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Quick Facts
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Language of Instruction English
Program Start October
Application Deadline March 31
Program Length 3 semesters – 18 months
Places Available 20
Tuition Fee 2,500 EUR/semester (scholarships available)

Julia Lichtenstein, M.A.

Office hours:
Tuesdays, 10 - 12 a.m.
and by appointment

T: + 49 (0)6221 / 54 3713
F: + 49 (0)6221 / 54 3719



MAS Newsletter 1/2017: The HCA Welcomes New Students and an Old Friend

This edition features our current MAS students’ first intercultural experiences upon their arrival here in Heidelberg. We also report about U.S. Consul General James Herman’s visit at the HCA. Finally, we compiled some interesting data on our MAS students’ educational background before applying to the MAS program and about their careers after their graduation from Heidelberg University.


American Studies

Der Fachrat ist die fachbezogene Zusammenkunft von Studierenden, akademischen Mitarbeitern und Hochschulprofessoren eines Instituts der Universität.

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Study at a world-class research university
Become part of a premier institute for interdisciplinary research at Germany‘s oldest university; an ideal combination of innovation and tradition. Heidelberg was recently declared one of Germany‘s elite institutions of higher learning.
Enjoy our beautiful campus
The University is spread across the 800-year-old historic city center and a newer campus area north of the Neckar River. The HCA is located in a 300-year-old baroque townhouse just steps away from the University Library and the main lecture halls. This setting offers perfect working conditions as well as a welcoming atmosphere for students, scholars, and the public.
Join an international learning community
Heidelberg is home to over 30,000 full-time students, including more than 5,000 international students. Students from more than 20 countries have participated in the MAS program over the past four years. Heidelberg University also attracts more than 500 international scholars as Visiting Professors each academic year.
Benefit from faculty expertise
First-class academics from various disciplines teach in the MAS. You will have access to distinguished scholars from the departments of American Literature, Art History, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Musicology, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology, as well as their departmental libraries.
Enjoy a first-rate library
Along with 3.1 million books, the university library system boasts over 10,500 current periodical subscriptions, over 46,200 electronic journals, and more than 1,800 databases.
Experience Heidelberg
There is no better place to spend your year abroad! Set in the picturesque Neckar Valley Heidelberg’s beautiful historic center offers a romantic small town atmosphere with a cosmopolitan appeal. Enjoy easy access to the nearby cultural and recreational offerings such as the Black Forest and spectacular castles. With the new express train, Paris is only three hours away. A trip to Strasbourg and the Alsace takes less than an hour. Switzerland and the Alps are a mere two hours to the south.

Photo Gallery: Beautiful Heidelberg

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The German academic calendar is divided into winter and summer semester. Both the winter and summer term are divided into a course work period and a lecture-free period. During the lecture-free period students are able to devote time to their papers and/or theses. The MAS is a three semester program starting each winter semester. The HCA concentrates the bulk of required course work during the first two semesters, with the third semester reserved primarily for the preparation of the M.A. thesis.

Students earn 90 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) points during the course of the program. Subjects covered include American literature, economics, geography, history, art history, law, musicology, political science, philosophy, sociology, and theology/religious studies. (Take a look at the courses offered in the current academic year.)

Suggested Order of Study

Winter semester (lecture period from October to January):

  • Orientation week
  • two "majors" (two lectures and two tutorials)
  • two "minors" (two lectures)
  • one interdisciplinary colloquium
  • one methodology course
  • one writing course


  • two oral exams (30 min) for "majors"
  • two oral exams (15 min) for "minors"
  • one term paper for each "major"

Summer semester (lecture period from April to July):

  • one "major" (one lecture and one tutorial)
  • one "minor" (one lecture)
  • one interdisciplinary seminar
  • one interdisciplinary colloquium
  • one methodology course
  • one writing course
  • one presentation skills workshop


  • one oral exam (30 min) for the "major"
  • one oral exam (15 min) for the "minor"
  • two term papers, one for the "major," one for the interdisciplinary seminar

Winter semester (study period from September to February):

  • preparation of the MA thesis proposal
  • latest day for M.A. thesis registration: October 31.
  • two-day thesis workshop in November
  • time period for writing and finishing the M.A. thesis: 4 months

Graduation: April

The Fast-Track-Option

It is possible to finish the MAS program in two semesters. This option is only available after consultation with your supervisor and is only recommended for above average students with a GPA of 1.5 or higher. Students taking this option have to register their thesis topic and hand in their thesis proposal by April 30, and will have to inform their supervisor and the MAS Coordinator of their choice. They will present their topic in the MAS Colloquium during the summer semester. The thesis is due for submission on August 31.

  • Lectures deal with general themes in American Studies and are taught by faculty members of the respective academic fields. Students must attend four lectures in the winter semester and two in the summer semester. They choose three major lectures (two in the winter semester, one in the summer semester) for which they will be examined at the end of the semester and will write a paper in the lecture-free period. Students are only required to attend the tutorials for the major lectures. For the lectures in their minors, students may, but do not have to attend the tutorials, but they must take oral exams at the end of the semester as well.
  • Tutorials are designed exclusively for MAS students. They accompany their chosen courses and deepen the content and concepts of the lectures.
  • The interdisciplinary MAS Colloquium provides a venue for MAS students to meet with renowned experts from various fields, such as politics, economics, journalism, or academia. Most are Americans who will talk about their current interests or most recent scholarship. The Interdisciplinary Colloquium also serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of state-of-the-art research in academic disciplines that are not otherwise represented in this year’s curriculum.
  • The Interdisciplinary Seminars during the summer semester exemplify the interdisciplinary approach of the HCA. They are organized and taught by scholars from two different academic fields. This joint approach enhances learning opportunities, as the students, and the professors themselves, are subject to and benefit from different – and sometimes conflicting – methodological approaches. The combination of analytical methods allows for deeper exploration of critical issues and stimulates lively discussion and consideration of the topic at hand, particularly at the intersection of disciplines.
  • The Methodology Section of the program consists of three classes. The Introduction to American Studies focuses on American Studies as a discipline and introduces theories of the field. The Academic Writing class offers practice in writing, including planning, drafting, revisiting, editing, and proofreading. The Presentation Skills workshop helps students to develop a critical awareness of presentations and confidence in public speaking.

The "Examination and Study Regulations" (Prüfungs- und Studienordnung) are available in German only. Only the official German version is legally binding.


HCA: Email
Latest Revision: 2017-07-07
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