What Are the Top Schools for Cultural Studies?

Cultural studies programs examine how cultures impact individual and collective experiences. Find out the three top schools offering programs in cultural studies. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of Top Schools for Cultural Studies?

Though cultural studies is an interdisciplinary field suitable for working outside of the bounds of departmental structures, it's not for those who are undecided about their majors. Drawing on literature, the social sciences and the humanities, cultural studies provides a framework for multidisciplinary exploration. You can look for schools with strong overall rankings, research institutes or centers and faculty members who are published in cultural studies journals. The following three schools offer a range of opportunities.

What Are Three Top Schools for Cultural Studies?

George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, VA

GMU is a public university near Washington, D.C., that tied for 135th in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 evaluation of national universities. You can apply to GMU's Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Cultural Studies program, which was the nation's first individual interdisciplinary Ph.D. program. It addresses the critique and transformation of cultural processes, and it encompasses faculty from 14 disciplines who are coordinated by a program director.

As a doctoral student, you have access to interdisciplinary programs in international public affairs, conflict resolution, environmental science and public policy as well as an arts institute. Various reciprocal course and library arrangements are available with nearby schools, including American University, Georgetown University, Howard University, Marymount University, Trinity College and the University of Maryland.

Earn the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies
  • Bachelor of Sciences in Integrative Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Cultural Studies

University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill

UNC tied for 30th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 evaluation. Through the Department of Communication Studies, you can pursue a second undergraduate major or a graduate certificate in cultural studies. You may design a program around a particular theme or problem, and you're encouraged to participate in study abroad and internship opportunities.

If you're interested in graduate programs, consider the graduate certificate program available to M.A. and Ph.D. students. The certificate program teaches you to apply cultural theory to research questions. You may take recommended courses, teach undergraduate cultural studies courses and participate in seminars or reading groups. UNC offers these programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies/Cultural Studies
  • Graduate Concentration Certificate in Cultural Studies for both M.A. and doctoral students
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education with concentration in Cultural Studies and Literacy (CSL)

University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania

The University of Pittsburgh tied for 66th in 2015 as a U.S. News & World Report national university. Its interdisciplinary cultural studies program administers the Cultural Studies Association (CSA), a U.S. organization of scholars in the field. CSA publishes Lateral: A Journal of the Cultural Studies Association.

Faculty from 20 departments support master's and Ph.D. certificate programs in cultural studies. The master's certificate can only be awarded after you earn a master's degree. However, you can pursue the Ph.D. certificate concurrently with the Ph.D. degree upon admission to the program. As a Ph.D. certificate candidate, you're eligible for a 1-year fellowship. These certificates are available:

  • Master of Arts Certificate in Cultural Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy Certificate in Cultural Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English with concentration on Critical and Cultural Studies

More Top Schools with Cultural Studies Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
University of Wisconsin--Madison4-year, PublicMadison, WI
University of California--Los Angeles4-year, PublicLos Angeles, CA
University of Texas--Austin4-year, PublicAustin, TX
New York University4-year, PrivateNew York, NY
Ohio State University4-year, PublicColumbus, OH
University of Maryland--College Park4-year, PublicCollege Park, MD
University of California--Irvine4-year, PublicIrvine, CA
University of California--Davis4-year, PublicDavis, CA
University of Southern California4-year, PrivateLos Angeles, CA
Stony Brook University4-year, PublicStony Brook, NY

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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