PhD in Cultural Studies

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-PHD-CULT

The PhD in Cultural Studies combines theory and method with practice and concrete case studies. Students’ research projects are individualized, as should be the case when research is not confined to the objects and methods of a single discipline. The program’s emphasis is in the development of intellectual mastery and professional competence, while training students for scholarship and teaching. Most graduates go on to careers as university professors. Others pursue careers in cultural advocacy, museum work, and related areas.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 78-81

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Doctoral Coursework

Core Courses
CULT 802 Histories of Cultural Studies 3
CULT 804 Histories of Cultural Studies II 3
CULT 806 Research Seminar in Cultural Studies 3
CULT 808 Student/Faculty Colloquium in Cultural Studies 1 1
Select a minimum of one course from the following: 3
Culture and Political Economy
Social Construction of identity
After Colonialism
Race and Culture
Select a minimum of one course from the following: 3
Visual Culture
Social Institutions
Total Credits 18

Students must take CULT 808 Student/Faculty Colloquium in Cultural Studies a minimum of 3 times

Field Requirements

Under the guidance of faculty advisory committees, students define two fields that point topically and theoretically toward teaching interests, dissertation research, and related forms of professional development. If doctoral level coursework is not available in a given area, students may take one independent study (CULT 870 Independent Study) to support the development of the field.

Field One
CULT 880 Field Concentration 1 3
Two relevant courses from theory or topic courses not used to fulfill the previous requirements or from special topics courses. 6
Field Two
CULT 880 Field Concentration 1 3
Two relevant courses from theory or topic courses not used to fulfill the previous requirements or from special topics courses. 6
Total Credits 18

Must be taught by that field's primary advisor. 

Field Statements

Students demonstrate competence in each of their two chosen fields by producing and orally defending a field statement that consists of a comprehensive, critical literature review.

The field statements and the defense constitute the candidacy exam for the PhD.


Students must take one course in a relevant methodology in which they are not already trained 3
Total Credits 3

Students choose the specific course from program or departmental graduate offerings (600 level or above) under the guidance of their faculty advisory committee.

A course chosen to fulfill the credits for a field requirement, if relevant, may be used to meet the methodology requirement with permission of the faculty advisory committee. Students who do not take a relevant and approved methodology course in partial fulfillment of a field requirement need to take a methodology course (3 credits) to fulfill this requirement. They will have a degree total of 81 credits.

Proficiency in a Foreign Language

Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in at least one foreign language before being permitted to defend the doctoral dissertation proposal.


Students can complete the 78 credit requirement through credits of additional coursework chosen in consultation with an advisor 0-30
Total Credits 0-30

Advancement to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, students must successfully complete all coursework required on their approved program of study and demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Students must also successfully complete two written field statements and pass an oral comprehensive exam based on them.


Once enrolled in CULT 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, students in this degree program must maintain continuous registration in CULT 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal or CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is submitted to and accepted by the University Libraries. Once enrolled in CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation, students must follow the university's continuous registration policy. Students who defend in the summer must be registered for at least 1 credit of CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation.

Students must complete a minimum of 3 credits of CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation. They may apply a maximum of 12 dissertation credits (CULT 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal and CULT 999 Doctoral Dissertation combined) to the degree.

Dissertation Research 12
Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
Doctoral Dissertation (minimum of 3 credits)
Total Credits 12