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Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (MA)

Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (MA)

waterloo  waterloo | brantford  brantford

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Note: For this intake cycle, only the Waterloo campus will be considering applications.

The interdisciplinary Master of Arts (MA) in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory (CAST) is a 12-month program that provides a stimulating and engaging environment for examining contemporary social and cultural issues.

Our 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, you 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, you refine your critical thinking and analytical skills, broaden your perspective on contemporary issues and gain new insights into the social and cultural forces that shape the modern world.

Our program welcomes students from a wide variety of undergraduate disciplines and universities across Canada and around the globe. We offer a lively and intellectually engaging program designed to enable you to successfully conduct your graduate studies in a supportive student-centred environment.

Program Structure

You will benefit from taking courses and interacting with scholars working on cutting-edge research in contemporary cultural analysis and social theory from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. The diversity of our collective expertise makes CAST particularly relevant for students who wish to extend disciplinary boundaries, question established ways of thinking, explore the richness of contemporary theory and examine the nuances and complexities social life from a variety of complementary perspectives.

The program is structured around three inter-related fields of inquiry:

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

You can choose either a Coursework option or a Major Research Paper option.

For the Coursework option, you will take:

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

For the Major Research Paper option, you will take:

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


More information can be found on the International Applicants page.

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Contact Us:

Penelope Ironstone, Program Director

T: 519.884.0710 x3121

General Inquiries

T: 519.884.0710 x3625


  • Winners of major external awards (OGS, QEII and Tri-Council) may be eligible for top-up funding which includes the Dean’s Graduate Scholarship (total value exceeds $10,000). 
  • Eligible domestic students admitted to study on a full-time basis are entitled to one year of funding totalling, on average, $14,500. This support may be made up of teaching assistantships, internal/external scholarships, and/or faculty-funded studentships or research assistantships.
  • A list of all funding opportunities available to Laurier graduate students, including information about OGS, QEII and Tri-Council, is available on our graduate funding webpage.

Research Focus

  • Globalization, Identity and Social Movements fosters critical understanding of contemporary global economic, social and political processes and the struggle for human, cultural and social rights at the local, national and supranational levels. 
  • Body Politics: Gender, Sexuality and Embodiment focuses on sexuality and embodiment, and the specific ways in which human bodies are inhabited and represented, historically and culturally.
  • Cultural Representation and Social Theory engages a variety of thematic concerns related to the politics of knowledge production, whether in the context of academia and intellectual discourse, as a feature of media technologies, or a practice in everyday life.


  • Bachelor of Arts (honours) degree or equivalent.
  • Minimum B+ in your fourth year of study.
  • Applications are reviewed by the graduate program committee, which considers all prior university grades, a writing sample and letters of reference.


Graduates of our CAST program might consider the following career options:

  • social policy researcher/advisor
  • cultural research assistant/associate
  • arts/culture critic
  • humanitarian aid worker/administrator
  • museum curator
  • advocates for LGBTQ/women’s rights
  • advocates for migrant workers
  • non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • settlement/health/legal agencies
  • writer/journalist/editor
  • community development/relations coordinator
  • project/grant writer/manager/coordinator/director
  • community instructor/educator

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