The Cultural and Critical Theory MA will give you a sophisticated appreciation of the limits of human understanding, the interdependence of philosophy and theory, and the implications of these for political action, aesthetic sensibility and representation in art and activism.
The course offers three distinct pathways:
• Aesthetics and Cultural Theory • Globalisation, Politics and Culture • Philosophy and Critical Theory
All pathways provide for the development of an advanced understanding of specialist areas in cultural and critical theory, and effective preparation for doctoral research.
The core course, delivered during the autumn and spring terms, is complemented by a research methods module and two elective modules that offer opportunities for study across the range of humanities provision.
The course culminates in the submission of a specialist 20,000-word (or equivalent) project, which allows you to apply your advanced philosophical and theoretical understanding to an issue or text of your choice.
Taught courses are delivered with a maximum size of 12 students. Supervision for the project, and for pre and post-essay tutorials, is on a one-to-one basis with the appropriate tutor.
Why study with us?
• Opportunity to specialise in aesthetics and cultural theory, political and cultural globalisation, or philosophy and critical theory
• Successful international conferences – for example 'Slavery, Race and Reparative History', 'Globalisation and its Discontents' and 'Complicity', all with visiting scholars from across the globe
• The Philosophy, Politics and Aesthetics seminar series that invites debate from across the College, and hosts visiting scholars to deliver seminar papers twice a month
• A research methods module that improves your skills in independent study, and prepares you for doctoral work as well as for your MA project
• Staff with diverse research interests that span art practices, ethics, aesthetics, Marxisms, Freudianisms, Liberalisms, the political philosophy of international relations and global change, philosophy and filmmaking, literature and visual art, political activism and forms of democracy, and more
Areas of study
Delivered during the autumn and spring terms, the core course consists of a common lecture line and two modules in aesthetics and cultural theory, philosophy and critical theory, or political and cultural globalisation, depending on your chosen specialist area.
You also take a research methods module, which prepares you for the research project by considering the various approaches taken by relevant disciplines, interrogating the requirements of MA-level research and addressing how your intended research topic might best be refined.
The project itself normally consists of 18-20,000 word dissertation (or 12,000 words alongside a video, an installation or studio-based work) in which you apply your knowledge of cultural or critical theory to an issue or text of your choosing. Your work towards this submission is supported by one-to-one project supervision.
The elective modules can take one of three forms:
• a module from one of our other arts and humanities MA courses • a Higher Education Teaching and Learning Course in which you shadow a tutor in the delivery of a module on the undergraduate programme • a 10,000-word extended essay with regular one-to-one tutorial supervision.
To find out more about the course syllabus please visit the website:
About a third of graduates from the Cultural and Critical Theory MA go on to PhD study, equipped with advanced research skills and specialist knowledge of their subject area. Others start or continue work as museum or gallery curators, in arts administration, journalism, social work, education or politics.