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; for example, a Lorde music video becomes a significant cultural text alongside 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 new commodity models, communications and information technology, and globalisation affect our culture.
- The Cultural Studies programme at UC is the only such interdisciplinary programme in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than ten departments across the College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata 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 pathways of study: gender and sexuality, Aotearoa New Zealand studies, popular and visual culture, and 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.
UC offers a major and a minor in Cultural Studies as part of the Bachelor of Arts.
Courses from many subjects across the Arts are co-coded (shared) with Cultural Studies to explore a variety of topics, for example Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Digital Humanities, History, Media and Communication, and Sociology.
Cultural Studies major
To complete a major in Cultural Studies within the Bachelor of Arts, you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:
- Two 100-level CULT courses (or other courses approved by the Programme Coordinator)
- CULT 202 Cultural Politics/Cultural Activism
- Two 200-level CULT courses (or other courses approved by the Programme Coordinator)
- Two 300-level CULT courses (or other courses approved by the Programme Coordinator)
Cultural Studies minor
For the Cultural Studies minor in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, you will need to take these courses throughout your chosen degree:
- 75 points in 100 to 300-level CULT courses, or other courses approved by the Programme Coordinator, with at least 45 points at 200-level or above
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.
6th Floor, Karl Popper building – see campus maps
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Browse related subjects to Cultural Studies
Choose an area that you are interested in and learn how UC's extensive range of study options can let you study what you want to.
The cultural impact and influence of cinema has been enormous. Film pervades many aspects of our daily lives and a critical awareness of its tools and ...