What Is Cultural Studies?

Cultural studies combines a variety of fields, such as sociology, history and anthropology, in order to attempt to decipher cultures and how people act. This article discusses the field of cultural studies, its applications and degree programs in the field. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Cultural Studies Overview

Cultural studies is used to try to determine the formation of distinct cultures or explore aspects of cultures. Researchers in cultural studies may investigate subjects like race relations, social hierarchies or nationalism. Additionally, they may focus on American studies, global studies, feminism, popular culture, gay and lesbian issues and ethnicity. Cultural studies may also cover:

  • Technology
  • Literature
  • Culture of war
  • Political economy

Important Facts About Cultural Studies

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 4% (for Anthropologists and Archeologists)
Common Courses History of Race in the Americas, Introduction to East Asia, Classical Mythology, Roman Law
Possible Careers Journalist, Media Analyst, Cultural Events Coordinator, Publicist
Online Availability Offered in addition to in-class and hybrid courses
Median Salary (2018) $62,410 (for Anthropologists and Archeologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Applications

Researchers in cultural studies use their understanding of cultures in different ways. They may work in museums or historical societies researching past cultures. They may work with social groups, advocacy associations or non-profit organizations trying to determine and then meet the needs of others. Many apply their knowledge to further academic studies in areas ranging from anthropology and sociology to media or gender studies.

Degree Programs in Cultural Studies

Most students interested in cultural studies pursue an advanced degree, although some bachelor's degree programs are available. Here is a list of example degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Cultural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in American Cultural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural and Historical Studies
  • Master of Arts in Cultural Studies
  • Master of Arts in Literature and Cultural Studies
  • Ph.D. in Cultural Studies
  • Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies

Coursework in cultural studies degree programs is interdisciplinary, including classes in history, literature, art, religious studies, gender studies and philosophy. Graduate degree programs often include research projects, internships and study abroad programs. Demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language is also a common graduation requirement. Master's degree students may need to complete a thesis, while doctoral students are required to write and defend a publishable dissertation.

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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