934 MA Cultural Studies, master

Target Group and Admission Requirements

The study programme is particularly appropriate for students whose Bachelor’s degree study programmes include humanistic or interpretive social-science courses or interdisciplinary cultural studies. In addition to students who continue their studies immediately after receiving their Bachelor’s degrees, the study programme is also suitable for applicants with relevant practical work experience in fields such as the media or public and private cultural organisations. The study programme is appropriate as a continuing education programme for, among others, teachers and public and private employees who work with cultural issues. To be accepted for the Master’s degree study programme, students must hold a Bachelor’s degree or a Norwegian Cand. mag.-degree in

  • a humanities subject;
  • a relevant social sciences subject; or
  • an interdisciplinary cultural study programme,

It is possible to apply for admission to this Master’s study programme from a different educational background. In this case, a comprehensive evaluation of the applicant’s educational background will be taken into consideration. The applicants must also have taken the “ex. phil.” (introductory course) to be accepted in the study programme. Students who have not taken this course must formally seek exemption from this requirement.

Aim of the Programme

The aim of the Master’s study programme is to enable the students to acquire an understanding of culture as expressed through the various academic traditions within the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Along with acquiring insight into the relevant fundamental theory, students will study individual principal academic traditions in detail. They will also learn to use this insight through studying appropriate topics in depth.

An interdisciplinary study programme will ensure students gain insight and an overview which would be difficult to achieve in a one-subject study programme. Among other tasks, the student must relate a limited topic to its overall context, which might be impossible without an interdisciplinary approach. Text and context, specific and general premises define and mediate each other. A primary objective will be to preserve the total contexts, and facilitate specialisation within limited fields of interest.

The study programme combines the following subject perspectives, which run through the whole programme:

  • General cultural-theoretical perspective
  • Historical perspective
  • Aesthetic and literary perspective
  • Interpretative social-sciences / cultural-sociological perspective

The programme will emphasise the importance of mastering different disciplinary traditions. This will provide a freedom of approach and students will develop the ability to adopt different theoretical perspectives in their work on the various academic topics. By employing the traditions of different subjects and theories, students will be able to compare them in discussion, and they will be able to understand the different subject fields from outside the fields themselves, and in relation to other subject fields.

Special emphasis will be given to students working critically and independently, both regarding the Master’s thesis, and the other parts of the Master’s programme. This will be reflected both in structure of the study programme, and in the way students address and resolve questions.

Learning outcome

Upon completing the study programme, students will have achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • Has advanced knowledge and understanding of culture as it is reflected in general cultural theory
  • Has in-depth insight into central disciplines within the humanities and interpretive social sciences which are included in the cultural studies tradition
  • Has understanding of a limited topic and is able to place it within interdisciplinary and broad contexts
  • Understands the relevant academic cultural methods and theories when writing a Master’s thesis
  • Can analyse academic problems within cultural studies based on the academic field’s traditions, distinctive character and place in society


  • Has the ability to think independently and critically
  • Has the ability to analyse theories, methods and interpretations within the field of cultural studies
  • Has the ability to communicate cultural topics using the appropriate terminology and techniques
  • Has the ability to structure and formulate academic reasoning
  • Has the ability to work independently on practical and theoretical problems in relation to programme courses and the writing of the Master’s thesis
  • Has the ability to carry out an independent research project under the supervision of teaching staff and in accordance with current research ethics

General competence:

  • Can analyse relevant academic, professional and research ethical problems
  • Can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced tasks and projects
  • Can communicate cultural topics, analyses and conclusions to both specialists and general audiences
  • Can communicate comprehensive independent work and master the forms of expression within the field
  • Can contribute to new thinking and innovation
  • Has an awareness of and respect for the perspectives of national and cultural origins other than the Norwegian

