Cultural Studies


Certificate in Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Graduate Diploma in Arts 
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
Master of Arts 
Doctor of Philosophy

Bachelor of Commerce (minor only)

Students with animals


In Cultural Studies, ‘culture’ is understood very broadly, but with a strong emphasis on local everyday life. Cultural Studies does not follow traditional distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture; a Lorde music video becomes a significant cultural text alongside, say, a classical opera.

Cultural Studies analyses many popular cultural forms: film and television, comics and graphic novels, advertising, art, new media, music, fashion, sport and leisure to name just a few. These domains are shown to be extremely powerful political forces in shaping our societies and our identities.

The contemporary theories of culture view it as something dynamic, living and changeable. This leads to questions of how culture is produced, how we interpret culture, how culture can be preserved or destroyed, and how do new commodity models, communications and information technology and globalisation affect our culture?

Why study Cultural Studies at UC?

The Cultural Studies programme at UC is the only such interdisciplinary programme in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than 10 programmes across the College of Arts teach into this subject, giving students exposure to different perspectives and theories and the opportunity to study a diverse range of contemporary cultural domains and texts. Our aim is not to simplify culture or try to unify it, but rather to embrace its complexity.

The programme specialises in four strands or pathways of study:

  • gender and sexuality
  • Aotearoa New Zealand studies
  • popular and visual culture
  • human-animal studies.

Each pathway has a student advisor associated with it who can be contacted for more information. However students may choose not to specialise and opt for a more diverse programme of study.


See all Cultural Studies courses

100-level courses

Courses from many subjects across the College of Arts are co-coded with Cultural Studies, including AnthropologyChineseCinema StudiesDigital HumanitiesEnglishHistoryHuman ServicesMāori and Indigenous StudiesMedia and CommunicationMusic and Sociology.

200-level and beyond

Our programme is constructed so that students with a variety of backgrounds will converge in the 200-level core course CULT202 Cultural Politics/Cultural Activism

Numerous optional courses at 300-level offer a taste of the advanced specialised work that is an excellent basis for postgraduate work.

Career opportunities

You can construct a degree that is quite generalised (perhaps suited for a teaching career) or relatively specialised (eg, film and media; sexuality and gender; places, spaces and technologies; bicultural studies; cultural identity and politics; environmentalism and human-animal studies).

Cultural Studies leads to careers in fields where a wide analytic grasp of contemporary culture is required eg, the media industries, journalism, publishing, writing, website design, advertising, museology, public relations, teaching and education, advocacy, policy analysis and arts management.

Because of the breadth and flexibility of a graduate's understanding of culture, they are also able to move among such fields easily.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Cultural Studies.

More information

School of Humanities and Creative Arts

Phone +64 3 369 3377

6th Floor, Karl Popper Building - see campus maps

Postal address
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Contessa Loh

Tze Chieh Contessa Loh

'I am very grateful to be awarded the sports scholarship...'

Siobhan McMillan

Siobhan McMillan

'At honours level, you begin to discover more complicated theories...'