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Master in North American Studies

Mode of study On campus:
from Monday to Wednesday
Duration and credits Academic Year:
60 ECTS credits
Dates Start: September
End: June
Location On campus Alcalá de Henares
and UCM
Language of instruction English

General description / Courses

The Master’s Degree in American Studies is structured following a procedure of modules, materials and subjects, organized in ECTS credits, which represent the volume of work required for students to pass each subject, with a value of 25 hours / credit spread over two semesters (one academic year, although there is the option to do it in two academic years). The first semester is taught at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the second at the Universidad de Alcalá. Students must take a total of 60 ECTS credits.

All students will take the 7 subjects, 36 ECTS credits, from the Compulsory Education Module I. These subjects are per semester.

In addition, each student will choose 2 Specialization subjects, 12 ECTS credits, from the Optional Module II. These subjects are per semester. Nonetheless, students may combine any two elective courses as they wish from different itineraries, according to their interests.

The Master’s Thesis is compulsory and shall be related to the optional module chosen by the student. This work is for one semester.


  1. The History of the American People: Memory and Identity (Link)

Credits: 6 ECTS

ProfessorJosé Antonio Montero


Schedule: Fall Semester. Monday from 15:00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Thursday and Friday, 10:00-11:30

This course examines aspects of the historical development of the US, considering the geographical conditions of the country and the ethnic diversity that has always characterized this area since prehistoric times. The outlines of this country’s history will be drawn from its colonial origins to the present: the formation and evolution of social and cultural practices, the American political system, social struggles to reconcile the realities experienced by citizens with the theory of democratic ideology, and the international projection of the US since its inception.

  1. The Hispanic Heritage (“La Hispanidad”) in the United States (Syllabus)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Professor: José Antonio Gurpegui


Schedule: Spring Semester. Thursday from 15:00 to 18:00h.

The course deals with the study of the Hispanic presence in the territories that now form the US, from colonial times to the present day. The main objective is to trace the roots of the different Hispanic groups that are present in contemporary American society. To this end, a large variety of verbal and nonverbal texts are used. Focus will be on the literary and cultural representations of the different Hispanic groups today.

  1. American Studies and Research Methodologies (Link)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Professors: Isabel Durán and Carmen Méndez


Schedule: Fall Semester. Tuesday from 15:00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Wednesday, 15:00-18:00 An appointment is required

This subject aims to study and understand the US, from the methodologies used in the “American Studies” courses, i.e. the interdisciplinary study of American culture. We will include an introduction to the analysis of the arts and literature, social issues, popular culture, material culture, cultural diversity and social change. The aim is to familiarize students with the major schools of thought and their methods of disclosure.

  1. American Thought and Political Tradition (Link)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Professor: Cristina Basili


Schedule: Fall Semester. Monday from 18:00 to 21:00h.

The purpose of this course is to study the political culture of the USA, which has a clear background in Enlightenment thought, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world, but also refers to the political experiences of the metropolis. The American democratic experience constitutes a point of reference for social life different to Europe and, therefore, gives rise to a different tradition with different protagonists.

  1. American Visual Cultures (Link)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Professors: Tom Byers and Eduardo Valls

Schedule: Fall Semester. Wednesdays from 15:00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Wednesday, 10:30-13:00 An appointment is required

This course focuses on the history, gender, current status and the formal analysis and cultural interpretation of the filmic narrative of America. Students will be offered models and tools for the formal analysis and cultural interpretation of these narratives. The aim is for students to be able to analyze a broad spectrum of film texts, to perceive these texts in the context of the broader North American cultural history, to explain the aspects of formal design, ideology and rhetoric, and to develop their argumentative skills related to this discipline.

  1. Institutions and Organizations: Meaning and Function (Syllabus)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Professors: Julio Cañero and Cristina Crespo Palomares

Contact: and

Schedule: Spring Semester. Wednesday from 15:00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Wednesday 9:00-12:00 & Friday 9:00-11:00 An appointment is required

In this course, the main points of the US political system will be analyzed under the premise that its institutions are a true reflection of its citizens. We will study the historical origin of the US government, its constitutional framework and the different branches that its power is divided into. We will pay special attention to the figure of the president. We will study the strengths and weaknesses of the different presidents reviewing their mandates. We will discover the importance of the power that is in the hands of the different States and local institutions in the daily life of Americans, and we will evaluate the importance of the media, lobbies and pressure groups and their influence on politics.

