The North American Studies program at the University of Tampere is a Comparative Social Institutions program. This program provides an ideal starting point for the comparative study of social institutions. North America has a large political, economic and social image and impact on the world. However, comparisons do not just go one-way. European institutions – in particular, Nordic institutions – have properties that are of importance for European and American academics alike. Reflecting this idea, the North American Studies program is a comparative social institutions program. Thus, courses go beyond understanding institutions, policies and issues in North America to understanding institutions, policies and issues in general, with the North American cases serving as special examples.
The program is multi-disciplinary with a focus on economics and political science. The combination of these approaches provides students with an understanding of social institutions in North America and in Europe. Students will learn what types of governmental, economic or social institutions are most likely to be efficient and under what circumstances. They will learn what policies are likely to be successful and what types of unintended consequences might occur from poorly designed policy. Some examples of questions examined in the program include the following: What type of healthcare system is best suited to provide universal healthcare at reasonable costs? Why do some criminal policies backfire? Is the media important for democracy and what types of media organization best promote democracy?
Students will develop the tools to make their own analyses in the methodology courses and in the subject courses. Throughout the curriculum, real-world examples from North America and from Europe serve as case studies to motivate study and discussions. The program’s themes have wide overlap with other programs at Tampere University.
The NAM-program offers two levels of studies; The Basic Studies (25 ECTS) and Subject studies (35 ECTS). North American Studies can be included in various studies as a full minor (basic studies 25 ECTS + subject studies 35 ECTS) in a Master’s degree. The completion of the basic studies (25 ECTS) can serve as a minor for the Bachelor of Arts Degree (Kandidaatin tutkinto) (Please check your School’s requirement for minor subjects!).
Primary objective of the program: A program for students and post-graduate students who wish to pursue their degrees in their major subject with a focus on comparative social institutions and/or North America.
Secondary objective: Students who wish to focus on North American Studies, in conjunction with their major, but do not intend to continue studies past a Master’s degree.
The NAM program is especially suited for students planning a career in research, international organizations and/or international business. Furthermore, it is particularly useful for students planning to write their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation on a comparative and/or North American topic.
Students may take North American Studies in any order.
North American Studies, Basic Studies, 25 op
Upon completion of the studies the student:
- understands social sciences from a comparative (North America and Europe) and multidisciplinary perspective
- has a knowledge of social, economic, political and cultural developments and policies in North America
Content: The basic studies are structured into five sections. NAM-I is required. Students may choose 3 out of NAM II, NAM-III, NAM-IV and NAM-X. They are worth five 5 ECTS credits each. The sections are completed by attending lecture courses and writing essays.
NAM-I Introduction to North American Studies, 5 ECTS
Learning objectives: The purpose of the introduction course is to familiarize students with how the issue of social institutions is addressed in economics and political science. This is an independent study course. Students will write a paper based on the methodology and material learned in other NAM courses. The work will be written under the supervision of Professor Katri Sieberg. will be co-taught, with each field providing two lectures outlining their own approaches.
Content: An introduction to the multidisciplinary study of social institutions.
NAM-II Social Institution Histories, 5 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will take a history course on a type of social institution – welfare state institutions or political institutions. This course will provide a foundation for how the field of history approaches the study of social institutions.
Content: North American and/or European History related to a social institution (welfare state, political or economic institution).
NAM-III Law, Government and Politics, 5-10 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will familiarize themselves with similarities and differences between the North American and Nordic legal and political systems.
Content: The legal and political systems of America and Europe.
NAM-IV Economics, 5-10 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will take an economics course on a type of social institution – welfare state institutions, or economic or political institutions. This course will provide a foundation for how the field of economics approaches the study of social institutions.
NAM-X Guest lectures, 5 ECTS
Learning objectives: Student will be exposed to broad variety of representations of American issues.
Content: Guest lectures by visiting lecturers, online lectures and podcasts. The program will announce suitable guest lectures when available. A list of suitable online lectures and podcasts are available on the program’s homepage.
Required studies: The students are expected to attend 20 guest lectures and/or listen to online-material (podcasts / online lectures). Based on the lectures and online-material students will write a learning diary, that contains 20 entries. Each lecture, podcast or online lecture will serve as one entry to the diary. One diary entry is one page.
The learning diary should be reflective. The students should not merely summarize the content of the presentation, but reflect on the content, how it relates to other information the student has, what questions it raises etc. Guest lectures and presentations will be marked on a guest-lecture form, which is available online: Guest Lecture Form
North American Studies, Intermediate Studies, 35 op
Upon completion of the studies the student:
- has learned analytical tools of economics (microeconomics, welfare economics, public economics, econometric analysis, cost-benefit-risk analysis)
- is able to identify, collect and test appropriate data to understand the effects of policies and programs by using the proper method
- is able to write interdisciplinary research papers
NAM-VI Special courses in North American Studies, 20 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will gain an in-depth perspective on a broad selection of social institutions issues in North America and in Europe.
Content: NAM-6 can be completed by taking various courses and seminars in North American Studies.
NAM-VII Methodology, 5–10 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will learn quantitative methodological approaches to comparative research on social institutions.
Content: Quantitative Social Science Research methodology.
NAM-VIII Proseminar, 10 ECTS
Learning objectives: The students will learn how to combine material from a NAM-VI seminar and methodology from a NAM-VII course to write an extensive research paper.
Content: North American Studies research.
Required studies: The Proseminar is an independent study course. For the Proseminar, students must complete a NAM-VI seminar and a NAM-VII course. Students will write an extensive research paper based on the methodology and material learned in these courses. The work will be written under the supervision of Professor Katri Sieberg.