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B.A. Nordamerikastudien / North American Studies

The B.A. degree program in Nordamerikastudien / North American Studies offers fundamental insights into the social, cultural, literary, economic and political history and present of the USA and Canada. Graduates of this program analyze social, political and cultural circumstances and developments with regard to current social conditions as well as their historical background.

Students learn to consider the North American situation not in isolation but in relation to European and global circumstances. They gain proficiency in areas of historiography and textual, social and cultural analysis that can be applied to all issues related to North America and can be implemented in diverse fields of work: scholarship, education, media, economics, politics or cultural exchange.

Faculty teaching in this program have particularly strong research credentials in the fields of history, literature, media and visual culture, popular culture, gender, race and ethnicity, technology, and cultural theory.

How we study the United States, Mexico and Canada

“America,” named after the Florentine navigator and adventurer Amerigo Vespucci, was not synonymous with the United States until well into the nineteenth century, but stood for the entire American continent—from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile. While the focus of our North American Studies program lies on the United States, Mexico and Canada are also geographically part of North America. Thus, we offer expertise on both these countries as well, and beyond to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Some US states such as California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, much of Arizona, and Colorado belonged to the Spanish colonial empire for centuries, and subsequently Mexico, before being annexed by the United States. Today, Mexico and the United States are separated and connected by a 3,100-kilometer-long multi-ethnic border region that is also the habitat and cultural space of Indigenous Peoples. The US is a popular host country for refugees and migrants from Mexico and Central America. As a result, more than forty million people in the United States have Spanish as their first language. We accommodate this cultural diversity through our research and teaching. We offer courses on the US-Mexico border region and discuss the significant role of Latinas and Latinos in business, politics, and popular culture in the United States.

Since the United States is the traditional territory of numerous Indigenous Peoples, as a country of immigration, and as a former slave-owning society, it can be compared particularly well with Latin American states such as Cuba and Brazil. Courses in our study programs reflect this thematic and multi-perspective diversity. This unusual range in teaching and research, our understanding of the United States in a trans-American, transatlantic, and global context, also clearly distinguishes the profile of the “Amerika-Institut” at LMU Munich from other institutes of American Studies in the German-speaking world.

As a consequence, Canada and Canadian Studies are an integral part of teaching and research. Special attention is paid to the historically transatlantic, but also continental interconnections of Canada and the relationship of Indigenous Peoples to the Canadian state, as well as the aftermath of this complex history on the politics, society, and culture of contemporary Canada.

The history of Canada must be understood by also looking at the history of France and Great Britain, at the history of the expansion of imperial powers into the so-called “New World,” and the conflicts that arose from it. To this day, the British monarch is the head of state of the country, which grants the francophone province of Québec special status as a "nation within a nation." Separatist tendencies and cultural conflicts continued to shape Anglo-Franco-Canadian coexistence in twentieth-century Canada. Research at the institute on this is incorporated into the course program for more advanced students.

At the same time, the history of Canada is a history of the oppression of Indigenous Peoples. The history of residential schools, but also of treaties, the question of land ownership and belonging, citizenship and Indigenous sovereignty are still central to Canadian politics, culture, literature, and society today. Especially in relation to Indigenous Peoples, Canada is often perceived as more advanced in terms of its commitment to reconciliation than the US. We discuss such notions in more advanced seminars, as well as the issue of environmental injustice, which links the country's conflicted history to the present. Doctoral students working on these issues in their dissertations are regularly involved in teaching and are thus able to report to students on their current research.

In addition, looking beyond Canada's southern border to the US allows students to understand the country's history not only from its European interconnections and the nation's and provinces' treatment of Indigenous Peoples, but also from its constant efforts to distinguish itself from the United States. From the American Revolution to the cultural policies of the 1920s/30s and the politics of multiculturalism that began in the 1970s to today's visual campaigns, the history, culture, and literature of the two nations are closely intertwined. From a Canadian perspective, the US has too often been the proverbial “elephant in the room.” In our seminars, we examine the bilateral relationship between the US and Canada, both politically and culturally, focusing on transfer processes. The history of Canada thus ultimately appears as multiply integrated, both in continental and transatlantic contexts, which have shaped and continue to shape the idea of the “nation of Canada,” but also contribute to illuminating it critically.


