiable knowledge, which requires that the sources of such knowledge can be traced by others. Plagiarism shows not only disrespect for the originality of other people’s ideas; it violates the very core of a university’s knowledge creation. Whenever students or scholars ignore this fundamental premise, the integrity of their research efforts is severely compromised. In order to protect the integrity of research, students are required to inform themselves about how to use other scholars’ ideas and concepts in their own work and submit their work according to scholarly standards.