New Degree Program in American Studies
More possibilities at the John F. Kennedy Institute
May 19, 2021
As of the 2021/2022 winter semester, the John F. Kennedy Institute at Freie Universität Berlin will be adding two new programs. The Bachelor’s degree program in Applied North American Studies adds practical elements to the regular curriculum. In addition, North American Studies will be available as a minor for students majoring in other subjects. Dean of Studies David Bosold describes the new programs in the interview below.
Dr. Bosold, most people will already have a good idea of the content of the degree program in North American Studies. What distinguishes the new Bachelor’s degree program in Applied North American Studies from the existing program?
As the term “applied” implies, we want to incorporate practical elements into the new degree program. What these elements are will depend on whether the students choose the humanities or the social sciences concentration.
Students focusing on the humanities can choose two of the three disciplines: Literature, Culture, or History. Those focusing on the social sciences can choose from Political Science, Sociology, and Economics.
In their practical modules students will have the opportunity to gain experience that will prepare them for professional life. For example, they’ll be able to work on a magazine, curate an art exhibition, or conduct opinion polls relating to the U.S.A. These types of things go beyond the classic exams and papers written for class.
Who had the idea for this new degree program?
Some prospective students had told us they would like to have the option of studying North American Studies as part of a combination Bachelor’s degree program in order to broaden their experience during their studies.
We’ve taken that into account and now made it possible for students to choose an additional 60 credit offering from another degree program, such as Philosophy or Chinese Studies. This will enable students to combine their interest in North America with other interests.
That in turn will also benefit students interested in continuing with a consecutive Master’s degree program in one of the disciplines offered at the John F. Kennedy Institute, like a Master’s degree program in History. They’ll be able to take courses at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute of History while still enrolled in their Bachelor’s degree program in North American Studies.
Does that mean the students will have more freedom to get to know other subjects?
Exactly, in a double sense. Since the new Bachelor’s degree program in Applied North American Studies only comprises 90 credits, it will give us space to offer North American Studies as a minor for students enrolled in other disciplines. For example, those majoring in Political Science can take some modules at the John F. Kennedy Institute.
Overall, you could say that we are now more open to other subjects, on the one hand because our students can earn credits elsewhere, and on the other hand because students from other subjects can now choose North American studies as a minor.
Leon Holly conducted the interview.
This interview originally appeared in German on April 24, 2021, in the Tagesspiegel newspaper supplement published by Freie Universität.
Dr. David Bosold, Dean of Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, John F. Kennedy Institute, Department of Political Science, Email: email@example.com