Master of Cultural Studies

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

The Master of Cultural Studies investigates the changing meanings of culture in our everyday world. It explores the studying of culture not as a monolithic, self-evident construct, but as a constantly shifting field through which life is experienced and negotiated. You will gain insight into the ideologically charged meanings of identity, self‑expression and embodiment.

Our Cultural Studies program allows you to engage critically with culture in its manifest expressions. Using real-world examples across the topics of popular culture, media, gender, sexuality, globalisation and consumer culture, you will analyse cultural forms and debate their significance in relation to given contexts.

Cultural Studies will lead you to question identity, community, representation, power, values and the practice of everyday life. The course draws on diverse critical perspectives as you gain the theoretical tools to understand how culture is produced, circulated and lived.

The Master of Cultural Studies is the only specialised program in Australia. Housed in the internationally recognised Department of Gender and Cultural Studies – a leading centre for research into gender and culture – you will critically engage in a dynamic postgraduate community and learn under the guidance of esteemed researchers in the field.

An optional cultural studies internship also gives you the opportunity to undertake cultural research in a business, government or non-governmental body, enhancing your appreciation of applied cultural work.
The Master of Cultural Studies assumes no background in the field; however those familiar with the discipline are also welcome to extend their knowledge.

Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.

Course outline

For an up-to-date list of units of study for this degree, please refer to the online postgraduate handbook.

Study plan


(a) a minimum of 24 credit points from core elective units of study; and

(b) a maximum of 24 credit points from elective units of study; and. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points of elective units can be taken from units of study outside those listed in the Cultural Studies subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, units of study offered by other faculties.

(c) a minimum of 12 credit points of capstone units of study.

Embedded courses

Further course information

Capstone experience

Candidates undertaking a Master of Cultural Studies degree may apply to undertake cultural studies internship placement upon department approval of a viable project. The placement may involve work on a specific project or a general role in a workplace that undertakes cultural work, broadly defined from multiculturalism to media, gender to NGOs and the cultural sector. Students are welcome to suggest their own internship field or host organisation, which can also, where relevant, be one where the candidate already works.

Upon department approval of a viable project, eligible candidates undertaking the degree of Master of Cultural Studies have the option of completing a dissertation over two units of study, normally undertaken over two semesters, with a value of 12 credit points, under the supervision of an academic staff member.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Understanding cultural processes is key in many fields of work, from government and community sectors through to the arts, education and communication industries. One of the study options is an internship that enables students to undertake a research project with a relevant organisation upon departmental approval.

Students who complete the dissertation component at Distinction level or above will be eligible to apply for a research degree.

Further study

Graduates of the Master of Cultural Studies who have completed a dissertation with a meritorious grade are eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in their chosen subject area.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to candidature for the Master of Cultural Studies requires:

(a) a bachelor's degree with a minimum credit (65%) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, including a major in a relevant subject area in the humanities or social sciences, or an equivalent qualification

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - click on the 'Apply now' icon on this page to proceed with your application.

Please note: not all courses are offered in the July semester intake.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply:
(i) directly to the University via the International Office. Further information on applications and English language requirements and support services for international students is available on the International Office website.

or (ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent).

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Annual review for postgraduate student contribution amount

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

This 2015, tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student represents the fee that is payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2014 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review for postgraduate domestic tuition fee

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information in this prospectus, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents

Please note that if you are classified by the University as a Research Training Scheme student in accordance with the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2010, you will be exempt from the payment of any SCA or tuition fees for courses undertaken as part of a Research Masters degree and Research Doctoral degree. More information about your eligibility for this Scheme is available here.

International students

International tuition fees for postgraduate students

This 2015, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). If your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL your fee will differ.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. The University's Future Students' webpage has further information about these additional incidental fees for postgraduate coursework students and postgraduate research students.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.