Curriculum and structure

Cultural analysis
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V) S3(A) S4(V)
2584 Introduction to Cultural Studies 20.00 O 20      
2585 Introduction to Methodology 10.00 O 10      
2596 Master’s Thesis, Cultural Studies 60.00 O   10 30 20
2587 Childhood and Modernity 10.00 V   10   10
2589 Nature and Culture 10.00 V   10   10
2588 Speech, Writing, Image and Sound 10.00 V   10   10
2590 Cultural Management 10.00 V   10   10
2593 Cultural-Historical Analysis 10.00 V   10   10
Total: 30 30 30 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Students can choose between two different subject areas: cultural analysis or cultural administration. The subject area cultural analysis aims to provide students with a broad and general cultural competence, and the ability to analyse current and complex cultural issues. The subject area cultural administration will also qualify students more directly for managerial positions in the cultural sector. Students are asked to indicate which subject area they wish to study when they apply for admission to the study programme, but there are no special admission criteria for the individual subject areas.

Students who wish to study the subject area cultural analysis will choose at least one of the following specialisation courses: Nature and Culture, Childhood and Modernity or the media course Speech, Writing, Image and Sound, and will write a cultural analytical Master’s thesis (60 ECTS).

Students who wish to study the subject area cultural administration must select at least one of the following specialisation courses: Cultural Management or International Cultural Policy and Art Dissemination. They must also write a Master’s thesis with relevance to the cultural sector (45 ECTS). In addition, they must complete the course Cultural Economics and Marketing.
The study programme comprises an introductory course, a course in methodology, two specialisation courses and a Master’s thesis. In addition, students must complete the obligatory course in the Cultural Economics and Marketing in the subject area cultural administration (3rd semester).

The introductory course is common to both subject areas, and includes cultural theory, scientific theory and history of the subject. The course in methodology will prepare students for their work on their Master’s theses. The specialisation courses are interdisciplinary and will be offered as semester courses. The Master’s thesis will also have an interdisciplinary character.

Which specialisation courses are offered will depend on the expertise and resources available; please refer to the course overview. The study programme literature will normally consist of a number of texts / sources, and roughly 1200 pages of subject literature.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The instruction will take place partly in the form of lectures and partly in the form of seminars. Emphasis will be placed on dialogue with the students both in lectures and seminars. The instruction in specialisation courses will mostly be carried out in seminars, where specialists with backgrounds from different subject areas will hold an introductory lecture about their respective subject areas. In some instances, the team-teaching principle will be employed to ensure the interdisciplinary perspective of the instruction.

In special cases, the student may choose a different specialisation course than those that are listed in the study programme, particularly when the course is relevant to the student’s Master’s thesis. The course - with subject matter and reading list - must be approved by the department before the start of the semester. The course must fall within the field of "cultural studies", as it is described in the study programme, and the institute must be able to cover the necessary expertise in the subject. Students should not expect that special teaching will be made available in such courses. Courses specially chosen by the student will always be assessed in the oral examination.

Each student will receive supervision in the work on his or her Master’s Thesis. A separate seminar which focuses on thesis writing will be held each semester.

Arrangements will also be made to accommodate part-time students.

Assessment Methods

Letter grades from A to F, where A is the best and E is the lowest passing grade, will be awarded. The course in methodology will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.
In the introductory course in the first semester, students will be required to submit written work which will count for 40% of the final grade. The course concludes with an individual 4-hour written exam that counts for 60% of the final grade. Students must receive passing marks on both parts of the examination in order to achieve a final passing mark for the course.

Assessment of specialisation courses will be carried out by means of trial lectures of 40 to 45 minutes for one course, and an oral examination for the second course. During the course of the specialisation course each student must submit a written assignment based on the syllabus literature, which counts for 20% of the final grade of the course. Candidates will select the specialisation course in which they intend to hold their trial lecture, but the assignments will be given by the department. Candidates indicate their preference for the form of assessment when they register for the respective courses. In the course Cultural Economics and Marketing an individual written examination will be given. The grade for the Master’s thesis will be awarded on the basis of the submitted thesis, but may be adjusted after a mandatory oral examination. In the courses which have graded course units, students must receive a passing mark in the final examination in order to achieve a passing mark for the course.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Ellen Schrumpf <ellen.schrumpfSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Eline Flesjø - 06/05/2013