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Course content

This programme is not currently running, but may be reinstated in future.

Programme description

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.

Programme structure

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.

Learning outcomes

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.

Career opportunities

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.


Visit the Cultural Studies (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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