  • This is a three-year program (six semesters). The type of degree is a Bachelor of Arts.
  • The program consists of topics and types of classes that are organized into modules. They allow students to focus on the realms of literature and media or history and culture, or to combine the two. See below for more information.
  • Students can only enroll in the winter semester.
  • The B.A. program is taught in English and German. Students should have language skills at the C-1 level in both languages. In order to enroll at LMU in a Bachelor’s program, students need to document their German language skills (see this weblink). Prior to their studies, students can take an English language test which, if completed successfully, can be recognized in the first semester.
  • The program offers modules geared to skills that can also be used in non-academic, professional environments. For more information on job perspectives and LMU career services see the pages of “Student und Arbeitsmarkt”.
  • The B.A. major subject “Nordamerikastudien / North American Studies” (120 credit points) must be complemented by a minor subject (60 credit points). Please note that some minor subjects have a separate application procedure. Also, there may be some scheduling conflicts between compulsory courses at the beginning of your studies that need to be sorted out individually. Minor subjects offered jointly by different disciplines such as “Sprache, Literatur, Kultur” usually avoid this problem.
  • Possible minor subjects are: Antike und Orient; Deutsch als Fremsprache; Evangelische Theologie; Digital Humanities - Sprachwissenschaften; Geographie; Geschichte; Informatik; Katholische Theologie; Kommunikationswissenschaft; Kunst, Musik, Theater; Künstliche Intelligenz; Orthodoxe Theologie; Pädagogik, Bildungswissenschaft; Philosophie; Rechtswissenschaften; Skandinavistik; Sprache, Literatur, Kultur; Vergleichende Kultur- und Religionswissenschaft; Volkswirtschaftslehre. Most minor subjects are taught in German.

Types of courses

The program offers three basic types of courses: seminars, lectures, and foundation courses. They are grouped into modules.

  • Seminars address topical questions of scholarship and require a longer paper or a number of short essays.
  • Lectures offer thematic introductions and overviews and may require a portfolio.
  • Foundation courses serve as an introduction to writing academic papers, thematic introductions or to practical and professional skills.
  • One module (WP 14) allows you to earn credit for an internship conducted at an external organization.
  • Another module allows you to pursue an Independent Student Project (P 7). This is a research- or skills-oriented project supervised by a faculty member and designed according to your academic interests.
  • The final module is dedicated to writing a Bachelor’s thesis on a topic of your choice.

Types of modules

In the first year, compulsory modules serve as an introduction to basic concepts and historical periods as well as language skills and academic writing. In the second and third year, students have a choice among the fields of “Literature and Media” or “History and Culture,” or they can combine both in “Transdisciplinary Studies.”

  • Here is an overview of how to choose modules.
  • The more elaborate overview of the program gives you more information on how many, and which types, of courses are included in the modules. Here is an overview in English, and here is one in German.
  • All courses belonging to one module have to be passed successfully in order to complete the module. More information on the specifics of the modules is available in the rules and regulations of this program (only available in German).
  • Please note: These overviews represents the general template of modules to be completed in the program. The classes offered in this study program have individual titles. You can find them in the course catalogue of the current semester on our website or through the online portal LSF. Older course catalogues can be found here.

Grading, exams, and more

All modules are graded except for the compulsory modules P 3, P 6 and the elective modules WP 4-7, WP 11-14, WP 18-21, WP 24-25, which are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Most exams can be taken again except for the Bachelor’s thesis, which can only be repeated once after a failing grade. All legal regulations can be found in the rules and regulations (Studien- und Prüfungsordnung).

A note about elective modules: If you register for an exam in an elective module, this module has to be completed successfully throughout the course of your studies. If you receive a fail grade, you will have to take another course or course combination (depending on the type of module) from the same elective module.

The Bachelor’s thesis makes up 25% of your grade in the major subject “North American Studies / Nordamerikastudien.” The final grade of your Bachelor’s studies at LMU, i.e. the 180 credit points of your major and minor subject is calculated by combining the two grades on a basis of 2 to 1.

Before you can sign up for the Bachelor’s thesis (P 8), all modules from the first to the third semester must be successfully completed. Important: If you do not sign up for the BA thesis until the 7th semester, it will automatically be counted as a failing grade and you will have one more chance to write the thesis.

Students can get credit points for conducting an internship (Praktikum) at an external organisation or company of your choice. It should relate to North American topics in the widest sense and acquaint you with professional skills. The minimum time required to get credit is two weeks full-time, or 80 hours. After the internship students have to write a nine-page report for a faculty member of their choice, include proof of the time-frame of the internship (Praktikumsbestätigung), and sign up for the exam in module WP 14.

The Independent Study Project aims to develop and strengthen the students’ ability to design and realize an independent project. It gives students the opportunity to work on self-chosen topics and interests related to their academic interests or professional skills. Students should contact potential supervisors, providing them with a short sketch of the project. The study project is usually completed with a study project report.

Registration for exams in the Bachelor’s program

  • Go to LSF during the registration period. Click the button called „Prüfungsanmeldung und Prüfungsabmeldung“ and accept the terms and conditions.
  • Find the module that you are attending.
  • Find the person who is offering the course you are attending. To identify this person, see the list of module types below.
  • Register for the module exam of the person who is offering the course. It should be listed under their name.

Module types

Module with Lecture plus Foundation Course (P 1, P 2, P 4, P 5): find the name of the person who is offering the lecture and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam) which includes both, the lecture and the foundation course.

Module with two Foundation courses (P 3, P 6): find the name of the person who is offering one of the courses and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam) which includes both foundation courses.

Module with two Seminars (WP 1-3, WP 8-10, WP 15-17): find the name of the person who is offering one of the seminars you are attending and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam) which includes both seminars.

Module with Lecture (WP 4, WP 5, WP 11, WP 12, WP 18, WP 19, WP 24, WP 25): find the name of the person who is offering the lecture and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam).

Module with Foundation Course (WP 6, WP7, WP 13, WP 14, WP 20, WP 21): find the name of the person who is offering the foundation course and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam).

Module with Seminar plus BA-Colloquium (WP 22, WP 23): find the name of the person who is offering the seminar you are attending and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam) which includes both, the seminar and the colloquium.

Module with Independent Study Project (P 7): find the name of the person who is supervising your independent study project and register for the exam (Modulprüfung/module exam).

A note about elective modules: If you register for an exam in an elective module, this module has to be completed successfully throughout the course of your studies. If you receive a fail grade, you will have to take another course or course combination (depending on the type of module) from the same elective module.

Module with Bachelor’s thesis (P 8); see the separate entry on the Bachelor’s thesis.

Bachelor′s thesis

  • The final semester is dedicated to writing the Bachelor′s thesis. Students should get in contact with potential supervisors by sending a short sketch in advance by e-mail and then visit the person′s office hours. A list of potential supervisors together with the dates of registering for the thesis is published each semester on the institute’s homepage. You can also find the registration dates on the exam board’s website. Keep in mind to contact potential supervisors as early as possible in order to decide on an interesting and manageable topic. The thesis should have a length of approximately 30 to 35 pages (following our formatting guidelines), or 55.000 to 65.000 characters. Students have 10 weeks to complete their thesis.
  • Please note: You can only register for the Bachelor′s thesis if you have completed successfully all compulsory and elective modules from the first three semesters of the study program and the results have been entered on LSF before the start of the registration period.
  • Please find the examination dates here.
  • Please fin a BA coversheet sample here.