  1. The Exported America: The Social History of Americanization in the World (Syllabus)

Credits: 5 ECTS

ProfessorPedro Rodríguez and Francisco Manuel Sáez de Adana Herrero &

Schedule: Spring Semester. Tuesday from 15.00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Tuesday 18:00-20:00 An appointment is required

This subject is intended for students to learn and understand the key impact of Americanization from the early twentieth century in Europe, with special emphasis on the economic and cultural dimensions during the inter-war period. A process that showed political, economic, social and cultural ramifications, among many others, and that has continued to this day.


  1. Key Authors and Texts of American Literature (Link)

Credits: 6 ECTS

Professor: Eusebio de Lorenzo Gómez

Schedule: Fall Semester. Tuesday from 18:00 to 21:00h.

Tutoring hours: Thursday, 17:00-20:00 An appointment is required.

The main objective of this course is for students of the Master to become acquainted with those texts and authors of the canon of US literature who have shaped the textuality of American identity. The course will inquire on how the identity of America is based on texts supported by the aesthetic principles of rationality of the Enlightenment, the imagination of Romanticism and the spirituality of Puritanism.

  1. Multiculturalism: US Ethnic and Cultural Expressions (Syllabus)

Credits: 6 ECTS

Professor: Luisa Juárez


Schedule: Spring Semester. Tuesday from 15:00 to 18:00h.

Tutoring hours: Thursday 12:00-13:00 & 16:00-17:30 An appointment is required

This course provides an overview of English literary production of contemporary authors of ethnic descent in the US, whose communities have been historically affected by conflict in the past. The subject is divided into two main sections. The first includes the literature of a selection of authors addressing immigration, “the American dream”, ethnic identity, canon and genocide.  The second section focuses on the representation of history and memory in contemporary literature.



  1. US Foreign Policy (Link)

Credits: 6 ECTS

Professor: David García Cantalapiedra


Schedule: Fall Semester. Wednesday from 18:00 to 21:00h.

Tutoring hours: Wednesday, 16:30-17:30 An appointment is required.

This course will make students become familiar with the main issues, their ideological bases, historical development, institutional structures and players in US foreign policy. In addition, they will study the doctrines and traditions of American foreign policy since the Puritans to the present day. The imperialist phase and the First World War will be analyzed in relation to the development of US domestic policy, the arrival of Idealism and the impact of the Great Depression and the Second World War.

  1. American Natural Heritage and Environmentalism: History, Policy, Science, Thought and Culture (Syllabus)

Credits: 6 ECTS

Professors: Enrique Alonso García


Schedule: Spring Semester. Wednesday from 18:00 to 21:00h.

Tutoring hours:

Enrique Alonso: Tuesday & Thursday An appointment is required:

The course is divided into two modules. The first module aims to ensure that students gain the necessary knowledge of the territorial structure of the US, and how the progressive occupation of the territory from the earliest discoveries before the viceroys and colonies until the final occupation of the whole continent in 1875-1890 with the defeat of the latest native tribes have configured the regional and national identity of Americans. The second module of the subject aims to address the philosophical and ethical environmental and contemporary thought, in addition to its influence on the various American cultural representations, such as film and literature.



  1. US Domestic and Foreign Economic Policy (Link)

Credits: 6 ECTS

Professor: Pilar Gago


Schedule: Fall Semester. Tuesday from 18:00 to 21:00h.

Tutoring hours: Tuesday, 16:00-17:30. An appointment is required.

The aim of the course is to conduct a study and further analysis of the main pillars on which the current US economic policy is based both on a domestic level and in its external dimension. In addition, the US role in the major multilateral financial institutions will be analyzed, focusing on the strategies designed to fight poverty during the second decade of the 1990s.


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