- Course Work
- Graduate Program
Albanese, Amireh, Bergoffen, Best, Bickford, Bockman, Brown, Burr, Censer, Chang, Copelman, Deshmukh, Dumont, ffolliott, Foreman, Foster, Froman, Fuchs, Gibson, Gilbert, Gould, Greet, Guagnano, Gusterson, Hanrahan, Hodges, Holt, Horton, Jacobs, Jann, Johnsen-Neshati, Kaplan, Karush, Kaufmann, Lancaster (Director), Landsberg, Leeman, Levine, Lont, Mandaville, Matz, Mobley, Miller, O’Connor, O’Malley, Palkovich, Rabin, Radner, Ricouart, Roan, Rosenblum, Rosenzweig, Sample, Scarlata, Seligman, Shutika, P. Smith, P. Smith, S. Smith, Sockett, Stewart, Todd, Trafton, Travis, Vallas, Yadav, Yocom, Zagarri
The Cultural Studies program offers all course work designated CULT in the Course Descriptions chapter of this catalog.
Cultural Studies, PhD
This doctoral program, the first of its kind in the United States, unites selected faculty members from programs across the university 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 the humanities and social sciences, scholars are embracing new conceptions of culture and new methods for its study.
This program is distinctive in several respects. Similar programs at other universities are usually departmentally based (English, history, sociology, or communication), emphasizing either the humanities or the social sciences. By contrast, the cultural studies program at 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, the program engages contemporary issues of nationality, class, race, and gender while opening its scope to all forms of culture, past and present.
Students who already have an MA in a relevant field are eligible to apply to the program. Students with only a bachelor’s degree should apply to a master’s program in a department that has an estab-lished feeder program in cultural studies: English, History and Art History, Modern and Classical Languages, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology. These feeder programs culminate in CULT 802 as a capstone seminar. Students may, if they choose, apply simultaneously to the PhD in cultural studies so that faculty members may review their academic promise and 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 MA program, particularly in CULT 802. Students who wish to apply for an MA and the cultural studies PhD simultaneously must submit two separate applications; one for each program.
In addition to materials required of all applicants for graduate study at Mason, applicants to cultural studies should submit the following:
- Scores on the GRE (general test is required; subject tests are optional)
- Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can judge the applicant’s scholarly potential
- Statement of purpose
- Writing sample demonstrating scholarly potential
As with all doctoral programs, the emphasis in this program is on the development of intellectual mastery and professional competence. The most important requirements are comprehensive exams, and completion of a doctoral thesis reflecting the student’s ability to do original interdisciplinary work that meets professional standards. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language before being permitted to defend the doctoral dissertation proposal.
Candidates for the PhD in cultural studies must complete 48 credits beyond the MA degree distributed as follows:
- Core requirements (9 credits):
- CULT 802 Histories of Cultural Studies
- CULT 806 Research Seminar in Cultural Studies
- CULT 808 Colloquium (three semesters)
- Theory (3 credits), selected from the -following:
- CULT 810 Culture and Political Economy
- CULT 814 Gender and Sexuality
- CULT 820 After Colonialism: Race, Ethnicity, Nationalism
- Methodology (3 credits):
- Under the guidance of faculty advisory committees, students select from departmental graduate offerings (600 level or above) a course in a relevant methodology in which they are not already trained.
- Topic requirement (3 credits), selected from the following:
- CULT 812 Visual and Performative Culture
- CULT 816 Science/Technology
- CULT 818 Social Institutions
- Field requirement (18 credits; two fields of 9 credits each)
- Under the guidance of faculty advisory committees, students select two fields that point topically and theoretically toward teaching interests, dissertation research, and related forms of professional development. Students select relevant courses from departmental graduate offerings (600 level or above), independent study courses, theory or topic courses not used to fulfill the requirements above, and special topics courses. Students also are required to take a 3-credit directed readings course, CULT 870, in each field. Students demonstrate competence in each field by producing a field statement that consists of a comprehensive, critical literature review.
- Comprehensive (Qualifying) Exam
- Written field statements and an oral comprehensive exam based on them constitute the qualifying exam. On successful completion of this requirement, students are advanced to candidacy.
- Dissertation research (12 credits; 998, 999)
- Students are required to register for a minimum of 3 credits of 998 or 999 each semester once they first register for 998, until only 3 credits of dissertation remain (as listed on their program of study). Once enrolled in 998, students must maintain continuous registration in 998 or 999 each semester until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the university library.