Courses and examinations are held in English, and all student work has to be submitted in English.
The Master’s degree in "English and American Studies" explores the literatures and cultures of English-speaking regions and includes language training as well as mandatory work and teaching experience. All classes in this study programme are taught in English and impart an in-depth understanding of cultural, literary, historical, and political relations in anglophone countries, particularly in Great Britain and the USA. The literature courses situate contemporary English and American writing in broader historical contexts and cover a range of fictional and non-fictional genres. In cultural studies, classes examine different media such as photography, film, fine arts, and music while at the same time provide case studies and broader overviews of more general cultural phenomena.
Alongside this, the programme offers advanced English language practice, imparting oral communication and writing skills at a professional level and teaching students to produce texts in different formats and for various audiences. They have the opportunity to develop and complete independent research projects in literary and cultural studies and present these projects in English with near-native proficiency. Moreover, they gain skills such as intercultural competences and cultural empathy, which help them understand and analyse cultural materials and processes from various angles.
One main focus of the MA programme is developing critical literacy with regard to media and other texts, especially by analysing and applying cultural studies methods and theories. Previous seminar topics include Shakespeare’s Stage and Old and Middle English Literature and Culture as well as Victorian Culture and Transcendentalism. In addition, there have been seminars on Photographic Representations of Englishness, Modernist American Poetry, Gender and Power in the American Theatre, Dementia, Postcoloniality, Trump’s America, Brexit, and many more. While literary studies includes literary history, narratology, performance theory, and the relations between literature and culture, cultural studies courses deal with visual representations, the new media, and popular culture to discuss cultural history and dynamics in anglophone societies from a broad perspective. There are, of course, numerous overlapping research areas in which literary and cultural studies come together. Students can choose to specialise in either of the two areas or adopt an interdisciplinary approach across anglophone regions and analytical methods in order to comprehend larger cultural developments.
As a research-oriented MA programme, English and American Studies prepares graduates for a career in academic research, particularly if they are interested in pursuing a PhD. Furthermore, the acquired competences match essential requirements in many other professional areas in a globalised, post-industrial service economy, especially in the cultural sector. Graduates are able to critically engage with a large number of text forms and produce texts for various target groups in the media sector. Students who have successfully obtained this degree find themselves particularly well equipped to take up jobs in sectors ranging from adult education, journalism, and publishing to cultural or educational management, advertising, the tourist industry as well as international business and politics.