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The Cultural Studies program offers all course work designated CULT in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog.
This doctoral program, the first of its kind in the United States, unites selected faculty members from 10 departments to serve students contemplating careers in scholarship and practice. Cultural studies is an emerging field of interdisciplinary inquiry, arising in response to dramatic historical and social changes. As the focus on cultural process transforms an entire range of disciplines in both the humanities and social sciences, scholars are embracing new conceptions of culture and new methods for its study.
George Mason's Ph.D. in Cultural Studies is distinctive in several respects. Similar programs in other universities are usually departmentally based (in English, history, sociology, or communication), emphasizing either the humanities or the social sciences. By contrast, the cultural studies program at George Mason explicitly seeks to link the social sciences and the humanities, combining methods of interpretation and explanation to explore the production, distribution, and consumption of cultural objects in their social contexts. With particular focus on theory and method in crafting this linkage, the program engages contemporary issues of nationality, class, race, and gender, while opening its scope to all forms of culturepast and present.
Students who already have an M.A. in a relevant field are eligible to apply to the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies program. Students with only a bachelor's degree should apply to a master's program in one of six departments that have established feeder programs in cultural studies: English, Sociology and Anthropology, History and Art History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Modern and Classical Languages, or Economics. All these feeder programs culminate in CULT 802 as a capstone seminar. Students may, if they choose, apply simultaneously to the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, so that faculty members may review their academic promise and the suitability of their interests to the program. Especially strong candidates with bachelor's degrees may be admitted into the doctoral program on a conditional basis, depending on their performance in the M.A. program, particularly in CULT 802.
In addition to materials required of all applicants for graduate study at George Mason, applicants to cultural studies should submit the following:
As with all doctoral programs, the emphasis in this program is on the development of intellectual mastery and professional competence. The most important requirements in the program are comprehensive exams and the completion of a doctoral thesis that reflects the student's ability to do original interdisciplinary work that meets professional standards. Each student is required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language before being permitted to defend the doctoral dissertation proposal.
Candidates for the Ph.D. in cultural studies must complete 48 credits beyond the M.A. degree distributed as follows: