Cultural Studies Master's Degree Programs

Cultural studies programs could include art, music, economics, politics and other cultural aspects of different societies. Get information about program options and careers that might need this knowledge. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Cultural Studies?

Master's programs in cultural studies often examine different cultures within the United States, though some may focus on international cultures. You must have a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for admission. Some programs require you to submit an essay or statement of purpose that details your interest in cultural studies. You may also have to submit a writing sample that either demonstrates your knowledge of the field or explains what ideas you would like to explore in your program. Although language competency isn't required for entrance to most master's-level cultural studies programs, you may need to be proficient in a foreign language to graduate.

Prerequisites A bachelor's degree is required for admission; institutions may also require an academic writing sample, personal statement, and a demonstration of foreign language proficiency
Common Courses African-American studies, gender issues, Hispanic American studies, sociology, Native American studies
Possible Careers Community organizer, counselor, education

What Is the Program Like?

Through this master's degree program, you will study how race, class, gender, politics and economics affect society and culture. Some programs have a psychological emphasis, allowing you to pair your study of culture with an examination of psychological topics and counseling techniques. Most cultural studies master's degree programs are available only on-campus.

Your program may focus on U.S. culture, including classes in Hispanic American, Native American or African-American studies. It might also be possible to examine gender issues, such as how feminism has influenced the economy. You may also use music, art and film as a means of studying different cultures. Research usually makes up a major portion of this degree program. Some possible course topics include:

  • Cultural theories
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Eating disorders
  • Conducting cultural research with children
  • Sociology
  • Criticism in film and literature

How Can I Use This Degree?

If you choose a program with a psychological emphasis, you may be able to go into counseling, working with people who have psychological disorders. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for a license in counseling ( You may also be qualified to enter a doctoral program in counseling in order to further your studies in this area.

Earning a cultural studies master's degree could also prepare you to be a community organizer, working within a community to achieve political or socially beneficial ends. This can be accomplished by helping people recognize their rights through rallies, literature and films, which can all be used to make improvements and change laws.

Other options include entry into a doctoral program in cultural studies or a related discipline, like Spanish literature. The course of study your pursue while earning your master's degree will have a strong impact on the type of doctoral program you can enter. For example, if you focus your cultural studies program on gender, you may be qualified to earn a doctorate in gender studies.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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