The term ‘cultural studies’ first of all refers to the study of cultural policy at all levels of policy-making and management in the public sector (local, regional, national, international). Cultural policies are anchored in legal texts and best practices. Our programme has a strongly practice-based approach to these policies. ‘Cultural studies’ also refers to a specific type of analysis and interpretation of culture. This approach to cultural studies is mainly indebted to the Anglo-Saxon tradition. Our KU Leuven team has always been an active contributor to this particular field as well.
The MA in Cultural Studies places the following emphases:
The Master of Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary programme that aims at preparing the student for a wide range of executive functions in the cultural field (cultural mediation, criticism, media, heritage). In order to achieve this goal, the programme offers a combination of theoretical and practical modules.
At the end of the programme, graduates:
As both a hands-on and theoretically oriented programme, the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies prepares students for careers in a wide range of fields. On the one hand, many graduates become public servants and cultural policy officers at all levels of government (local, regional, national, international). On the other, many graduates enter the large field of creative industries (music, television, print and online media). The programme's regularly updated internship database provides a good overview of the possibilities open to students of cultural studies.
A fair number of students combine their studies (in 2 years) with a teachers' training programme, which prepares them for a teaching career. Students eager to find their way in the cultural sector should realise, however, that working in culture rarely entails a nine-to-five job. Special qualities such as passion, enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility, teamwork and good verbal and communicative skills are crucial. This programme in aims to hone those qualities.
This programme takes an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary culture and cultural theory.
Adopting transcultural perspectives, we encourage investigations into the questions of identity and representation; the urban realm as a site of intense cultural production; and instructive tensions between spatial, textual, visual and material forms that both shape and are shaped by cultural contexts, specific practices, various image and media technologies and theoretical debates.
In engaging with the complexities of visual knowledge and the technological mediations of images, texts and objects, the programme encourages critical reflections and research methodologies in which image and visual practice contribute to the research corpus and serve as critical tools of investigation.
In exploring social and political conditions in which cultural expressions take place, especially the local and global processes of transformation and contestation, the programme offers a unique focus on the diverse manifestations of material cultures and cultural landscapes.
Multidisciplinary and critical comparative approaches are key facets of the discipline of cultural studies and we welcome students coming from varied academic backgrounds and cultural traditions.
The programme combines seminar and tutorial work with group discussions, class presentations, essays and longer research projects (dissertations).
Both core courses and some option courses employ innovative pedagogies that encourage critical and theoretical reflection through engagement with visual production, visual essays and multimedia presentations.
Option courses are drawn from architecture, history of art and other Schools within the wider University.
By following this programme students will benefit from the following learning outcomes:
Acquire a thorough grounding in key terms, debates and theories framing urban cultural and visual studies.
Expand and refine critical appreciation of current developments and discourses related to urban cultural studies and visual culture.
Acquire and/or further develop their capacity to think in both images and texts, and explore theoretical questions through the engagement in spatial and visual practices.
Acquire and /or further develop their abilities and skills for curating and presenting visual and spatial research.
Gain critical, analytical, interpretative and representational skills that are transferable to both academic and other professional settings.
Throughout the programme, your learning will be supported by guest seminars and critical reviews, film screenings, exhibitions, workshops, field trips and events and directed towards events hosted by the University and other cultural institutions within the city.
This programme is an ideal stepping stone towards advanced study in cultural studies and any related field. This in itself could lead to an ongoing academic career, or a role in education. You may otherwise take the critical, analytical, interpretive and representational skills and apply them in almost any professional setting.
Discover the richness and diversity of new writings in English with this distinctive degree, which focuses on literature from across the Commonwealth and the theoretical issues that emerge from colonial and postcolonial literatures.
You’ll develop your understanding of research in literary studies through a core module, but then choose from optional modules which look at the histories, contexts, structures and language that give postcolonial and colonial texts their uniqueness.
We focus on literature, but the programme also introduces you to other forms of cultural production such as music and cinema – and you’ll think about the relationships between literary studies and disciplines such as geography, anthropology and history. Supported by our Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, you’ll gain a cross-disciplinary insight into how writers from around the world have engaged with issues such as identity, place, independence, development and race among many others.
The University of Leeds was the first UK university to establish ‘Commonwealth Literature’ as an academic discipline at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We’re still leading the way in research and teaching, supported by the expertise of staff within and outside of the cross-disciplinary Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies.
You’ll study in a supportive environment with access to extensive resources for your research and placing literature and culture in their historical and political context. Microfilm collections of American, Indian and South African newspapers, parliamentary papers relating to the British Empire, US government and presidential files, the Church Missionary Society Archives, the Black Power Movement archive and British documents on the end of empire, foreign affairs and policy overseas are just some of the resources at your fingertips. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore your interests and gain key skills.
This programme is also available to study part-time.
You’ll take one core module in your first semester, introducing you to the challenges, methods and approaches used in researching literature and allowing you to develop your skills. You’ll also choose one of our optional modules, before studying another two in your second semester.
You can choose all of your modules from within postcolonial literary and cultural studies, but you also have the option to expand your studies by choosing one from those available across the School of English, from the early medieval period to contemporary literature.
By the end of the programme, you’ll demonstrate the skills and knowledge you’ve developed when you submit your dissertation or research project on a postcolonial literary or cultural topic of your choice.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
You’ll have weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. However, independent study is a vital part of the degree, as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.
Most of our modules are assessed by a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you submit at the end of the semester in which you studied the module. You may also be expected to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work, or give presentations in your seminars.
This programme will equip you with a wide range of high-level transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.
You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.
All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll have the skills to pursue a career in fields including teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be well equipped for a career in academia.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website