Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Masters Excellence Scholarshipsup to £500,000 in tuition fee discounts available

Critical and Cultural Theory (MA)

1 year (Full-time) / 2 years (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Course Aims

The MA in Critical and Cultural Theory engages with interdisciplinary approaches to the study and critique of culture and society. Employing the most ground breaking and influential theorists of the present (e.g., Agamben, Badiou, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, , Lacan, Nancy, Stiegler, Žižek and recent Feminist, Queer, Postcolonial and Digital theorists), the MA explores approaches to a range of issues and problems concerning power, economics, media, identity and discourse in contemporary and historical contexts. The MA in CCCT raises ethical, political and theoretical questions in relation to culture, cultural memory, gender and sexuality, race, history, subjectivity, nation, popular culture and everyday life in a digital, global world.

The aim of the MA is to offer knowledge and expertise to prepare you for PhD study and for work in education and the creative industries. In general, we recommend that students take the one-year taught MA before going on to a PhD.

Course Description

The MA in Critical and Cultural Theory provides both a rewarding MA and an ideal basis for students wishing to undertake research leading to the degree of PhD. Where appropriate, it is also open to first year PhD students, who attend the first two terms of the MA course, and submit the assessed essays, before proceeding to full-time work on the thesis. These essays take account of the material taught in the course, but may also constitute draft sections of the doctoral project.
The Master's Degree is one year full-time. In each semester students take one core and one optional course. They go on to write a dissertation over the summer.


The MA is assessed on the basis of four essays of 4,000 words each (one for each course) and a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words on a topic chosen in consultation with a supervisor. There are no unseen written examinations.

Course Structure

In part one (the taught part) the student chooses at least one of two core modules: Research Foundations or Innovations.
Optional modules in part one cover the following areas:

All options are subject to staff availability. In addition, students attend classes on research methods, bibliography and presentation, and several reading groups are available. There are opportunities to present a paper at a regular Graduate Seminar and at occasional weekend Graduate conferences. Students are expected to attend a regular staff-student Research Seminar.

For more information on the MA and to access module descriptions please visit the school website.


Skills Acquired

After completing the taught part of the MA students will be familiar with some of the key approaches to questions of subjectivity, discourse, power and the virtual. They will have acquired critical understanding of these theories and how they might be employed in analytic work in critical and cultural theory.

Career Prospects

Postgraduate study in the School is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia. Many overseas postgraduates return to lectureships with much enhanced career prospects. Example employers in the UK include Cardiff University, HMRC, Mencap, Poetry Wales Magazine, Teach First, Welsh Government, with jobs that include Crime Intelligence Analyst, Creative Writing Lecturer, Librarian, Poet, Recruitment Consultant, Teacher, Writer Many of the students on the MA go on to study for a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory.

Student Testimonials

'Having loved Cultural Criticism as an undergraduate, I was keen to continue on to MA level. I was not disappointed; the course is engaging, challenging and inspiring in equal measure.'

Emma West, Current Critical and Cultural Theory PhD student

Read Emma's full testimonial

'Having loved Cultural Criticism as an undergraduate, I was keen to continue on to MA level. I was not disappointed; the course is engaging, challenging and inspiring in equal measure. In reference to key theoretical texts, both the core and optional modules help you develop not only an understanding of what these texts mean and their significance, but also an awareness of how you can use the approaches studied in your own work. This knowledge is vital when you come to researching and writing your dissertation.

Because it is relatively small, the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory is a friendly and close-knit community. The staff are approachable and supportive and are always happy to discuss ideas, suggest texts and provide feedback, as well as helping with any concerns you might have. Regular research seminars as well as skills workshops and a reading group provide lots of opportunities to get to know your colleagues and expand your knowledge of different disciplines and approaches. The Centre is international and multicultural, with students from across the world working on diverse but always incredibly interesting projects; it is this diversity which makes the Centre such an exciting and vibrant place in which to study. So much so, I have decided to remain in the Centre for another three years to do my PhD!'

Entry Requirements

Suitable for graduates in Humanities and Social Sciences. A First or Upper Second class UK honours degree, or equivalent is required.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to have a minimum IELTS score of 7 overall.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

In addition to the application form we require the following supporting documents:

Cardiff University Masters Excellence Scheme

This course is included in the Masters Excellence Scholarship 2015 (Pathway to PhD) scheme. If you are looking at applying for a Masters degree with the intention of going on to study at PhD level then you are eligible to apply for this scholarship. The application will ask you to consider your research area and future sources of funding.  It is recognised, however, that in making this application there is not a commitment to undertake further study, or to undertake further studies at Cardiff University.  Similarly, in making an award, Cardiff University is not committing to making an offer for further study or for a further award.

Tuition Fees:

  • UK & EU Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • UK & EU Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • International Full Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):
  • International Part Time (fees are for 2015/16, unless otherwise stated):

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: ENCAP Postgraduate Office, Timothy Collins  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 4722 



School Website:

More information

School of English, Communication and Philosophy