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:
cultural theory and concepts
art, media and performance
interdisciplinary objects of study and methodologies
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:
have an in-depth knowledge of the structure of the cultural field and the aims and functions of cultural policy in Flanders (to a lesser extent) and Belgium/Europe (to a larger extent);
are fit for employment in a cultural institution or organisation;
are aware of the current definitions of culture and the theoretical debates on these definitions;
are capable of writing an individual research report;
have developed a solid scientific attitude towards the major methodological aspects and issues in the field of cultural studies.
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.