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History: North America (minor American Studies)


Admission requirements

This section of the course is only available for students in the minor American Studies
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.


This lecture course presents an overview of the main historical developments in North America from 1945 to the present. Attention will be given to both domestic and foreign policy. The course focuses on the United States, although Canada and Mexico will also be discussed. See also E-Prospectus 5181KH46.

Course objectives

The student has:

  • Acquired knowledge and understanding of history, its processes, structure, actors, factors, and events, and has familiarised him- / herself with the academic understanding of history and the history specific to the chosen area, with an emphasis on the last two centuries. Furthermore, the student has acquired a basic understanding of the theories used in the field of History and those with specific relevance to the Area History. Finally the student has acquired basic research skills, which he/she has put into practice in writing a short research essay.

  • Acquired knowledge and understanding of the concepts and conceptual structures relevant for the study of history from an area perspective, i.e. local, national, regional but also transnational and from a comparative, international, and global perspective.

  • A basic understanding of the methodologies used in the field of History. Both the methods and theories will be explained and activated through exercises based on the handbook common to all Area History courses and used for the overall History track in the programme.


The timetable is available on the website.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Students who are taking this course as part of the minor in American Studies (track 1: History) are required to attend the course lectures, but don’t register for or follow the tutorials, which are meant only for students in International Studies. Instead, the minor students will be assigned extra literature and will be required to write a short paper (2500 words) in addition to the midterm exam and final exam.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 24 hours

  • Assessment hours (exams): 4 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature (approximately 7 pages / hour): 64 hours

  • Study extra literature + essay (only minor students): 48 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm Exam: Written examination with open questions.

  • Final Exam: Written examination with open questions.

  • Essay (2500 words)


Partial grade Weighing
Essay 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Essay grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Essay Grade, Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the essay is possible.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2018 – 2019.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


There will be a separate Blackboard site for the minor students taking this course, where information about the extra literature and essay will be posted. Minor students are requested to enroll in Blackboard, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

  • Natasha Zaretsky, Mark Lawrence, Robert Griffith, and Paula Baker, eds., Major Problems in American History Since 1945, 4th ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1133944140

  • Additional readings will be posted on the course Blackboard site.

  • Information about extra literature will be posted on the course Blackboard site by mid-January.


  • Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office.

  • General information about uSis is available here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. W. M. Schmidli

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.