What is Cultural Studies?

Have you ever felt the need to understand the complexities of everyday life, our belief systems, social patterns, or moral values and meaning? If these resonate with you, then it’s worth exploring an interdisciplinary field known as cultural studies, which examines the political dynamics of contemporary culture and its historical significance.

Here’s what we’ll look at today

What is cultural studies?

Cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines how cultural practices and meaning are produced in a society over a period of time. They also look at how these meanings keep changing over time and how these practices and meanings are circulated and exchanged.

According to cultural studies, culture is not understood just as a text or an artistic product like a movie, music, play or book, but it is a dynamic and complexly patterned way of life. Cultural studies will explore a wide variety of cultural forms and practices; this includes our race, nation, class, gender, what we consume, popular media, popular culture, the world we live in, and the ideologies that govern us. Cultural studies will also give you the tool to analyse cultural practices, representations, different identities, and also different rituals and beliefs.

What does a degree in cultural studies offer?

Cultural studies is a degree that has become extensively popular over the years in academia. It is an interdisciplinary field which draws from both humanities and social sciences and is based on the theories and practices from both humanities and social sciences. Cultural studies as an academic degree is also a field that focuses largely on subjections of fields like media studies and literary studies. Cultural studies got recognised as an academic area much later in time, even when the seminal works, theories and texts in the field of cultural studies were based in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

According to Stuart Hall, one of the most famous theorists, Cultural Studies as a project is open-ended” it does not have any singular origins and has multiple discourses, histories, and trajectories. This makes it clear that there can’t be any rigid boundaries for cultural studies and cultural studies is an extensively multidisciplinary field.

Cultural studies as an academic discipline draw principally on the fields of anthropology, education, history, law, literary studies, politics, sociology, psychology, economics, media studies and communication, philosophy and other physical sciences.

International students from countries like India, France, Britain and other places are passionabte about exploring the multifaceted dimensions of Cultural Studies. The allure of this academic discipline lies in its ability to transcend rigid boundaries and embrace a multitude of perspectives.

Skills required to master cultural studies course

  • Leading and participating in discussions
  • Ability to work within a team
  • Excellent written skills
  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking and an understanding of Critical Theory
  • Ability to critique and analyse cultural text using various methodologies
  • Ability to critique and analyse a text
  • Ability to communicate ideas and theories
  • Knowledge of different theoretical schools
  • Academic research skills
  • Time management
  • Organisation skills
  • Creative skills
  • Basic I.T. skills

Top universities to study cultural studies

Top 10 colleges offering Bachelors in Cultural Studies

Name of the University Name of the course Fees Country
University of California, Berkeley Global Studies, B.A. $19,695 United States of America
Yale University Ethnicity, Race and Migration, B.A. $87,705 United States of America
New York University B.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis $95,054 United States of America
UCL Language and Culture BA $35,610.01 United Kingdom
University of Toronto Honours Bachelor of Arts in Global Asia Studies $45,960.72 Canada
King’s College London Culture, Media & Creative Industries BA $32,069.34 United Kingdom
University of British Columbia Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies $23,569.93 Canada
The University of Melbourne Bachelor of Arts in Screen and Cultural Studies $93,365.05 Australia
The University of Sydney B.A. in Cultural Studies $32,659.60 Australia
University of Amsterdam Bachelor in Global Arts, Culture and Politics $10,384.07 Netherlands


Name of the University Name of the course Fees Country
Columbia University Comparative and International Education, M.A. $33,932 United States of America
New York University M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis $89,132 ) United States of America
University of California, Los Angeles Culture and Performance, M.A. $31,949 United States of America
The University of Edinburgh Cultural Studies, MScR $36,495.94 United Kingdom
UCL Cultural Heritage Studies MA $39,411.79 United Kingdom
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology $82,730 United States of America
King’s College London Cultural & Creative Industries MA $35,506.91 United Kingdom
The University of Melbourne Master of Arts and Cultural Management $57,527.04 Australia
The University of Sydney Master of Cultural Studies $31,001.67 Australia
University of Amsterdam Master’s in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage $18,863.64 Netherlands

Various courses offered in cultural studies by universities are as follows :

  • B.A. Cultural analysis.
  • BA MA in Cultural Leadership
  • Master in Media and Communication Studies: Culture, Collaborative Media, and Creative Industries
  • MA in Comparative International Relations
  • Master in Intercultural Encounters
  • MA in Tourism and Culture
  • MA in Ethnic and Migration Studies
  • MA in Heritage Studies
  • M.A. Cultural Studies
  • B.A. Language and culture.
  • B.A. Latin American studies.
  • B.A. African studies

An undergraduate degree in cultural studies is offered as a B.A and BA Hons course in various universities for a duration of three years. After completing the undergraduate program in cultural studies, students can aim for a two-year master’s program with a specialisation in media, communication studies, creative industries, comparative international relations, tourism and culture and also heritage studies. There are also doctorate courses in cultural studies offered by prestigious universities.

