Master of Cultural Studies
The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.
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.
Our program is the only specialist Cultural Studies masters 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, including Professor Meaghan Morris, who is Director of the program. 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.
Understanding cultural processes is key in many fields of work, and will enhance any career involving culture. Our graduates have taken up positions in government and community sectors through to the arts, education and communication industries. The program also provides postgraduate research pathways for students undertaking the optional dissertation component who achieve a distinction average or higher.
Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.
Units of study
For full information on Units of Study available in this course, please visit the Sydney Courses website
Full units of study list
- ARHT6930 - Film Theory: Art,Industry,Culture
- ARHT6937 - Curating Asian Art
- ARIN6901 - Network Society
- ARIN6902 - Internet Cultures and Governance
- ARIN6905 - New Media Audiences
- ARIN6920 - Dissertation Part 1
- ARIN6921 - Dissertation Part 2
- ARTS7000 - Academic Communication for Postgraduates
- ASNS6905 - Asian Popular Culture
- GCST5902 - Natures and Cultures of Bodies
- GCST5905 - Identity Place and Culture
- GCST5906 - Cultural Studies Internship Placement
- GCST5907 - Cultural Studies Internship Project
- GCST5909 - Key Thinkers for Cultural Studies
- GCST6901 - Cultural Policy
- GCST6903 - Debates in Cultural Studies
- GCST6905 - Gender in Cultural Theory
- HRTG6901 - The Idea of Heritage
- LNGS7006 - Cross-Cultural Communication
- MECO6902 - Legal & Ethical Issues in Media Practice
- MECO6926 - International Media Practice
- MECO6929 - Chinese Media Studies in Global Contexts
- MIPH5116 - Culture,Health,Illness and Medicine
- MUSM7035 - Ethics of Cultural Property
- PACS6909 - Cultures of Violence
- PACS6915 - Human Rights,Peace and Justice
- SCLG6902 - Doing Social Research
- SCLG6903 - New Debates in Social Theory
- USSC6919 - American Film and Hollywood
- USSC6920 - US Media: Politics,Culture,Technology
- WMST6902 - Arguing the Point
- WMST6903 - Gender,Media and Consumer Societies
- WMST6904 - Modernism,Modernity and Modern Culture
- WMST6922 - Dissertation Part 1
- WMST6923 - Dissertation Part 2
Further course information
The MCS requires the satisfactory completion of 8 units of study (48 credit points) (cp), including 2 core units of study (12cp), GCST6903 Debates in Cultural Studies and GCST5909 Key Thinkers for Cultural Studies, plus at least 3 units of study (18cp) from a designated selection of core electives. Candidates should consult the academic coordinator for advice about structuring an appropriate pathway of study. Candidates must also consult the academic coordinator prior to enrolling for (i) an internship placement (6cp) and associated project (6cp) and/or (ii) a dissertation (12cp). Intending dissertation candidates prepare a research proposal and discuss their topic with the academic coordinator. Approval is subject to the department's discretion and the availability of an appropriate academic supervisor. The dissertation is normally undertaken over two semesters and comprises research and writing toward a project of approximately 15,000 words.
Under normal progression, a full-time student shall undertake and successfully complete all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Entry into the internship and dissertation units will require departmental permission first. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for their units of study.
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
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.
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 to candidature for the Master of Cultural Studies requires:
(a) a bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65%) average, from the University of Sydney, including a major in a relevant subject area in the humanities or social sciences, or an equivalent qualification; or
(b) completion of the requirements for the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Cultural Studies with a minimum credit (65%) average, or an equivalent qualification.
How to apply
How to apply
Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through UAC - 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.
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).
Indicative postgraduate student contribution amount
This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are 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). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2013 your student contribution may differ.
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 2014, 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 2013 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 tuition fees for postgraduate students
This 2014, tuition fee for international postgraduate students represents the fees that are 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.
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.