Master of Arts in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory

The interdisciplinary Master of Arts (MA) in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (CAST, normally completed in one year, provides a forum for examining contemporary social and cultural issues.

The program is designed to foster the type of critical inquiry that extends beyond the boundaries of a single academic discipline. Working with professors from across the humanities and social sciences, students gain a comprehensive perspective on the diverse theories and critical methodologies essential to understanding contemporary culture and society. Through coursework and an optional independent research project, students refine their critical thinking and analytical skills, broaden their perspective on contemporary issues, and gain new insights into the social and cultural forces that shape the modern world. This is a multi-campus graduate program, and students may take courses at, and select supervisors from, either campus.

The program is structured around three complementary fields of inquiry:

  1. Globalization, Indentity and Social Movements
  2. Body Politics: Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment
  3. Cultural Representation and Social Theory

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to the masters' program, a student must meet the general admission requirements of the university. Applicants are expected to have an honours BA from a humanities, social science, or interdisciplinary program where social theory is taught. An average of B+ in the final year of full-time study or equivalent is usually required. Applications must be accompanied by official transcripts and be supported by at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members who are qualified to assess the applicant's potential for graduate training in the CAST program. Applications are reviewed by the CAST Admissions Committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests, a writing sample, and letters of reference.

Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Laurier. Applicants whose language of instruction during the undergraduate degree was other than English, must furnish evidence of superior proficiency in English, prior to admission.

Program Requirements

Students may choose either a Coursework option or a Major Research Paper option.
For the Coursework option, students take:

  • CQ600 - Colloquium
  • CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
  • CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
  • Five electives

For the Major Research Paper option, students take:

  • CQ600 - Colloquium
  • CQ601 - Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
  • CQ602 - Approaches to Cultural Analysis
  • CQ695* - Major Research Project
  • Three electives

Elective Course offerings vary from year to year. They include:
CQ610 - Race, Gender and Imperialism
CQ613 - Nostalgia and Exile: Memory, History, Identity
CQ615 - Theories of Multiculturalism and Intercultural Dialogue
CQ617 - Past Violences and Public Actions: Art, Literature, Politics
CQ618 - Biopolitical Theory
CQ624 - Rethinking the Body via Deleuze and Guattari
CQ625 - Ethics, Affect and Embodiment
CQ630 - Risk, Media and the Politics of Anxiety
CQ631 - Cultural Studies in Theory and Practice
CQ632 - Hybrid Discourses, Discourses of Hybridity
CQ633 - Power, Hegemony and Resistance
CQ634 - Visuality and Cultural Analysis
CQ635 - Social Theory and Contemporary Film
CQ640 - Special Topics in Globalization, Identity, and Social Movements
CQ641 - Special Topics in Body Politics
CQ642 - Special Topics in Culture and Representation

With the approval of the CAST Program Coordinator, elective courses may be taken in another MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Students may also arrange to take one of their electives as a Directed Studies course under the supervision of an individual CAST faculty member.

Grades for all courses will be assigned in accordance with the Course Requirements specified in the WLU Graduate Calendar. All Masters students must maintain a satisfactory academic standing as required by the general regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Major Research Paper

The major research paper is considered to be similar to a thesis in quality of work, but less than a thesis in scope. Students will complete a paper in which they engage in original research on an approved topic. Typically papers will be between 50 and 70 pages in length, excluding bibliography. The MRP will be evaluated by an Advisory Committee consisting of a faculty supervisor and one faculty reader. The supervisor will work closely with the student in supervising the research and writing of the paper, but both may advise and both will grade the final paper. The final grade will be an average of the two grades. Students must defend their MRP at an oral defense with the supervisor and the faculty reader. The grade for the MRP includes the MRP defense.