Qualifications Required for Bachelors and Master’s in Cultural Studies

Qualifications required to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Cultural Studies may vary depending on the specific university and country. However, here are some general guidelines:
For a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies:

  • Educational Background: Typically, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required. Some universities may have specific subject requirements or recommend a background in humanities or social sciences.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in the language of instruction is crucial. Many programs may require proof of proficiency through standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers.
  • Application Materials: Submission of application materials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement may be required.
  • Interviews/Entrance Exams: Some institutions may require an interview or entrance exam as part of the admission process.

For a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A relevant Bachelor’s degree is usually required with a major in fields such as Cultural Studies, Cultural Theory, Anthropology, Linguistics, Sociology, Literature, or related disciplines and key concepts. Some programmes may accept applicants with degrees in other areas if they have relevant coursework or experience.
  • GPA Requirements: Many programmes have GPA requirements, and competitive programs may look for candidates with a strong academic record.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation from professors or professionals familiar with the applicant’s academic or work experience are commonly required.
  • Statement of Purpose: Applicants are often required to submit a statement of purpose outlining their academic and career goals, as well as their interest in Cultural Studies.
  • Language Proficiency: For international students, proof of English language proficiency through tests like the TOEFL or IELTS is typically required.
  • Interviews/Writing Samples: Some programs may require an interview or writing samples as part of the application process to assess the candidate’s suitability for the program.

Always check the specific requirements of the universities or colleges you are interested in, as they may have unique criteria for admission to their Cultural Studies programs.

What is the Course Content of Cultural Studies?

The course content of the cultural studies programme is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how cultural phenomena shape and reflect human experiences. This field delves into a wide range of topics, including literature, media, art, language, history, and social practices. Students engage in critical analysis and theoretical frameworks to examine how cultural artefacts and practices influence and are influenced by power dynamics, social structures, and historical contexts.
The contemporary cultural studies curriculum often covers subjects such as postcolonial studies, gender studies, popular culture, globalization, and the intersections of race, class, and ethnicity. With a focus on fostering critical thinking, Cultural Studies encourages students to question prevailing norms, challenge assumptions, and contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrounding cultural diversity and social change. The dynamic and evolving nature of cultural studies ensures that its course content remains responsive to contemporary societal shifts and challenges.

Here’s a look at some important contents that are part of a cultural studies curriculum:

  • Varieties of Cultural Studies
  • Decolonising Social Trends
  • Understanding Western Culture
  • Reconstructing the Disciplines
  • Conceptualising Cultural Differences
  • Modern Political Thoughts
  • Select Articles on Anthropology and Folklore
  • Reading culture: interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Cultural psychology
  • Gender studies
  • Transnationalism and the globalised world
  • Filming the nation
  • History and literature
  • Science fiction and fantasy
  • Marxism and Marxist Theory
  • Art History
  • Consumer Culture and High Culture
  • Subculture and Cultural Products
  • Literary Theory

What do cultural studies graduates do?

A cultural studies graduate has career opportunities in various industries. Especially as employers seek people with diverse skill sets and knowledge. Some of the roles, a young graduate can pursue around the world along with average salaries are as follows:

Profession Brief job role Average Salary
International Partnership Manager An international partnership manager is responsible for building and fostering relationships with international business partners, affiliates etc. You will be in charge of negotiating contract terms, analyzing company data to determine and establish the best partnerships, following up with leads on potential partnerships, preparing progress reports for key shareholders etc. $65,000
Policy Analyst A policy analyst performs research to form expert opinions on current and potential governmental policies. They analyse both quantitative (demographic information) and qualitative (survey opinions) data and devise policies for the public and government to consider. $42,000
Diversity and Inclusion Manager Diversity and inclusion managers help companies develop internal strategies and programs to create a positive environment for employees from different cultures. $54,000
Social Studies Teacher The social studies teacher helps students understand political systems, historical trends and cultures across the world. $37,000
Diplomatic Agent A diplomatic agent serves as a representative for their home country while living in another country and works to establish and maintain a positive partnership between their country and the country they are residing in. $1,30,000
Anthropologist An anthropologist studies the origins, developments and influences related to human behaviours and cultures. They conduct experiments, and data analysis and present their findings through papers or lectures, or offer advice to organizations on the potential cultural impact of their products. $£34000

Here are a few other job opportunities available for cultural studies graduates:

  • Conservator
  • Curator
  • Geographer
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Expert
  • educator
  • Translator &Interpreter
  • Researcher
  • Journalist, Communications & Public Relations
  • Government offices & Politics
  • World Development
  • Travel and Tourism sector
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Law
  • Speech Therapy and Pathology
  • Publishing

So, if you are ready to be part of the academic field that will provide you with the knowledge to understand the complexities of everyday life and analyse it from a critical perspective, then there is no better time to get into one of the most trending and emerging fields of studies known as cultural studies.

How TC Global Can Help International Students?

At TC Global, our mission is to guide international students seamlessly into Cultural Studies programs. Our expert counsellors provide personalized assistance, navigating admission intricacies to ensure a smooth application process. We understand the unique challenges and nuances of each cultural studies programme.

From crafting compelling personal statements to selecting the right courses, our team empowers students to present their best selves to admission committees. Leveraging a vast network of academic institutions, TC Global is committed to opening doors for aspiring learners, making the journey to cultural studies admissions a well-supported and successful experience. We’re here to turn academic dreams into reality.

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