What is cultural studies?

Cultural studies bring together different fields such as sociology, history and anthropology in an attempt to decipher cultures and people's behavior. This article covers the field of cultural studies, its applications and courses of study.

An overview of cultural studies

Cultural studies are used to try to determine the formation of different cultures or to explore aspects of cultures. Cultural scholars may investigate topics such as racial relations, social hierarchies, or nationalism. Additionally, they can focus on American Studies, Global Studies, Feminism, Popular Culture, Gay and Lesbian Issues, and Ethnicity. Cultural studies can also include:

  • technology
  • literature
  • Culture of war
  • Political economy

application areas

Cultural scholars use their understanding of cultures in different ways. You may work in museums or historical societies to research past cultures. You may work with social groups, advocacy groups, or nonprofits to identify and meet the needs of others. Many apply their knowledge to further academic studies in areas ranging from anthropology and sociology to media or gender studies.

Degree programs in cultural studies

Most students interested in cultural studies pursue an advanced degree, although some undergraduate programs are available. Here is a list of sample courses:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in American Cultural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in cultural and historical research
  • Master of Arts in Cultural Studies
  • Master of Arts in literary and cultural studies
  • Ph.D. in cultural studies
  • Ph.D. in image and cultural studies

The study achievements in cultural studies courses are interdisciplinary and include courses in history, literature, art, religious studies, gender studies and philosophy. Graduate courses often include research projects, internships and study visits abroad. Proof of foreign language skills is also a frequent requirement for the degree. Masters students may need to complete a thesis, while PhD students may need to write and defend a publishable dissertation.

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